Germany may send troops to Middle East

25th July 2006, Comments 0 comments

25 July 2006, BERLIN - German Defence Minister Franz Josef Jung on Monday said his country might send troops to serve as peacekeepers in Lebanon - just one day after Chancellor Angela Merkel appeared to rule out any such move. Jung told the Germany's N24 TV station that Berlin "could not refuse such a peace mission" if a series of conditions were met. He said these included: - The release of two Israeli soldiers being held by Hezbollah militants in Lebanon; - A ceasefire between Israel and Hezbollah; - A

25 July 2006

BERLIN - German Defence Minister Franz Josef Jung on Monday said his country might send troops to serve as peacekeepers in Lebanon - just one day after Chancellor Angela Merkel appeared to rule out any such move.

Jung told the Germany's N24 TV station that Berlin "could not refuse such a peace mission" if a series of conditions were met.

He said these included: 

- The release of two Israeli soldiers being held by Hezbollah militants in Lebanon;

- A ceasefire between Israel and Hezbollah;

- A request by all parties involved in the region for such a peacekeeping mission.

Jung did not reveal what sort of forces Germany would be willing to send.

Chancellor Merkel on Sunday had apparently ruled out sending any troops for a possible United Nations peacekeeping force being discussed for Lebanon.

"I don't envisage this at the moment," said Merkel in a TV interview.

German politicians have been debating calls by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan to expand a UN peacekeeping mission in southern Lebanon as a means of preventing Hezbollah from firing rockets at Israel.

Israeli leaders have said they might be willing to accept such a force in southern Lebanon on their border as long as it was combat-experienced.

More than 370 people have been killed in Lebanon by Israeli military strikes since hostilities began on July 12. At least 500,000 people in Lebanon have fled the fighting.

In Israel, 37 people have been killed of which at least 17 were civilians who were mainly victims of Hezbollah rocket attacks.

DPA

Subject: German news

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