Italian PM Romano Prodi has confirmed that his country would maintain troops in the international coalition in Afghanistan, as disputes with the United States and several other countries including Romania intensify.

Prodi said that after last minute consultations with coalition partners in Rome his government decided to keep the Italian troops in Afghanistan.

But he said he was surprised by a letter six ambassadors to Rome - including the representatives of the US and Romania - published in an Italian newspaper last weekend, urging the Italian people to agree with maintaining the Italian troops in the Asian country.

The letter was first commented by Italian Foreign minister Massimo D’Alema, who said he was surprised with and disapproved of the six ambassadors’ move, which he said may be seen as a form of foreign interference with domestic politics.

While Romanian PM Calin Popescu Tariceanu called for an inquiry into how the Romanian ambassador came to sign such a document without his knowledge, the Washington Administration hailed its ambassador to Rome for a position that falls in full compliance with American policies.