BEIRUT: Italian defense minister held talks with Lebanese leaders Monday that focused on developments in Lebanon, the region, and the U.N. peacekeeping mission.
Italy participates in the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) and currently holds the presidency of the peacekeeping force.
Italian Defense Minister Giampaolo Di Paola kicked off his talks in a meeting with his Lebanese counterpart Defense Minister Fayez Ghosn.
The two discussed internal and regional developments and the work of UNIFIL, where Italy has a 1,189-strong contingent.
During his meeting with Ghosn at the Defense Ministry in Yarze, northeast of Beirut, Di Paola praised the cooperation between the Lebanese Army and UNIFIL. He also stressed that the cooperation should continue and be bolstered.
Di Paola then drove to Ain al-Tineh in Beirut for talks with Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri.
During his visit to Lebanon, Di Paola will meet with President Michel Sleiman, Lebanese Army chief Gen. Jean Kahwagi and MPs Samir Jisr and Abdel-Latif Zein, according to a statement by the Italian Embassy in Beirut.