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France to send 1,600 more troops to Lebanon

If both France and Iran provide troops to Lebanon, the two countries would provide one-third of the 15,000-strong force.

india Updated: Aug 25, 2006 14:30 IST

France announced its readiness to send 1,600 more troops to Lebanon as the buoyed world body officials said the French General would continue to head the operation to monitor the tenuous ceasefire.

Italy has already promised up to 3,000 troops and if both fulfil their commitment, the two countries would provide one-third of the 15,000-strong force authorised by the Security Council.

The UN officials were moving to quickly deploy at least 3,500 troops to strengthen the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) which will help Lebanese forces to take control of southern part of the country where Hezbollah reigned supreme once and allow Israeli to withdraw behind the Blue Line which marks the UN recognised border between the two countries.

French President Jacques Chirac, who had a major role in drafting the ceasefire resolution, announced the decision to deploy up to 2000 troops as criticism mounted with diplomats saying that Paris itself had drafted the resolution and it was a duty to get it implemented.

But trouble was brewing on the Lebanese-Syrian border as Damascus threatened to close border with Lebanon should the UN troops be deployed there.

Damascus cannot object to Lebanese troops but together with the UN troops, they would be in a strong position to ensure that no arms cross the border to bolster Hezbollah.

First Published: Aug 25, 2006 14:30 IST