Italy has protested to the US and five other allies after they published a letter in a newspaper calling for greater support for the NATO mission in Afghanistan. The foreign minister in the government of Romano Prodi wrote to his counterparts in the US, the UK, Canada, Australia, the Netherlands and Romania saying he was “surprised and disappointed” at the letter.
While the government later spoke of unity in the ruling coalition on foreign policy, Foreign Minister Massimo D´Alema was quoted as saying the letter could be interpreted as “outside interference”.
D´Alema´s protest comes as NATO lobbies member countries to increase troop numbers in Afghanistan, while the Italian government faces infighting about maintaining commitment. Last month three leftist ministers refused to back a government decree on Italy’s continued role in Afghanistan, which includes the presence of some 1900 Italian soldiers.