Italy PM Arrives in Lebanon for Talks with Top Officialsإقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية
Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta arrived Friday evening in Lebanon for a two-day official visit, Lebanon's National News Agency reported.
Letta was welcomed at the airport by caretaker Economy Minister Nicolas Nahhas, who represented caretaker PM Najib Miqati. Italian Ambassador to Lebanon Giuseppe Morabito and an embassy delegation were also present at the Rafik Hariri International Airport.
During his visit, the Italian PM will hold talks with President Michel Suleiman, Speaker Nabih Berri and PM Miqati on “the relations between the two countries and means to boost cooperation in all fields,” said NNA.
Letta is also scheduled to inspect the Italian contingent operating within the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) and will meet with UNIFIL Commander Paolo Serra, who is an Italian general.
In addition, the premier will visit a number of Syrian families who have sought refuge in Lebanon and will hold a press conference after meeting Miqati at the Grand Serail at noon Saturday, the agency added.
On Wednesday, Letta won a parliamentary confidence vote after Silvio Berlusconi's party quit the ruling coalition over a tax fraud conviction.
Letta – who came to power in April following a 2-month stalemate after an inconclusive general election – promised to push through a pro-European reform agenda and bring political stability and economic growth to a country on the point of exiting its longest post-war recession.
In October, a new Italian warship deployed off the Lebanese coast, joining the UNIFIL naval forces. The warship, Andrea Doria, had 237 Italian naval peacekeeping troops on board.
It was first dispatched to the eastern Mediterranean in September with the aim of evacuating UNIFIL's 1,100-member Italian contingent should the conflict in Syria spill over the border.
Spain currently commands the 12,100-strong UNIFIL force, which was founded in 1978 and expanded after a 2006 war between Israel and Hizbullah.
In 2011, six Italian peacekeepers were wounded in a roadside bombing in Sidon.