Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi arrives in Lebanon where his nation is leading the UN force overseeing peace in the south of the country. He was greeted at the airport in Beirut by his Lebanese counterpart, Fouad Sinioura. Prodi will have further talks with Sinioura and the parliamentary speaker, Nabbi Berri, today but there are no plans to meet President Emil Lahoud.
Italy is contributing 2,500 troops to the expanded UN mission in Lebanon. They have been stationed in the south since last month. UN forces have taken over security control along with the Lebanese army following Israel’s withdrawal from the region. They are overseeing the UN-brokered truce which ended the 34 day war between Israel and Hizbollah guerrillas.