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Washington, April 4th, 1949 - Treaty Signing Ceremony
From left to right: Alberto Tarchiani (Italian Ambassador to the US) and Carlo Sforza (Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs)

Italy is amongst the 12 founding members of NATO, established in 1949 with the Washington Treaty signed by Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, the United Kingdom and the United States of America. Since the beginning, Italy has been a driving force in the Alliance, particularly during the Cold War, thus showing full adherence to the principles of unity and solidarity.

In the past two decades, NATO’s internal structure and objectives have been transformed: from the bipolar world created by the Cold War to a comprehensive approach to security, not limited to the Allies but to the entire Euro-Atlantic region. Following this logic, Italy promoted the instauration of a dialogue between NATO and Russia, which led to the establishment of the NATO-Russia Council (NRC) during the Summit at Pratica di Mare (Italy). Moreover, Italy has been fully committed to strengthening the partnership relations with PfP (Partnership for Peace) nations, the Mediterranean Dialogue, the Instanbul Cooperation Initiative and Partners across the globe, as well as with other international organizations such as the United Nations, the European Union and the OSCE.

From Afghanistan to Kosovo, from Iraq to Libya, passing through counter-piracy and the fight against international terrorism, Italy has always provided its support - in terms of economic and human resources - to NATO’s main operations and missions, especially in light of its crucial role in ensuring stability to the borders of the Alliance, actively working in the entire Mediterranean basin, in the Balkans and in the Middle East.

Specifically, on the operational level, Italy firmly supported the missions in Bosnia in the 90s and it still plays a key role in KFOR. Furthermore, Italy supports the efforts of NATO and the International Community in Afghanistan, initially within the framework of ISAF, then in the context of Resolute Support Mission (the Regional Command West and Herat province are under Italy’s leadership). Today, Italy confirms its crucial role in the Mediterranean: a Hub for the South at the Joint Force Command Naples will soon be established, with essential functions of monitoring and gathering of strategic information in the Southern Flank. Besides, Italy plays a fundamental role in Air Policing operations in different areas, such as the Balkans, the Baltics States and Iceland.

Italy hosts on its territory several Allied bodies, such as:

In addition, a number of NATO Centres of Excellence have been accredited: the Modelling and Simulation Center in Rome and the Stability Policing Centre (SP CoE) in Vicenza.