Space for Italy in the Mena area. The Fico-Chollet meeting in Washington

The official visit to Washington also made a stop at the State Department Roberto I am, president of the Chamber of Deputies, who on the occasion of the Day of National Unity and the armed forces participated in the flag-raising ceremony at the Italian embassy in the United States and paid tribute to the fallen by placing a wreath on the tomb of the unknown soldier at the Cemetery Arlington Monumental (here on Formiche.net the presentation of the trip with meetings and themes).

The Speaker of the House, and a leading exponent of the left wing of the 5 Star Movement, met on Wednesday Derek Chollet, much listened to adviser to the State Department. In the meeting there was talk,

, of the next steps in Afghanistan, of the next elections in Libya (and therefore of the upcoming Paris conference that Italy co-chairs with France) and of the “exemplary Italian leadership of the G20”. “Italy is our vital and trusted partner and we deeply appreciate your support,” he added.

Forty minutes of meeting, according to what was learned from Formiche.net. Very frank and not at all institutional, despite the fact that on one side of the table there was a diplomat and on the other the third position of the state. There was also talk of the Abrahamic and Iran Agreements. But above all of Ethiopia, on which a very high sensitivity has emerged on the American side at this time, with Italy as a crucial interlocutor.

It is interesting to note what happened in the hours before and after the meeting at the State Department between Fico and Chollet.

Jeffrey Feltman, the United States special envoy for the Horn of Africa, was reaching the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa, threatened by the advance of the rebels, to carry out on the ground Washington’s diplomatic efforts for a ceasefire. Along the same lines, Italy, which, according to a note from the Farnesina, “appeals to all parties involved in the conflict to immediately cease hostilities and hopes to start serious and credible negotiations, to protect the Ethiopian people and to avoid a further worsening of the already existing humanitarian crisis “. The same statement underlines the Italian “profound concern” “for the deterioration of the situation in Ethiopia in recent days, which represents a serious risk for the stability of the country and of the whole region”.

A few hours after the meeting with Fico, however, Chollet attended a meeting of the Center for a New American Security, a think tank of which in the past he was fellow, for the presentation of a report on US strategy in the Middle East. The document and its words say a lot about the administration’s vision of Joe Biden for the region. The title says a lot: When less is more. There are three fundamental interests for the national security of the United States in the Middle East: counter-terrorism, nuclear non-proliferation and maintenance of the main shipping routes. The report then highlights how focusing on these goals even as non-military tools could free up military resources to counter China. In one passage we read of the need to “increase burden sharing with allies and partners to monitor and maintain safe passage around sensitive points such as Bab el-Mandeb and the Strait of Hormuz to reduce dependence on the permanent naval presence of States United ”- in both the aforementioned theaters Italy is present, respectively with a base in Djibouti and with the Emasoh mission.

“The vision” – Chollet speaks of vision, not strategy – “of this administration is that military force is not the only means by which the United States will be able to achieve its goals,” he said. “If our military numbers can change a little here and there, our diplomatic commitment, our political commitment, our economic commitment, if anything, are only intensifying”.

As told on Formiche.net, the United States is asking allies to manage the ongoing crises in Africa and the Middle East because it no longer intends to spend too much on involvement to govern those processes. At the same time, however, they need stability. Here is what he wrote Emanuele Rossi on these pages.

Basically, for Washington it is necessary to avoid contagion: the Sudanese coup is treated in the same way as the Tigray crisis: even there the Americans put direct pressure and ask for the involvement of the allies to stop the war. In that area where continuity and stability are at the basis of American thought, Sudan and Ethiopia are added to Mali and Chad, Nigeria half in the hands of IS, very weak North Africa (in Libya, but also in Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco): an unacceptable condition for a power that intends to govern those dynamics remotely in order to concentrate on something else.

And judging by Chollet’s words after the meeting with Fico – “Italy is our vital and trusted partner” – it seems that our country could represent a crucial interlocutor for the United States in the Mena area (or the enlarged Mediterranean) . Also because he is more trusted than others.

(Foto: Twitter @CounselorDOS)

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