Italy Hints at New Role with Lebanon Mission

Italy is taking a leading role in the United Nations peacekeeping mission in Lebanon. The first contingent of Italian troops is expected to arrive in Lebanon on Friday.

Italy's willingness to provide up to 3,000 troops for the mission at a time when other European nations are shrinking from commitments is the work of its new prime minister, Romano Prodi.

Observers say he wants Italy to take a more assertive role in European affairs, and to follow a more independent foreign policy than it did under his predecessor, Silvio Berlusconi.

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