Italy's FM sending two delegations to Lebanon

Italian Foreign Minister Massimo D'Alema will dispatch two delegations to Lebanon on Wednesday, one to review conditions for deployment of an eventual peace force and a second to look at reconstruction issues, officials said. The first delegation is being sent "to get a firsthand account of the latest developments in the country and to evaluate the most urgent measures needed to apply UN resolution 1701," a Foreign Ministry statement said Tuesday. In addition, the Foreign Ministry will send a second delegation focusing on development issues. It will be headed by undersecretary Alain Giorgio Economides and includes experts in such areas as health and civil engineering to determine what help and humanitarian aid are needed for refugees and to review conditions to launch reconstruction projects. Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi on Monday said that Italy was prepared to head a UN peace force in southern Lebanon, taking the place of the French, who backed out. Italy intends to contribute a force of 3,000 soldiers.