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Bush gives nod to Italian command of UN force

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Bush gives nod to Italian command of UN force


Very little is still standing in the southern suburbs of Beirut after days of constant bombing by Israeli warplanes. A mammoth task lies ahead to rebuild roads, bridges and homes – work that can only be achieved if the ceasefire holds. Israel’s Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni has met her Italian counterpart Massimo D’Alema in Rome.

He said: “The aim of the international force is not only to support Lebanon but to guarantee the complete sovereignty of the Lebanese government and to enable the application of accords between the different Lebanese forces.” Rome said it has got US blessing for its leadership of the peacekeeping force, adding that it was confident that Europe would firm up its, so far, shaky military commitments.

Livni believes it is vital to secure Lebanon’s borders. “There is a need of enforcement of the arms embargo in order to prevent rearmament of Hizbollah in the future,” she said. Damascus and Israel are at odds over whether the bolstered UN force should deploy on the Syrian frontier to prevent arms smuggling. Syria has threatened to close the border if it does. Beirut has now undertaken to prevent weapons crossing into Lebanon.

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