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Italy joins efforts to protect trade routes in the Red Sea

Italian assets will also sail in the area where the United States has launched an operation to guarantee the security of trade routes, as Yemen's Houthis rebel group posed a threat to merchant ships. The latest events point out the need to invest in alternative corridors, even overland, to “diversify and reduce risks,” Senator Dreosto stressed

Italy joins the US in the Red Sea. The Italian Navy will also be busy monitoring the routes between the Gulf of Aden and the Suez Canal where the United States has launched the new “Operation Prosperity Guardian” to re-establish maritime security and navigational stability, as the Houthis – an Iran-backed, Shia Islamist political and military organisation originating from Yemen – continue to target merchant ships passing through those waters as a symbol of their commitment to the Palestinian cause.

  • “The recent escalation in reckless Houthi attacks originating from Yemen threatens the free flow of commerce, endangers innocent mariners, and violates international law”, the Pentagon wrote in a press release.
  • The Red Sea is essential to “freedom of navigation” and a “major commercial corridor that facilitates international trade”, it continued.
  • The Italian Defence supports the operation. Rome has been invited to partake in it, an option it’s evaluating.

Together for security… “This is an international challenge that demands collective action,” the Pentagon wrote. On its part, Rome will send the Virginio Fasan Fremm-class frigate to the Red Sea, as announced by Italian Defence Minister Guido Crosetto following a call with US Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin on Tuesday. 

  • “Italy will do its part, together with the international community, to counter the destabilising terrorist activity of the Houthis, which we have already publicly condemned, and to protect the prosperity of trade and guarantee freedom of navigation and international law,” added the Italian Minister. 

… and economic stability. Italy is increasing its presence in the area to foster stabilisation, avoid ecological disasters, and stave off inflationary pressure, specified Mr Crosetto. “The security of trade routes” such as “Bab el Mandeb and Suez are fundamental for the global economy and even more so for the countries bordering the Mediterranean,” Marco Dreosto, secretary of the Senate Foreign Affairs and Defence Commission, explained in an interview with our sister website.

  • The closure of Suez, or rather its impracticability, could “lead to huge delays in the delivery of goods, increased costs, problems for our energy supply, and an advantage for some northern European ports,” Senator Dreosto pointed out.

Beyond the Houthis. As Italy prepares to launch the Mattei Plan for Africa – Rome’s investment-based approach to Global South countries – Mr Dreosto recalled that the project must “provide security to the populations” as well as “to the operators who want to invest in this plan.” The latest events also point out the need to invest in alternative corridors, even overland, to “diversify and reduce risks,” Senator Dreosto stressed. 

  • For instance, he added that the India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor (IMEC) is becoming increasingly “crucial” despite a recent setback due to the Israel-Hamas conflict. “Therefore, strengthening alliances also with countries like India would mean moving in the right direction. India is a country with high credibility in the area and great potential.”

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