The vanguard of some 7,000 European soldiers has been arriving in the south of Lebanon after EU nations agreed to provide more than half the troops needed for the UN force. The UN Secrtary General Kofi Annan is expected in Beirut on Monday to discuss details of the new beefed-up contingent with the Lebanese government. An official said ministers would also ask Annan to pressure Israel to lift its air and naval blockade of Lebanon.
A UN-backed truce earlier this month ended the fighting between Israel and Hizbollah guerrillas – a conflict that killed nearly 1,200 people, mostly Lebanese civilians. Israeli troops are said to have re-entered one village. So far there has been no response from Hizbollah but fears that the group might act highlights the fragility of the ceasefire.