US President George W Bush has welcomed France's announcement that it would send 1,600 more soldiers to join the United Nations force in Lebanon, the White House said.
"The president welcomes the decision by the French. As he has said, an international force needs to be deployed urgently," spokeswoman Dana Perino said after the announcement by French President Jacques Chirac.
Chirac is ordering 1,600 more French troops to join the UN force in Lebanon, bringing the total French contingent there to 2,000 soldiers.
His decision followed international criticism for France's initial "emergency" deployment of just 200 extra troops to the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), doubling the French total in the force.
Italy has already committed to sending around 3,000 soldiers and even offered to take over command of UNIFIL from France -- Chirac, though, said France was prepared to remain in command.