No troops to Lebanon: Germany
However, chancellor Merkel said that Germany might offer naval assistance to help secure the country's coastline.india Updated: Aug 18, 2006 11:15 IST
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said that Germany would not send combat troops as part of the contemplated international peacekeeping force in Lebanon, but may offer naval assistance to help secure the country's coastline.
"We cannot envision a combat mission for ground troops," she said on Thursday, while also ruling out police to control the border between Lebanon and Syria.
Merkel said Germany was looking at "naval security" as part of its effort to support the force, after meeting with parliamentary leaders.
While the navy was ready to offer assistance, she said that it was still not clear whether her country would make other non-combat offers, such as logistical help, air transport, and aerial reconnaissance. "There are other components where we still don't know if they're going to be needed," Merkel said.
No numbers were discussed, she said, "We did not talk today about the size of the deployment."
Parliament must approve any deployment and the German government has warned it won't make a concrete offer until conditions and rules of engagement - that is, when service personnel can shoot - are clarified.
German and Israeli officials have expressed concern for historical reasons about a situation that could lead to any confrontation between Israeli and German troops, such as having soldiers of the Bundeswehr or army patrol near the Lebanese-Israeli border.
The legacy of Germany's Nazi past as perpetrator of the Holocaust makes sending German ground troops a touchy issue.