Domenica scorsa, intervistato da Repubblica, Massimo D’Alema ha dichiarato che il dibattito italiano – in merito alla vicenda del sequestro Mastrogiacomo e più in generale ai nostri rapporti con gli Stati Uniti – ha raggiunto livelli imbarazzanti di degrado, confusione e strumentalizzazione. “Dopo aver manifestato comprensione per le nostre difficoltà, ed essersi felicitata per la salvezza di una vita umana, Washington si è poi dissociata dai metodi del rilascio. Ci avranno ripensato. Avranno fatto altre valutazioni, magari su pressione dei militari, o di qualche alleato. Non lo so”. Questi i fatti secondo il ministro degli Esteri, che ha parlato a riguardo di “ricostruzioni fantasiose, invenzioni e accuse di menzogne che sono offensive e si fondano su una scarsa serietà professionale”. Si riferiva, naturalmente, ai quotidiani che in questi giorni lo hanno accusato di fare con Washington una sorta di gioco delle tre carte, parlando di una “comprensione” americana che le prese di posizione del Dipartimento di Stato avrebbero seccamente smentito. A dimostrazione di quanto infondate siano tali accuse, e quanto scarsamente professionali siano simili accusatori, D’Alema osserva che per verificare come stanno le cose “sarebbe sufficiente consultare sul sito del Dipartimento di Stato la registrazione dei briefing”. A beneficio del dibattito e senza aggiungere ulteriori commenti, ne presentiamo dunque qui di seguito la trascrizione offerta dallo stesso sito internet del Dipartimento di Stato, affinché ognuno possa giudicare da sé.
QUESTION: One quick one, Sean. The Secretary I understand is going to meet with Italian Foreign Minister D’Alema this evening, I think over dinner. I think it’s closed.
MR. MCCORMACK: Right.
QUESTION: A big story in Italy. Can you get us tonight some kind of a brief readout through the duty spokesperson on what they discussed?
MR. MCCORMACK: I think it’s just going to be the two of them.
QUESTION: Is there any way to get anything?
MR. MCCORMACK: I’ll get her to try. I’ll get her to try.
Yeah. Yes, ma’am.
QUESTION: (Inaudible) in Italy and Mr. D’Alema from Italian Foreign Minister Mr. D’Alema, said in an interview today there’s been turbulence between Washington and Rome and both sides are working on it—to overcome them. At what point is Washington overcoming it and how do you comment on this turbulence, please?
MR. MCCORMACK: I’d have to look at exactly what he said, what he was referring to in the turbulence. There’s always in any relationship, there’s—you always hit some bumps, but we have a great relationship with Italy and this government. We work together well on issues ranging from Iran to Afghanistan and fighting the war on terror. So in any relationship, you’re going to have ups and downs, but we have a fundamentally good and sound relationship with Italy and consider them a close friend and ally.
QUESTION: One more thing, if I can?
MR. MCCORMACK: Sure.
QUESTION: An Italian journalist was released today after two weeks—kidnapped in Afghanistan. And I was wondering if you’d comment—could comment on that and especially on the fact that apparently that was possible after the release of Taliban.
MR. MCCORMACK: Well, certainly nobody is happier than his friends and family that he’s back home. I think everybody can really appreciate that. Certainly our hearts are glad that he’s back with his friends and family. It is also sad that I understand that his Afghan associate was lost in this and that’s terribly sad. It just underlines the fact that the Taliban are a brutal force that has an interest in turning back the clock on Afghanistan and that is why we as well as NATO are on the ground there, working with the Afghan Government to help the Afghan people build a better future for themselves.
QUESTION: Any comment on the exchange of Taliban prisoners in order to release the Italian journalists this week?
MR. MCCORMACK: No, I don’t have any comment.
QUESTION: Do you think that’s a good practice? I mean, it’s—normally, that’s something you—
MR. MCCORMACK: I’m not going to comment on any particular cases or the practices of other countries.
QUESTION: Well, how about—before we go to Zimbabwe, just—do you have—can you tell us what was on the discussion menu at last night’s dinner?
MR. MCCORMACK: They talked—I wish I had brought my notes. They talked a lot about Afghanistan—not this issue. They talked about Iraq, they talked about Iran, they talked some about U.S.-Italian bilateral relations.
QUESTION: A pleasant dinner, then?
MR. MCCORMACK: It was a very good dinner.
QUESTION: And you were there?
MR. MCCORMACK: I was not, but I’ve had it described to me as a very good dinner, a very pleasant dinner.
MR. MCCORMACK: We’ll go to you and then you.
QUESTION: The Foreign Minister said yesterday that he thought there were a number of things the United States could do to try to improve relations with Italy. Did that come up? Did—or do you feel like everything’s just hunky-dory and—
MR. MCCORMACK: Well, like I said yesterday, there are—you know, in any relationship, there are going to be ups and downs and you work through those and that’s what we do with the Italian Government. This is—you know, we’re connected in so many different ways by history, by—you know, interchanges of culture and values. So where there are those differences, you work through them, but there is a fundamentally sound and good foundation for U.S.-Italian relations not only bilaterally, but also using that relationship to try to make the world a safer and better place, for example, in Afghanistan.
QUESTION: And was there an airing of those differences at dinner or not?
MR. MCCORMACK: I didn’t—you know, frankly, I didn’t—I think you’re probably referring specifically to the issue of these warrants and I’m not sure that that came up. I didn’t ask the Secretary about that, whether or not it came up.
QUESTION: Afghanistan (inaudible), there was a suggestion of an international conference on Afghanistan (inaudible) for the Italian foreign minister. Anything on that? He commented Ms. Rice didn’t have a negative attitude towards that.
MR. MCCORMACK: I think our attitude is that it could be a constructive suggestion. We want to understand some of the details as you think through such a conference and certainly, what you will—fundamentally, you want to get the opinion of the Afghan Government and President Karzai about this. So I think it’s really an idea that merits some discussion and to see whether or not, on the basis of that discussion, you move forward or not.
QUESTION: Monday, Secretary of State Rice and Foreign Minister met for dinner and they said they spoke briefly about the releasing of the journalist. And Mr. D’Alema said there was some kind of understanding from Mrs. Rice on the method of the thing. This doesn’t seem to be the case anymore. What happened in two days? Also, you were saying here when asked, you weren’t going to get into it, and now the New York Times quotes you as saying, you know, we don’t like—
MR. MCCORMACK: Well, the—we are of course pleased for the family that, you know, they have been reunited with their loved one. At the time, we were not aware of the circumstances of this deal that had been arranged between the Italian Government and the Afghan Government. Certainly at the time of the Secretary’s meeting she was unaware, not aware of those arrangements. And I was unaware when I made the initial comments as well.
QUESTION: Well, are they going to speak to each other—Mrs. Rice and Mr. D’Alema—a phone call, meeting?
MR. MCCORMACK: I think we’ll probably have something for you a little bit later on that.
QUESTION: Okay, thank you.
QUESTION: What is the fear that you have about the—about this kind of an arrangement, the concerns that you have about this kind of an arrangement going forward?
MR. MCCORMACK: Well, of course we’ve made our views known on this very clear. We don’t negotiate with terrorists. We don’t advise others to do so as well. The concern, I think, is obvious in that you have individuals who are potentially quite dangerous who have been released from prison.
QUESTION: And? I mean, I would like to have you say it. That’s—and? You’re pleased they’ve been released from prison, but there are also other concerns, aren’t there, that this would lead to an increase in—and you know, it might encourage or at least give people reason to think that their demands will be met?
MR. MCCORMACK: Certainly there are other potential unintended consequences from such an action.
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