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« RyanAir: Airport security is like a strip-search | Main | V for Victory »

Italy offers troops for Lebanon

Italy offers troops for Lebanon

In a move that throws the spotlight on what other European countries will contribute to the peacekeeping effort in Lebanon, Italy offered on Tuesday to send as many as 3,000 troops as part of its offer to lead an enlarged United Nations force.

France had been expected to lead the force but has so far committed just 200 additional soldiers, far fewer than expected, leaving Italy seemingly in command of the situation. But the delay in putting together an enlarged force has heightened concern that the cease-fire brokered by the United States and France, which wobbled somewhat on Saturday after Israel launched strikes in the Bekaa Valley, might crumble.

With the exception of the response by Italy, the European reaction to a Lebanon force so far has been dismal, UN officials said.

Denmark, Sweden and Norway have not announced any formal troop contributions, but may do so after a European Union meeting on the issue on Wednesday.

"They've offered ships and frigates to police the Mediterranean," said one official, who spoke on condition of anonymity under normal diplomatic rules. "We need boots, not boats."

A UN resolution on Aug. 11 authorized a force of up to 15,000 troops, but already diplomats are talking of reducing that number substantially, particularly in light of France's refusal so far to commit more than 200 additional troops.

International Harald Tribune

Originally from
ReBlogged by ann p on Aug 23, 2006 at 12:27 PM Posted by ann p on Aug 23, 2006 at 12:27 PM

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