Berlusconi Announces Use-of-force Review for UNIFIL Troops

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Berlusconi Announces Use-of-force Review for UNIFIL Troops

Post by Admin on Sun Apr 20, 2008 5:58 am

Silvio
Berlusconi announced Wednesday he would be reviewing the rules of
engagement for Italian forces serving with U.N. forces in Lebanon,
saying the troops could not react to situations.


The
incoming PM assured reporters at a Rome press conference that Italy
would still keep its 2,500-strong presence in the United Nations
Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), the largest contingent of any
contributing nation.


"We
pledge our support for the strengthening of democracy (in Lebanon) ...
but we want to look at the rules of engagement," said Berlusconi, the
victor of this week's elections in Italy.


"Our
soldiers find themselves in a unique situation ... because they cannot
react. We will re-examine the rules of engagement," he added.


UNIFIL is deployed in southern Lebanon to keep the peace between Hizbullah and Israel after the summer war of 2006.

There are 13,000 troops in full, but the precise circumstances defining their use of force and rules of engagement are secret.

The
outgoing Defense Minister, Arturo Parisi, said "there are no rules of
engagement specific to Italian forces in Lebanon but those valid for
all the UNIFIL mission, which is a U.N. mission," according to ANSA
news agency.


According
to the Italian defense ministry's website, UNIFIL can use force against
attempts to prevent it accomplishing its mission, to protect U.N.
personnel, aid workers and U.N. property.


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