Israeli FM to visit Paris for peacekeeping talks

22nd August 2006, Comments 0 comments

JERUSALEM, Aug 22, 2006 (AFP) - Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni leaves Tuesday on a two-day visit to Paris and Rome for talks on implementing a UN resolution ending the Jewish state's war with Hezbollah, her ministry said.

JERUSALEM, Aug 22, 2006 (AFP) -  Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni leaves Tuesday on a two-day visit to Paris and Rome for talks on implementing a UN resolution ending the Jewish state's war with Hezbollah, her ministry said.

She will discuss resolution 1701 and press for the immediate release of two Israeli servicemen who were captured by the Shiite guerrillas on July 12 at the start of the 34-day war, a statement said.

On Wednesday in Paris, Livni is expected to meet French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin, Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy and Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy, as well as her Belgian counterpart Karel De Gucht.

Israel has criticised France's decision to limit to 200 the number of troops it is willing to contribute to a UN force in Lebanon.

As the former colonial power in Lebanon, Paris had been expected to take the lead in putting together a robust international force of up to 15,000.

On Thursday, Livni will hold talks with Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi and Italian Foreign Minister Massimo D'Alema before returning to Israel.

Rome has declared itself ready and willing to assume command of the UN force if France fails to contribute significant numbers of troops.

Belgium is one of various European countries to have expressed willingness to deploy troops without pledging firm numbers as hoped by the United Nations.

Resolution 1701 sets the groundwork for an Israeli withdrawal from Lebanon, the deployment of 15,000 international peacekeepers and the need for the two missing soldiers to be freed.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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