Doubts over Belgian role in Lebanon mission

16th August 2006, Comments 0 comments

16 August 2006, BRUSSELS — The UN resolution over Lebanon is weaker than Belgium would have wanted, raising doubts that Belgian troops will participate in the peacekeeping mission.

16 August 2006

BRUSSELS — The UN resolution over Lebanon is weaker than Belgium would have wanted, raising doubts that Belgian troops will participate in the peacekeeping mission.

Resolution 1701 of the UN Security Council does not give the peacekeeping mission for Lebanon a mandate to restore peace because it does not refer back to Chapter VII of the UN charter.

But conscious of the 10 Belgian peacekeepers killed in Rwanda, Belgium is demanding a "clear UN mandate" as pre-condition of its participation in the Lebanon peacekeeping mission.

Foreign Minister Karel De Gucht said on Tuesday he regretted the mandate does not refer to chapter VII, newspaper 'De Standaard' reported on Wednesday.

The resolution states that Israel should withdraw from Lebanon and that Hezbollah be disarmed in a 20km zone along the border.

But Hezbollah is refusing to be disarmed and the Lebanese government has been proven powerless for years, so there are questions about what the peacekeeping force in consultation with the Lebanese government can actually do.
 
Under resolution 1701, the current Unifil peacekeeping force will be increased from 2,000 to 15,000 troops, but commander General Alain Pellegrini said on Tuesday it could be a year before all the troops are in place.

Minister De Gucht, however, thinks that is unacceptable, stressing that the peacekeeping force must be in place within two months. "The coming months are critical," he said.

The ceasefire that took effect on Monday morning has only been broken by isolated incidents in the past two days.

But behind the scenes, it appeared on Tuesday that Belgium's participation in the peacekeeping mission is in doubt.

The fate of the mission rests largely in the hands of Hezbollah, which is claiming victory in the short war with Israel. Hezbollah, together with allies Iran and Syria, was again critical of Israel and the US on Tuesday.

[Copyright Expatica News 2006]

Subject: Belgian news

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