The Lebanese media has expressed satisfaction at a pledge by EU countries to send some 7,000 peacekeeping troops to Lebanon. The agreement came at a foreign ministers’ summit in Brussels yesterday. European nations agreed to provide around half the number of troops to form the international peacekeeping force which could total 15,000 soldiers.
Lebanese foreign minister Fawzi Salloukh said his country was pleased with the announcement: “The decision to send about 7,000 to 8,000 European soldiers to join UNIFIL is of great assistance and help to back the Lebanese army which has already started to deploy in the south of Lebanon,” he said.
The deal was reached once EU foreign ministers received assurances their troops would operate under robust enough rules to be able to defend themselves. The UN wants a strong European contingent alongside a sizeable Muslim component. UN chief Kofi Annan said Indonesia, Malaysia and Bangladesh had all offered to assist.