Italian Defence General Staff representative visits RACVIAC

Upon the invitation of the Director of RACVIAC, H.E. Ambassador Constantin-Mihail Grigorie, Rear Admiral (LH) Domenico Guglielmi, Deputy Head of Personnel Division of the Italian Defence General Staff, paid a visit to RACVIAC – Centre for Security Cooperation on February 15, 2024.

Since RACVIAC inception the Italian Republic has played an important role in its history. Italy is the only country along with Türkiye that has acceded to the bilateral agreement between the Government of the Republic of Croatia and the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany on the establishment of the Regional Center for Assistance in the Verification and Implementation of Arms Control (RACVIAC). Italy has also been an active RACVIAC contributor and has not only supported it financially but also by seconding two officers to the Centre (from 2000 to 2008). It still occasionally sends participants to RACVIAC activities, focusing on the Arms Control domain mainly.

In October 2023, during the 11th DECI CHODs’ meeting in Zagreb, the Director of RACVIAC spoke with Admiral Giuseppe Cavo Dragone, Chief of the Defense General Staff of the Italian Republic. Ambassador Grigorie emphasized the important role Italy has had during RACVIAC history and insisted on its increased cooperation with RACVIAC.  Admiral Cavo Dragone agreed with the idea of reactivating Italy’s role in the work of RACVIAC.

Ambassador Constantin Mihail-Grigorie highlighted to Admiral Cavo Dragone the potential benefits of Italy’s renewed participation in RACVIAC in the form of financing activities, secondment of personnel and participation in RACVIAC activities.

At the SEDM Meeting, held in Ankara in November 2023, Ambassador Grigorie spoke with Matteo Perego Di Cremnago, Undersecretary of State for Defense of the Italian Republic, with the aim of greater involvement of Italy in the work of RACVIAC. This especially pertains to the secondment of Italian officers in the Centre, financing of activities or contributions in kind.

Following this demarches it was agreed to organize a visit of the Italian Defense General Staff  delegation headed by RADM (LH) Domenico Guglielmi, Deputy Head of Personnel Division of the Italian Defence General Staff with the intention of discussing Italy’s involvement in the work of RACVIAC. The Italian side expressed interest in supporting two activities, the „Open Skies Treaty Aerial Observation Course” and “Return, Rehabilitation, and Reintegration of FTFs and their Family Members: Taking Stock and Way Forward”.

RADM Guglielmi was warmly welcomed on RACVIAC premises in Rakitje and got introduced to the Centre’s operations and staff. During the visit Rear Admiral Guglielmi and Ambassador Grigorie had a tête-à-tête meeting during which the Director briefed RADM Guglielmi on RACVIAC history and the ongoing RACVIAC efforts to foster dialogue on security matters in SEE. Additionally, new initiatives to promote mutual trust and stability in the area in RACVIAC Programme 2024 were touched upon.

During the discussions Rear Admiral (LH) Guglielmi expressed gratitude for the invitation and the presentation of upcoming RACVIAC activities. He also expressed willingness to put efforts into increasing Italian participation in the work of RACVIAC.

RADM Guglielmi and H.E. Ambassador Grigorie both agreed to continue the dialogue between RACVIAC and Italian Defense General Staff and to explore the possibilities of Italy’s greater participation in the work of RACVIAC, having in mind the common goals of security and cooperation in SEE.