Mayor of Naples refuses docking of US nuclear submarine
A nuclear submarine that took part in a series of missile strikes conducted by US, French and UK warships and warplanes against Syria in contravention of the UN Charter, is not welcome near the waters of one of Italy's largest seaports, according to the popular mayor of Naples.
Published: April 19, 2018, 5:43 am
“The fact that it is the same submarine [involved in the Syria attack] further reinforces the rightness of the order with which we said ships of nuclear propulsion or carrying nuclear weapons are not welcome in the port of Naples and, therefore, they are not allowed to travel through or stay,” the mayor, Luigi de Magistris said.
The mayor has been the second most voted Italian politician in 2009 European elections, and in 2017 he obtained the prestigious Valerioti-Impastato award for his work against crime and corruption.
Magistris complained to Rear Admiral Arturo Faraone, head of the city’s port authority, last week about permission given to allow Virginia-class submarine USS John Warner to pass through the Gulf of Naples on March 20, following naval exercises by NATO. “I would like to reiterate that Resolution 609 that was approved on September 23, 2015, on my behalf, has declared the port of Naples a nuclear-free area,” he said in a letter to Faraone.
According to the mayor, the city was designated as a “denuclearized zone” in a 2015 act that sought to “prohibit docking and parking of any vessel that is nuclear-powered or contains nuclear weapons” while declaring Naples a “city of peace,” Italian newspaper La Repubblica reported.
“Our administration is not against anyone but it is in favor of policies of peace, disarmament and international cooperation,” Magistris told Italian news service Agenzia Nazionale Stampa Associata on Monday. “It is in favor of diplomacy.”
While Faraone told the mayor he “shared his concerns” in a response letter, he said “decisions regarding the arrival and/or transit of foreign military naval units in national territorial waters” did not fall under his jurisdiction, but that of the Italian Ministry of Defense, Rai News reported Monday.
The USS John Warner was not allowed to enter the port due to its radioactive propulsion, and only passed at a distance from the city’s port last month. It departed from the port of Gibraltar ahead of Friday’s attack and fired a number of Tomahawk cruise missiles on Syrian targets last Saturday.
“The moment we say that we are a denuclearized port, our position as a city is firm,” de Magistris told Italian daily Il Mattino on Tuesday.
He appealed to Rome to make a statement. “We hope that the national government and the governments of other countries in the future will refrain from allowing these types of ships to transit or stop in the harbor.
“It is clear that our hope is that it can respect our will,” he said. “Even the maritime authority has stressed that our concerns are shared and understandable.”
Matteo Salvini, head of the country’s center-right coalition and Northern League party, has also rejected the US-led strikes on Syria.
Italy, a founding member of NATO, hosts the Allied Joint Force Command in Naples. But like Germany, it did not take part in Friday’s attack on Syria.
Premier Paolo Gentiloni told the Lower House on Tuesday that the air strikes by the United States, France and Great Britain in Syria were “a justified, targeted and limited response” because “there are no indications of civilian victims or of collateral damage, and the response was coordinated with the actors present to avoid civilian victims”.
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