German Cabinet authorises Lebanon mission
The German Cabinet has authorised sending troops to join the reinforced UN mission in Lebanon, Chancellor Angela Merkel said.india Updated: Sep 13, 2006 16:52 IST
Germany's Cabinet on Wednesday approved the deployment of warships to the eastern Mediterranean as part of the expanded UN peacekeeping force for Lebanon.
Parliament, which must also approve the deployment, is to vote on it next week.
Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives and their Social Democrat coalition partners hold a large majority in the legislature.
"This decision was made in view both of our particular responsibility for Israel's right to exist, and for a solid solution for peace in the region," Merkel told reporters.
Peter Struck, head of the Social Democrat faction in the assembly, said earlier in the day that Germany would send up to 2,400 service personnel.
Germany has offered to send warships to help enforce the UN-brokered cease-fire that in August ended a month of fighting between Israel and Hezbollah militants.
The ships are supposed to prevent arms shipments from reaching Hezbollah and other militant groups -- a key requirement of the UN ceasefire resolution.
Berlin has already begun sending customs officers and border guards to advise Lebanese officials on how to tighten checks on traffic at Beirut airport and Lebanese seaports.
However, it has refused to follow other European nations in sending combat troops to Lebanon, saying its Nazi past precludes putting German soldiers in a situation where they might have to confront Israeli forces.
French, Italian and Greek ships began patrolling the Lebanese coast last week, helping persuade Israel to lift its sea blockade of the country.
A naval task force led by Germany, and including ships from several other European countries, is expected to replace them within two months.