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EU wants more UN troops in Lebanon soon

By Super
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Berlin, Aug 24: European Union president Finland said today it hopes to see the first reinforcements arrive in Lebanon to boost the United Nations peacekeeping force within a week and the main deployment should take a few more weeks.

''We would like to see the first reinforcements arrive within a week if possible,'' Finnish Foreign Minister Erkki Tuomioja said after meeting his German counterpart.

He hoped to have specific commitments for the force from EU states tomorrow when foreign ministers from the 25-member bloc meet.

''The main thrust of the force should be there within a few weeks,'' said Tuomioja, adding that the full deployment could take months.

EU states agreed on Wednesday to provide a major contingent for an expanded UN peacekeeping force in Lebanon.

Italy has pledged 3,000 troops but so far other offers have been meagre. Many countries are worried they will get involved in a conflict without an adequate mandate to defend themselves.

Reuters

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