Confusion over Dutch role in Lebanon mission

22nd August 2006, Comments 0 comments

22 August 2006, AMSTERDAM — The Netherlands will contribute troops to the UN peacekeeping force in Lebanon, according to reports on Tuesday.

22 August 2006

AMSTERDAM — The Netherlands will contribute troops to the UN peacekeeping force in Lebanon, according to reports on Tuesday.

According to RTL news on Tuesday, the Netherlands will send naval vessels to patrol the Lebanese coast.

But Dutch Foreign Affairs Minister Bernard Bot, who is on a tour of the Middle East, was not asked by Israeli politicians to add a Dutch presence to the peacekeeping forces when he met them on Monday.

The same day, Italy announced it was willing to lead the UN forces, and Italian Foreign Affairs Mninister Masssimo D’Alema told La republica newspaper he expected “countries like Belgium and the Netherlands, countries with real armies” to contribute.

Bot will discuss what his country’s contribution might be when he meets the Lebanese premier Foad Sinora on Tuesday afternoon, before returning to the Netherlands later that day.

On Monday Bot held discussions with his Israeli colleague Tzipi Livni, Defense Minister Amir Peretz and Vice-Premier Shimon Peres.

The visit to Israel was part of a longer trip to the region. On Sunday, he spoke with the Palestinian authorities.

The Christian Democrat CDA minister also plans to talk to families of war victims and a wounded Israeli soldier of Dutch extraction.

During his discussions with Israeli colleagues, Bot called for restraint in military actions in the south of Lebanon.

He also said the UN peacekeeping force needed to have soldiers from Muslim countries for it to maintain credibility.

[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2006]

Subject: Dutch news

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