As UNIFIL is seeking to add 3,500 troops to its existing 2,000-strong contingent within 10 days, the United Nations was urging European countries Friday to provide troops for the peacekeeping force. The
, , and have all offered troops as part of the expanded UN force to help shore up the tenuous ceasefire
"It’s very important that
"We said before that a European-Muslim force would be preferable because of both groups’ interest in this situation.. It would provide a legitimacy that satisfies both sides to this conflict," Malloch Brown said
Israel has made clear it would not accept countries with which it has no diplomatic relations — such as Muslim-majority Malasia and
But Malasia’s Foreign Minister Syed Hamid Albar dismissed Gillerman’s remarks, saying: "We’re going to be on Lebanese territory … we’re not going to be on Israeli territory."
US President George W. Bush said he hoped France would reconsider its decision to send much fewer than it had promised, and dispatch more troops, noting that "there have been different signals coming out of
The scope of the force and its rules of engagement were believed to be the major stumbling blocks for European nations, but Malloch Brown said countries now had full details and should be ready to decide on a role.
The 28-year-old UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) and the extra troops will be charged with policing the fledgling ceasefire between Hezbollah and until the full 15,000 peacekeepers stipulated by the Security Council resolution can be found and deployed.