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Military

Germany to send two naval boats for UN mission off the Lebanese coast

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

Berlin, Sept 6, IRNA
Germany-Lebanon-UNIFIL
Germany will send two naval boats off the Lebanese coast on Friday as part of the mission of the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), a German navy spokesman said Thursday in the north German city of Kiel.

Both naval boats, among them a minesweeper, are expected to join the multi-national UN naval fleet in mid-September.

The German government had recently approved extending the UN mandate of German naval units off the Lebanese coast for another year.

The German parliament is to debate extending the UNIFIL mandate in Lebanon in mid-September.

The cabinet aims to slash the maximum number of naval soldiers provided to UNIFIL from 2,400 to 1,400.

There are presently 1,000 troops stationed aboard eight German ships.

The total cost of the German military mission in Lebanon this year and 2008 is estimated at 95 million euros according to German Defense Ministry spokesperson, Bernd Hellstern.

Germany along with several major western countries, among them the US and Britain, are openly backing the government of Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora.

Some 13,000 UN peacekeeping and Lebanese army troops are monitoring the fragile truce between Israel and Lebanon's Islamic resistance Hizbollah following Israel's brutal military onslaught in Lebanon in the summer of 2006.

Berlin is also involved in training Lebanese police and customs officials.

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