Italian foreign minister to visit Beirut

Italian Foreign Minister Massimo D'Alema plans to travel to Lebanon next week for talks with Lebanese officials and to visit Italian peacekeeping troops there, the ministry said Tuesday. The visit was scheduled for Dec. 20, said Foreign Ministry spokesman Pasquale Ferrara. Rome has repeatedly expressed its support for Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Saniora in the face of recent demonstration in Beirut calling for the government to resign. Italy has the largest contingent in the UN force, with 2,500 troops.