The second of two French army divisions has arrived in Beirut – carrying material to rebuild Lebanon’s destroyed bridges. A first ship arrived on Tuesday, as part of an agreement between France and Lebanon to bring in 800 tons of equipment. The European Union has agreed to contribute 42 million euros to the reconstruction of the country, battered by five weeks of shelling.
France has also pledged to increase the number of its troops from 400 to 2,000. It will lead the UN peace mission until February when Italy takes charge. With up to 3,000 soldiers promised, Italy provides the largest contingent for the UN’s peacekeeping force. Spain, Bangladesh and Indonesia are among the other major contributors. Around 2,500 of the 15,000 UN troops to be sent to Lebanon are already in place.