Italy Votes to Cut Troops in Lebanon, Libya

By Wire Dispatches | July 28, 2011 | 12:48 AM EDT

Rome (AP) – The Italian Senate has voted to keep funding for troops in Afghanistan but to reduce its participation in the U.N. peacekeeping mission in Lebanon and in NATO's Libyan operations.

Some allies in Premier Silvio Berlusconi's conservative coalition oppose the Libyan mission for fear it will drive more illegal migrants to Italian shores.

Italy's defense minister said in May the 1,700-soldier strong Lebanon mission could be reduced after a bomb blast wounded Italian troops there.

If the Senate legislation approved Wednesday, passes in the lower Chamber of Deputies, Italy will trim 700 troops from its Lebanon contingent starting next year, and nearly 900 from the NATO Libya operation.

Italian troops in NATO's mission in Afghanistan remain at some 4,200.