143741 2/29/2008 16:24 08ROME257 Embassy Rome SECRET//NOFORN 08STATE19516 VZCZCXRO1592 PP RUEHFL RUEHNP DE RUEHRO #0257 0601624 ZNY SSSSS ZZH P 291624Z FEB 08 FM AMEMBASSY ROME TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9917 INFO RUEHZG/NATO EU COLLECTIVE PRIORITY RUEHBUL/AMEMBASSY KABUL PRIORITY 0400 RUEHMIL/AMCONSUL MILAN PRIORITY 9274 RUEHFL/AMCONSUL FLORENCE PRIORITY 2933 RUEHNP/AMCONSUL NAPLES PRIORITY 3085 RUEHNO/USMISSION USNATO PRIORITY 2923 RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC PRIORITY RHMFISS/HQ USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE PRIORITY RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC PRIORITY RHMFISS/HQ USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL PRIORITY S E C R E T ROME 000257
OSD FOR MADELINE LEPAGE
E.O. 12958: DECL: 2/29/2018 TAGS: NATO, PREL, MARR, MOPS, AF, IT SUBJECT: ISAF: CARETAKER PRODI GOVERNMENT MAY ANNOUNCE MINOR INCREASES AT BUCHAREST
REF: A. STATE 19516
B. ROME 148 C. ROME 246
Classified By: Acting Political Minister-Counselor Gabriel Escobar for Reasons 1.4 (B) and (D)
1. (C) Poloff delivered reftel demarche to Italian MFA Director for Political-Military Affairs Gianni Bardini on February 27. Bardini explained that the current caretaker government of PM Romano Prodi has no mandate to carry out anything more than basic administrative functions in the run-up to the April 13-14 General Elections and can not undertake major new initiatives before the Bucharest Summit. The GOI has, however, taken note of requests from the U.S. and other allies to come up with new contributions (including the letter from SecDef Gates to MOD Parisi), and is exploring possibilities for "small personnel increases" in the area of OMLTs and Carabinieri police training that would not require separate parliamentary authorization (Ref B). The current Parliament was technically dissolved on February 6 and only meets for essential business (it passed the annual decree refinancing Italy's military missions abroad -- including Afghanistan -- on February 26).
2. (S/NF) When asked whether a future Italian government would show more flexibility in ISAF deployments, Bardini replied that neither of the most likely post-election combinations (a Center-Right Berlusconi government or a Center-Left Veltroni government) would face the constraints that Prodi's far-left coalition partners imposed upon his Afghanistan policy. (Note: On February 26 Veltroni told the Ambassador that Italy would do more in ISAF if he is elected (Ref C)) Bardini cautioned that this would not necessarily translate into large troop increases or waived caveats, because the Italian military has reached the operational and budgetary limits of its overseas deployability at about 9,000 troops. Italian long-term military planning continues to focus on the possibility of consolidating all of its troops in RC-West, which would require another ally to shoulder the burden of Italy's rotating command in RC-Capital. SPOGLI