Berlusconi says Italy will keep troops in Lebanon

Italy's premier-elect, Silvio Berlusconi said Friday that Italy will keep its troops in Lebanon to help the consolidation of democracy in the country. "There will not be any changes, we will stay in Lebanon together with the other allies," Berlusconi told reporters during a news conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin. "We care for peace and for the formation and consolidation of democracy in the area." Berlusconi also said that Italian troops want to change the rules of engagement. He did not elaborate. The rules of engagement allow for force to be used in self-defense. With 2,500 troops, Italy is the leading contributor to the 13,000-strong UNIFIL monitors of the truce that ended the Second Lebanon War. Italy took over UNIFIL's command from France in February.