Armenia’s top army general visited Italy on Monday to discuss details of the planned deployment in Lebanon of an Armenian peacekeeping contingent that will serve under Italian command.
The Armenian Defense Ministry announced earlier this month that it plans to contribute some 60 troops to a United Nations peacekeeping force stationed along Lebanon’s borders with Israel and Syria. A team of Armenian military officials was due to travel to Rome last week to discuss practical modalities of Armenia’s participation in the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) currently led by an Italian general.
General Yuri Khachaturov, chief of the Armenian army’s General Staff, flew to the Italian capital on Sunday for the same purpose. A Defense Ministry statement said he will discuss the Armenian deployment with Admiral Luigi Binelli Mantelli, chief of Italy’s Defense General Staff, and other top military officials in Rome.
The dispatch of Armenian soldiers to Lebanon will have to be approved by the National Assembly. The Armenian parliament has previously allowed the government to send similar peacekeeping contingents to Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan. Over 130 Armenian soldiers are currently deployed in Afghanistan, while 35 others serve in Kosovo.
The UNIFIL currently numbers around 11,000 troops from over 30 countries, including Italy, Germany and Turkey.