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UN's Annan says confident will get Lebanon troops

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Brussels, Aug 25: UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan said today he was confident he would raise 15,000 troops from Europe and elsewhere for a UN peacekeeping force in Lebanon.

Asked ahead of talks in Brussels with European Union foreign ministers whether he expected to raise sufficient troops, he told reporters: ''Not today, but I will have a very good start today. But I will get the 15,000 okay.'' ''I am very confident that we will have a successful meeting this afternoon and that Europe will assume its responsibility and show its solidarity with the people of Lebanon,'' Annan said after he met Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt.

Italy has offered up to 3,000 troops and France boosted its pledge to 2,000 on the eve of the Brussels meeting. UN officials are looking for Europe to contribute at least half of a force that could also have a strong Muslim component.

REUTERS

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