Lebanon accepts German conditions for UN force

12th September 2006, Comments 0 comments

12 September 2006, BERLIN - Lebanon accepted German conditions for a naval task force Tuesday, paving the way for the first military deployment by Germany in the Middle East since the end of World War II. The German cabinet was due to meet Wednesday to formally sanction the operation to monitor the truce between Israel and the militant Shiite Hezbollah movement in Lebanon.Parliament is due to meet in Berlin on September 22 or 23 to approve the deployment, which is expected to involve a force of around 2,00

12 September 2006

BERLIN - Lebanon accepted German conditions for a naval task force Tuesday, paving the way for the first military deployment by Germany in the Middle East since the end of World War II.

The German cabinet was due to meet Wednesday to formally sanction the operation to monitor the truce between Israel and the militant Shiite Hezbollah movement in Lebanon.

Parliament is due to meet in Berlin on September 22 or 23 to approve the deployment, which is expected to involve a force of around 2,000 and an undisclosed number of ships.

Germany had earlier accepted a request from Lebanon to help implement an arms embargo against Hezbollah, following the lifting of an Israeli air and sea blockade of Lebanon at the end of last week.

Following parliamentary approval, it will take the German force about two weeks to reach Lebanese waters, which are currently being patrolled by an interim UN naval force.

Sources said Germany would probably take command of an international naval force that will include ships from Sweden, Norway, Denmark and the Netherlands. Total manpower is expected to top 3,000.

The sources said the task force would be equipped with a robust mandate that would allow it to search a suspect vessel for weapons against the will of its captain.

Germany is already providing a small number of border police and customs officials to be stationed at Beirut International Airport to supervise incoming cargo.

Chancellor Angela Merkel said Tuesday that Germany had achieved what it felt was necessary for its forces to be deployed in the eastern Mediterranean.

Speaking after a meeting with Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero at Meersburg in southern Germany, Merkel said a political solution was the only way to resolve the Mideast conflict, in particular the Palestinian problem.

"There will be no stability in the region without a political solution," Merkel said.

Zapatero said European involvment in the UN peacekeeping force for Lebanon had opened up a new stage in international relations.

DPA

Subject: German news

0 Comments To This Article