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Italian PM says 10,000 peacekeepers needed in Lebanon-Israel

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Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi said Monday another 8,000 peacekeepers might be needed in the Lebanon-Israel conflict zone.
STRELNA, July 17 (RIA Novosti) - Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi said Monday another 8,000 peacekeepers might be needed in the Lebanon-Israel conflict zone.

The situation in the Middle East escalated after the Hizbollah Islamist group in Lebanon attacked Israeli facilities and took Israeli servicemen hostage. In response, Israel deployed troops to Lebanon and launched devastating air strikes on the country. About 2,000 international peacekeepers are currently in the conflict zone.

Addressing a news conference on the third concluding day of the G8 summit in St. Petersburg, Prodi said he had discussed the issue with UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan.

Prodi said Italy backed the idea of sending international peacekeepers to the conflict zone and was ready to help implement this idea. He added that he had informed Annan about his country's willingness.

Prodi also said he had instructed relevant agencies in Italy to prepare for a possible deployment in the conflict zone if UN Security Council voted in favor of the peacekeeping operation.

During the G8 summit, leaders of the world's industrialized nations recognized Israel's right to defense but said it had to be applied proportionately and cause fewer victims and less destruction, Prodi said. The situation in the Middle East affects the situation in the Mediterranean, he added.

The G8 leaders of Russia, the United States, the United Kingdom, Italy, France, Germany, Canada and Japan are wrapping up their three-day summit Monday

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