Brussels, February 15 - A new NATO southern defence hub to be approved by alliance ministers Wednesday is "particularly important," Defence Minister Roberta Pinotti said upon her arrival at NATO HQ. "Italy asked for it, we fought at all levels," said Pinotti, underscoring that "I personally fought and I requested this thing at every opportunity." She said Italy's permanent representative at NATO, Ambassador Claudio Bisogniero, and defence chief of staff Claudio Graziano "worked on it too". "We believe it is a first important result. I express satisfaction on this. Obviously there will be work to do to make sure this decision is properly implemented". NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said Tuesday he personally had proposed creating a southern defensive hub at NATO's allied interforce command centre in Naples. The new hub would be tasked with "increasing the capacity to identify threats and improve situational awareness," he said. It would be a centre of coordination for anti-terrorism, intelligence and defence capacity building to stabilise North Africa and the Middle East as well as warding off threats from the south, he said.
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