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Italy not to send any more troops

Rome, Dec. 3 (Reuters): Italy said today it had no plans to send any more troops to Iraq and its forces there would in fact decrease when 500 Italian navy personnel return home, as planned, later this month.

But defence minister Antonio Martino said the government had no intention of pulling out of the region, despite the poor security situation and a deadly attack on an Italian base in November. “There has been no request for any increase of our military presence in Iraq and I don’t imagine one will be made soon,” Martino told a parliamentary defence commission.

Centre-Right Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has been one of President George W. Bush’s staunchest allies over the war despite million-strong anti-war marches by Italians. Some 2,700 Italian non-combat troops are in Iraq.

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