A small force of Italian troops, military police and environment and cultural experts will leave for Iraq on Sunday on a week-long mission, Italian Environment Minister Altero Matteoli said Saturday.
Matteoli, in Paris for an environment summit, said the task force would leave Rome at 5:00 Sunday.
The task force includes two Environment Ministry officials, twoexperts from the Cultural Heritage Ministry, a Foreign Ministry representative and diplomat Antonio Armellin, who is charge of overseeing Italian aid operations in Iraq.
"Our aim is to carry out an initial assessment of the situationfocusing on water, waste and the state of the land to see how we can help in the reconstruction work," Matteoli said.
"There could be interesting opportunities for Italian business.We can offer our technology and experience in rebuilding the country's infrastructure," he said.
Matteoli said his ministry was ready to provide funding of 1.3 million euros for environment projects in post-war Iraq, includingimproving water facilities and supplies and cleaning up the land.
Matteoli also said the task force would meet with US administrators to discuss Iraqi environmental and reconstruction issues.
On April 15, parliament gave the green light to a humanitarian mission for post-war Iraq.
A 2,500 or 3,000-strong troops and military police force will be sent to the country to help keep order and assist with emergency food and medical aid. I
Italian troops are expected to be deployed for the most part insouthern Iraq, where Italian minesweepers will also be operating, while members of the Carabiniere corps will be sent to Baghdad forpolicing duties.