United Nations secretary general Kofi Annan said he expects European countries to contribute troops to expand the current 2,000- member UN force in southern Lebanon, and has called on "countries from other regions" to help."It is urgent that the international community acts to make a difference on the ground," Annan said as Israel pounded Lebanon for a seventh day in response to the kidnapping of two soldiers and rocket attacks on northern Israel.

"The force will be larger, the way I see it, much larger than the 2,000-man force we have there. I would expect a force that will have a modified and different concept of operation and with different capabilities."

Annan also said that it will have to be the Lebanese government, not the proposed force, who would eventually have to disarm Hezbollah.

Annan met with European Commission President Jose Barroso Tuesday and told reporters afterwards that "the proposed UN force would have to be more effective than the current UN interim force in Lebanon which has been unable to keep peace on the Israeli-Lebanese border."

Barroso and EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana have also voiced support for the expansion of international troops in the region.

Israel has called the proposal premature and the US has questioned how successful the force would be in disarming Hezbollah.

Annan said he would wait until a fact-finding mission, currently touring through Israel, Lebanon, and Syria, reported back to him before bringing a package of proposals to the UN Security Council.