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France Says It Will Send 2,000 Troops to Lebanon

24 August 2006

France says it will contribute 2,000 troops to the international peacekeeping force in Lebanon.

In a nationally televised address, President Jacques Chirac said France will send an additional 1,600 troops to Lebanon, bringing the total number of French soldiers to 2,000.

France had been heavily criticized after pledging last week to send only 200 additional troops to Lebanon. It already has 200 soldiers in the current U.N. observer force.

Mr. Chirac said France received clarifications from the United Nations on the rules of engagement. He said Israel and Lebanon have pledged that the international peacekeepers will be able to fulfill their mission.

The U.N. Security Council resolution on ending the month-long war between Israel and Hezbollah calls for adding up to 15,000 troops to the U.N. force in Lebanon.

In Rome, Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni said the ceasefire resolution must be fully and quickly implemented.

Few countries have announced contributions to the force.

Earlier Thursday, Finland's foreign minister told reporters that he hopes to have specific troop commitments from EU member states by Friday so troops can begin to arrive in the region next week. Finland currently holds the presidency of the European Union.

EU foreign ministers meet in Brussels on Friday to discuss contributions to the international force. United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan will also attend.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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