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Old 08-25-2006, 03:45 AM
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Default The French contribution

France calls EU summit on troops for UN
By Tim Butcher in Jerusalem and Colin Randall in Paris


(Filed: 21/08/2006)

Wrangling over the make-up of the new peacekeeping force for south Lebanon intensified yesterday as France, stung by criticism of its modest contribution of just 200 troops, demanded a European Union summit to settle the matter.
United Nations officials scrambling to assemble the 15,000-strong force found their efforts further constricted when Israel rejected offers of peacekeepers from nations with which it does not have full diplomatic relations.
Israeli officials said the prime minister, Ehud Olmert, had made his decision known at yesterday's meeting of the inner security cabinet.
That would rule out contributions from Indonesia, Bangladesh and Malaysia, all of which had offered troops.
The offer of 1,000 soldiers and 150 engineers from Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim nation, was among the most generous received by the UN.
However, the country's defence minister, Juwono Sudarsono, said yesterday that it would be too sensitive for Indonesian troops to participate in the disarming of Hizbollah, Lebanon's Shia Muslim militia.
The extraordinary EU meeting, called by France with the backing of Finland, the current European president, will be used by Paris to pressure other member nations into committing troops. The meeting, likely to take place on Wednesday, was announced after President Jacques Chirac spent part of the weekend in telephone consultations with the UN secretary general Kofi Annan and the leaders of other countries.
While Britain is under no pressure to send troops, because of its already large military commitments in Iraq and Afghanistan, Paris is hoping that nations such as Ireland, Spain and Belgium will promise to send troops. Italy has pledged 3,000 soldiers.
But with discussions still continuing at the UN about the rules of engagement of the force and its mandate, few nations are likely to want to commit large numbers of troops to a mission that could last many years. The last time the UN created a mission for Lebanon it hoped its stay would be brief. It was called the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (Unifil) and 28 years later the force still exists and will form the basis of the new border contingent.
Foreign powers are unlikely to want to commit combat troops to a zone where both combatants have shown little hesitation when it comes to killing peacekeepers. Bombs planted by Shia militants have killed UN forces in southern Lebanon. During the recent 34-day conflict, Israel ignored repeated appeals for restraint by the UN when it killed four unarmed observers in an air strike.
Philippe Douste-Blazy, the French foreign minister, appealed for "European solidarity". He told Europe 1 radio that "the Spanish and I hope other Europeans will also urgently come up with contingents that will bring credibility to the Israeli withdrawal".
France already holds the command of Unifil and has about 200 troops in the current force of 2,000.
During diplomatic efforts to end the recent fighting between Israel and Hizbollah, UN officials prepared to beef up the force to 15,000 and it was envisaged that France, the former colonial power in Lebanon, would provide the biggest share.
However, Paris committed only 200 additional troops. France was wary of the Bosnia example of the 1990s where it committed troops to a UN peacekeeping mission and watched helplessly as dozens of its soldiers were killed.editorial comment
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Old 08-25-2006, 03:50 AM
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The French dream of an EU army seems to be behind their current stance on troop deployment to the lebanon . I don't think now is the time to play politics . But it is a question that Europe needs to answer .... EU army or NATO army ?
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Old 08-25-2006, 03:52 AM
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France will add 1,600 troops to Lebanon peace force
By Henry Samuel in Paris


(Filed: 25/08/2006)



Jacques Chirac agreed last night to increase France's contribution to an international force in southern Lebanon to 2,000 troops.
The announcement gave much-needed momentum to international efforts to put UN troops on the ground before the fragile truce between Israel and Hizbollah unravels.
France was willing to lead the force after winning assurances from the UN that the troops would be able to defend themselves fully if attacked and could use force to protect civilians.
The announcement, in a televised address by the French president, followed a blizzard of international criticism over the initial commitment of 200 troops to join the 200 already serving in the UN Interim Force (Unifil).
France, along with the United States, was in the diplomatic vanguard in securing UN resolution 1701, which led to a cessation of hostilities between Israel and Hizbollah after 33 days.
There was widespread disappointment at the UN last week when the French defence minister, Michele Alliot-Marie, said her country, the former colonial power in Lebanon, would initially send just 200 extra troops. It had been expected to contribute up to 4,000.
The French army has painful memories of a Shia militant attack in Beirut in 1983 that killed 58 French soldiers and of the UN peacekeeping fiasco during the Bosnia war, where it lost 80 men under orders not to use lethal force. Mr Chirac has consistently said that he would send more soldiers only if the UN strengthened the force's rules of engagement, as well as clearly defining its mission and providing guarantees that Hizbollah would be disarmed.
Last night he said that he was satisfied that his concerns had been met.
Unifil has been stationed in Lebanon for the past 28 years as an observer mission. Resolution 1701 allows it to increase its numbers to 15,000 and to use its weapons in self-defence, to protect civilians and to prevent hostile activities.
However, French officials said yesterday that Unifil's total operating strength was more likely to be only 8,000 to 9,000 soldiers from various countries.
European Union foreign ministers are due to meet UN chief Kofi Annan in Brussels today to determine which other European countries will contribute troops.
Until yesterday, only Italy had given a firm commitment, promising about 3,000 soldiers, and offering to lead the interim force.
France's bolder commitment is expected to encourage others.
The Lebanese prime minister, Fouad Siniora, said in an interview with French radio: "The Lebanese want France to have a strong presence which could push other contributing countries to do the same and which could encourage the Lebanese too."
Trad Hamadé, the Lebanese employment minister and a member of Hizbollah, told Libération: "I say to the French, soyez les bienvenus (be welcome)."


I would like to personally thank Jim75 for talking to Mr Chirac on this issue and for drilling some sense into him
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Old 08-25-2006, 06:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Texas View Post

But it is a question that Europe needs to answer .... EU army or NATO army ?
Both. I see no reason for a Euro Rapid Deployment Force ( a pre-cursor of a fully fledged army) not to be incorporated within the NATO Organisation with a clause that allows the ERD to act seperately, if it feels it necesarry at any time, as a 'sovereign' entity.
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Old 08-25-2006, 07:39 AM
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wasnt it the french idea to have a peacekeeping force in sothern lebanon that was part of th UN reserlution they drew up,and now they are only going to give 2,000 troops to force that needs 15-20,000 to really be effective,its the french all over that
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Old 08-25-2006, 11:54 AM
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the goal for the EU is to send atleast 6500 soldiers in this UN mission.
the estimate is 6000-9000 troops.
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Old 08-25-2006, 11:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Texas View Post
I would like to personally thank Jim75 for talking to Mr Chirac on this issue and for drilling some sense into him
Lol Texas but I think the taxes will not lower this year ^^
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Old 08-25-2006, 12:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by torspo[fin] View Post
the goal for the EU is to send atleast 6500 soldiers in this UN mission.
the estimate is 6000-9000 troops.
it will have2 be you fins then tor looking at the good job your
doing in afhganistan a pretty good peacekeeping force you boy make
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Old 08-25-2006, 08:29 PM
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burn .
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  #10  
Old 08-26-2006, 03:49 AM
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Originally Posted by jrj100 View Post
it will have2 be you fins then tor looking at the good job your
doing in afhganistan a pretty good peacekeeping force you boy make
our peace keeping force is law bound to 2000 troops total.. that means every country we have operations in. we cant spearhead this venture.. our whole population is 1/3.5 of New york.
we cant manage that much peace keepers.
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