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20 August 2006 

The United Nations on

Thursday outlined a "robust" mandate for thousands of international peacekeepers to be deployed in Lebanon and urgently called on member states to pledge troops.

UN Deputy Secretary General Mark Malloch Brown said the force would be "robust" but not offensive and set out draft rules of engagement.

The peacekeeping force is the keystone in UN Resolution 1701, which outlines the ceasefire and a deployment of Lebanese and international troops to the south of the country to fill the vacuum left by withdrawing Israeli units.

Under the resolution, the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) is to swell from its current 1 990-strong force.

The United Nations hopes an initial deployment of more than 3 000 troops for the strengthened UN force can be in place within two weeks.Here is a provisional breakdown of countries prepared to contribute troops:

FRANCE

France, tapped to retain command of UNIFIL, has pledged to send 200 troops to Lebanon -- around one-tenth of the number the United Nations had expected.About 150 French troops departed France for Lebanon, a former French colony, on Sunday to join the other 50 already on the ground.Another 200 French soldiers are already incorporated into UNIFIL under its previous mandate, bringing the total French representation in the force to 400.

ITALY

Italy has approved a motion to contribute troops to UNIFIL, but with no formal indication of numbers, and has delayed their departure until the new force's role is defined.Italian defence officials cited by the media have spoken of contributing between 2 000 and 3 000 soldiers.

BELGIUM

Belgian Defence Minister Andre Flahaut told AFP that Brussels intended to send troops but would not say how many because the mandate has yet to be clearly defined.

FINLAND

Finland has said it could send around 200 soldiers but that they could not be deployed for a month or two.

GERMANY

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has announced that Germany will send a small navy unit to help secure Lebanon's coastal waters. She has ruled out deploying combat troops in Lebanon to avoid the risk of a direct confrontation with Israel, where memories of the Holocaust are still fresh.

INDONESIA, MOROCCO and TURKEY

These three Muslim countries have all agreed to take part, according to the Lebanese prime minister's office, but Turkey indicated that it would wait for an expected new UN resolution "to bring more clarity". A press report said Turkey could send 600 troops.

MALAYSIA

Malaysia has offered between 850 and 1,000 troops, but is among the countries that Israel has said would not be acceptable to serve in UNIFIL.

BANGLADESH

Bangladesh has said it is willing to send peacekeeping troops to Lebanon but has not yet made any commitment of forces.

PAKISTAN

Pakistan is considering a possible participation in the UN force but has said it would send troops only if they would be "welcomed" by all parties to the conflict.

LITHUANIA

Lithuanian Prime Minister Gediminas Kirkilas said his country should contribute to the force, but that a formal decision had not yet been made.

BULGARIA

Prime Minister Sergey Stanishev has said Sofia is ready to send troops but demanded that the United Nations define UNIFIL's new rules of engagement.

PORTUGAL

Portugal has said it is willing to contribute troops, without specifying how many.

RUSSIA

Russia is considering the possibility of participating, but the foreign ministry said a decision has not been made.

SPAINA

government official told AFP that Spain planned to send 700 soldiers.

THAILAND

Thailand has said it would consider "positively" a UN request for troops, without giving a number.These countries are undecided or have apparently ruled out supplying soldiers to the new force:

AUSTRALIA

Australian Prime Minister John Howard has said he was undecided whether to supply troops. "If we were to make a decision to make a commitment it would be a very small, niche commitment," he said."We have other responsibilities."

BRITAIN

British Prime Minister Tony Blair has said his country's military - engaged in Iraq and Afghanistan - is too stretched to be involved in the reinforced UNIFIL deployment.

INDIA

India said there were no plans to add to its 672 soldiers already serving in the current UNIFIL. A foreign ministry spokesman said: "I see nothing leading to that."

NORWAYA

Norwegian foreign ministry spokeswoman said "it is too early to go into any detail about a Norwegian contribution to a peacekeeping force for Lebanon."

UNITED STATES

The United States, Israel's closest ally, is thought unlikely to contribute to a force in Lebanon.Although moves are being made to get the new UNIFIL deployed as quickly as possible, there is no firm timetable.

Israel has said its soldiers will remain in strategic positions in southern Lebanon until UNIFIL troops take over.UNIFIL, under its original mandate, has been operating in southern Lebanon for 28 years.

That rolling mandate was extended for one month by a UN Security Council vote on July 31. It currently counts troops from China, France, Ghana, India, Ireland, Italy, Poland and Ukraine, under French command.

Under UN resolution 1701, the expanded force is to support the Lebanese army as it takes up positions in southern Lebanon, formerly a Hezbollah-controlled zone, and help in humanitarian work.

The resolution says UNIFIL will "take all necessary action in areas of deployment of its forces, and as it deems within its capabilities, to ensure that its area of operations is not utilized for hostile activities of any kind." - Sapa-AFP


Bottom line is:

UNIFIL, under its original mandate, has been operating in southern Lebanon for 28 years.

28 PLOPN' YEARS AND WHAT HAVE THEY DONE? ANYONE, PLEASE? Get me a board and hit me in the head.

Thanks


“I am on the dirt frontage road to the internet thingy”

Take it slow and keep your head up. That way you can see the bullshit coming.
And don’t waste my time calling me a racist, cause I aren’t. So there!

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