(from the correspondent Silvia Mancinelli)
The Italian flag has been lowered in the hangar of Herat airport. Thus ends the ceremony and the twenty-year presence of the Italian contingent in Afghanistan (VIDEO).
The ceremony began with a minute of silence for the fallen in Afghanistan. The Minister of Defense Lorenzo Guerini, who apologized to the journalists for the inconvenience of the blocking of the military flight in Dammam, the Chief of the Defense Staff General Enzo Vecciarelli, the commander of the Coi (Operational Command of the Joint Forces) arrived. the General of the Army Corps Luciano Portolano, the commander of the Folgore Brigade, the General Beniamino Vergori and the Lieutenant Colonel Gianfranco Paglia, gold medal for military valor.
What the men of the Italian Army, the Navy, the Air Force and the Carabinieri, who intervened in Afghanistan after the 9/11 attack, leave behind is a changed country, with new institutions and rights found again. Their return does not, however, mean the end of Italy’s support for the Afghan people. The country that voted democratically for the first time with the ISAF will be guaranteed support even when the military base returns to the Afghans.
BLOCK FLIGHT TO DAMMAM – The Air Force’s Boeing 767 with 40 journalists on board headed from Pratica di Mare to Herat for the flag drop ceremony was blocked for three hours at Dammam airport in Saudi Arabia. Despite the flight plan already agreed, the commander was prevented from flying over the skies of the United Arab Emirates. The Boeing, after the forced stop, resumed the journey to Herat.
On the incident, on the instruction of Minister Luigi Di Maio, the Secretary General of the Foreign Ministry, Ambassador Ettore Sequi, today summoned the United Arab Emirates Ambassador Omar Al Shamsi to the Foreign Ministry. The secretary general, a note reads, expressed to the ambassador “the surprise and strong disappointment at an unexpected gesture that is hard to understand”.
On the sidelines of the flag-lowering ceremony in Herat, the Minister of Defense, Lorenzo Guerini, explained: “The issue did not depend on us, some diplomatic initiatives were taken, the Emirati ambassador to the ministry of Foreign countries to ask for explanations and to express all the disappointment and amazement at having denied the overflight with respect to decisions that had already been communicated, taken and guaranteed “.