Italy Seeking to Reduce Troops in Lebanon

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Italy wants to reduce its military deployment in Lebanon and Afghanistan and to end its presence in Kosovo following major budget cuts, Defense Minister Ignazio La Russa said.

"There are some budget requirements that are pushing us to reduce, as expected, our presence in international military missions," La Russa said Wednesday, adding that Italy would act in accordance with its foreign partners.

In Lebanon, La Russa said, Italy would reduce its "excessive" contingent from around 1,800 personnel to 1,000. He also said a reduction of troop numbers in Afghanistan was planned starting from 2012.

"In Kosovo ... we're at 600 men, but we are intending to reduce to zero," La Russa told reporters at Rome's foreign press club.

"We have to accelerate the conclusion of this mission," he added.

Italy has around 7,300 troops deployed abroad, the defense ministry said.(Naharnet)

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