Within days of UN Secretary General Kofi Annan appointing a personal representative to assist peace negotiations between the government and Maoists, Nepal has returned the favour by pledging an infantry battalion to participate in UN peacekeeping operations in Lebanon.
Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala held a meeting of his cabinet on Monday where it was decided to send 850 soldiers of the Nepal Army to Lebanon following a request by the United Nations.
Dilendra Prasad Badu, minister of state for information and communication, who is also the government spokesperson, told the media about the decision, a local daily reported on Wednesday.
Looking to deploy 15,000 soldiers in southern Lebanon, where over 13,00 people have died since Israel began aerial and ground attacks ain retaliation to Hezbollah militants capturing two Israeli soldiers, UN had asked Nepal last week to provide troops.
The government decision comes after Annan named Ian Martin, former Nepal representative of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, his personal representative to lead a UN team that would supervise the arms and armies of the Nepal government as well as Maoists.
Martin's mandate also includes supervising adherence of both sides to the code of conduct signed after the declaration of a ceasefire and observing a crucial election, expected to be held next year, when voters would choose between monarchy and a republic.