BAHRAIN won high praise yesterday for its role in combating terrorism and keeping the country and region safe.
Italian Defence Attaché Colonel Rosario Privitelli said that he had seen the effective action being undertaken by local authorities to ensure a safe environment for those who live here.
"The stability of this region affects the entire world," he told journalists on board the Italian frigate Grecale, which is visiting Bahrain on a six-day port call.
"There is no denying that this is a very important part of the world and that is why you have all these countries trying to ensure a safer environment for all.
"The threat of terrorism in this region is the same that we have around the world.
"Bahrain is doing a great effort in this area."
Col Privitelli arrived in the region in August last year and is based in Kuwait.
The Italian Navy frigate is in the region as part of the coalition forces; and in Iraq the Italian contingent is currently based in Nassiriyah in the southern part of the country, in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Col Privitelli also paid tribute to the Italian intelligence officer killed in Iraq by US forces on Friday.
Nicola Calipari was killed by a single bullet to the head as he threw himself over Italian journalist Giuliana Sgrena, when US forces opened fire on their vehicle just outside Baghdad Airport.
Sgrena, who had been freed minutes earlier by her Iraqi captors after a month in captivity, was wounded, but survived the incident.
She has denied US assertions that soldiers fired on the Italians after they failed to heed signals to slow down and has suggested that she was targeted by the American military because they oppose the payment of ransom to free hostages.
"The Italian government is working with the US authorities in order to clarify this incident," said Col Privitelli.
"We are very happy that Giuliana Sgrena is free, but in the meantime we are sorry for the loss of Nicola Calipari because of this action.
"There is an investigation in progress."
The Italian government has made clear it would continue to support US President George W Bush despite the killing and will not withdraw its troops from Iraq. But at the same time it is demanding those responsible for the shooting be punished.
Calipari was buried in Italy yesterday.