TYRE, Lebanon: Italy’s defense minister praised Monday the “excellent ties” Italian peacekeepers were able to forge with the population of south Lebanon as part of their mission with the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon. Giampaolo Di Paola visited his country’s contingent in the town of Shamaa, near the southern city of Tyre.
The minister thanked his country’s contingent for the “efforts and sacrifices” they were making to preserve peace and stability in south Lebanon.
Italy currently holds the presidency of the peacekeeping force and has a 1,189-strong contingent.
Di Paola held talks with Lebanese leaders Monday that focused on developments in the country and the region, as well as the peacekeeping mission.
The minister kicked off his talks with a meeting with his Lebanese counterpart Defense Minister Fayez Ghosn in Yarze, northeast of Beirut.
During the talks, 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 Speaker Nabih Berri. The Italian official left Lebanon Monday night.
The Italian official also held talks with President Michel Sleiman at Baabda Palace.