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Italy plans to reduce the size of its Beirut contingent

Italy soon will begin a phased withdrawal of part of its 2,000-man peacekeeping force in Beirut, Defense Minister Giovanni Spadolini said Tuesday. ''The time has come to begin, in the conditions of greatest possible security , an operation of balanced scaling down of the contingent,'' Spadolini said. But a reduced Italian presence would remain in Beirut while the Lebanese reconciliation talks in Geneva remained alive, he said in a speech to the Senate , the upper house of parliament.

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