Germany to offer ship for Lebanon force: Merkel

18th August 2006, Comments 0 comments

18 August 2006, BERLIN - Germany will offer a naval supply ship but no ground troops to a UN peacekeeping force in Lebanon, Chancellor Angela Merkel said Thursday after briefing party leaders in Berlin. Hours before talks in New York on the makeup of the beefed-up UN force, she said that Germany was "fundamentally willing" to contribute, mainly to secure the borders from the maritime side. Germany would offer a naval hospital vessel. Friedbert Pflueger, a state secretary at the Defence Ministry and member

18 August 2006

BERLIN - Germany will offer a naval supply ship but no ground troops to a UN peacekeeping force in Lebanon, Chancellor Angela Merkel said Thursday after briefing party leaders in Berlin.

Hours before talks in New York on the makeup of the beefed-up UN force, she said that Germany was "fundamentally willing" to contribute, mainly to secure the borders from the maritime side. Germany would offer a naval hospital vessel.

Friedbert Pflueger, a state secretary at the Defence Ministry and member of Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU), later said on ZDF German television that three military transport planes would also be posted to Cyprus for humanitarian purposes.

He said it was possible Germany would be asked to provide sea forces to stop weapons smuggling by boat.

Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said that the success of peace efforts depended on preserving the fragile truce in Lebanon and restoring Lebanon's authority as a state.

Dissenters in the parties forming Merkel's government had earlier protested suggestions that Germany send ground forces, saying that even 60 years after the Holocaust, Germans could not take on a task where friction with Israeli forces was possible.

Pflueger said that if Germany's parliament approved, the Navy could send the 174-metre Berlin, a supply ship loaded with containerized hospital wards that was used in Indonesia's Aceh province to treat victims of the December 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.

DPA

Subject: German news

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