Today we mark an important anniversary in the history of our Alliance.
The founding of this Command.
Which began as Allied Forces Southern Europe.
And is now Joint Force Command Naples.
Italy is amongst the biggest contributors to our Alliance’s missions and operations.
In Iraq, Italian forces are part of our training mission.
Which you, as Admiral Burke said, will soon command.
In Kosovo, you lead NATO’s…efforts…in the Western Balkans.
Your troops [are] part of the NATO deployments in Latvia and in Romania.
And your jets [fly] over Iceland and over Montenegro as we speak.
For twenty years, Italian troops served…in Afghanistan.
Italy is home to several NATO bodies.
Such as the NATO Defence College in Rome. And we will celebrate the 70th anniversary of that great institution of ours in November.
The Headquarters of the Rapid Deployable Corps Italy in Milan, and the maritime research centre in La Spezia.
And of course our flagship – the Joint Force Command here in Naples, which we celebrate today.
Over the decades, this Command has always been key to prepare for, plan and conduct military operations.
Including in the Balkans.
But also, in more recent years, in Iraq.
It is also here at JFC Naples that we established the Hub for the South in 2017 and I look forward to visiting the Hub this afternoon.
To bring Allies and our partners in the Middle East and North Africa region closer together….