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Italian Defense Min. reiterates commitment to UNIFIL mission.

| BEIRUT, Jan 27 (KUNA) -- Italy's Defense Minister Giampaolo Di Paola on Friday reiterated his country's commitment to the mission of international peacekeeping forces in south Lebanon, UNIFIL, to support stability in Lebanon.

This visit shows Italy's desire to contribute to the stability of this region through the role of UNIFIL in Lebanon, Di Paola told reporters here after his meeting with Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati.

The Italian minister stressed his country's commitment to the international forces in southern Lebanon mission.

This commitment will be translated Saturday when an Italian general takes over the leadership of UNIFIL forces, he said.

Di Paola will participate in the ceremony of transferring UNIFIL leadership Italian Major General Paolo Serra.

Serra will succeed Major General Alberto Asarta Cuevas of Spain, who is to relinquish his two-year posting on January 28, the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) said in a statement.

Serra, 55, is currently chief of logistics and land transformation of the Italian army and has served as chief of staff of NATO's Rapid Deployable Corps-Italy.

Italy has the largest number of troops in UNIFIL, which was deployed in 1978 to maintain stability at the border between Lebanon and Israel.

UNIFIL was expanded in 2006 following a devastating war between Hezbollah and the Jewish state and now at some 12,000. (end) ayb.ibi KUNA 272130 Jan 12NNNN

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Publication:Kuwait News Agency (KUNA)
Geographic Code:7LEBA
Date:Jan 27, 2012
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