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French Troops Arrive In Lebanon

French troops landing in Naqura earlier this month (epa) August 25, 2006 -- The first French military reinforcements arrived in Lebanon today ahead of European Union talks on boosting the United Nations peacekeeping force there.

Following a pledge on August 24 by President Jacques Chirac to increase France's contribution to the force to 2,000 troops, some 170 French soldiers arrived in the southern Lebanese port of Naqura.

"They are engineering troops, and so that means the capability I am
bringing with me is engineering capability. You've seen bulldozers
landing, they have trucks, and so they have, obviously, rebuilding
capability. They will be able to rebuild infrastructure if they are
required for [this]," French Navy Admiral Xavier Magne told reporters there after the specialist forces made their landing aboard an amphibious assault craft.

EU foreign ministers are due to meet in Brussels at 3 p.m. to discuss further contributions to the UN force, which is supposed to total 15,000 soldiers.

They'll be joined at the Brussels talks by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan.

Belgium today said it would make a major contribution to the force. Italy has already pledged up to 3,000 troops.

(compiled from agency reports)

UN Peacekeepers

UN Peacekeepers
UN peacekeepers in Haiti in February 2006 (AFP)

MISSION In cases in which international intervention in regional conflicts is deemed necessary, peacekeeping missions authorized by the UN Security Council provide legitimacy by demonstrating the commitment of the international community to address such crises.

MANDATE UN peacekeeping missions are prepared, managed, and directed by the UN's Department of Peacekeeping Operations. The unique mandates of peacekeeping missions falls under the authority of the UN's Security Council and General Assembly, and under the command of the UN secretary-general.

MONEY Funding for UN peacekeeping missions is provided by UN member states. All are legally obliged to pay a share under an established formula. The leading financial providers as of 2006 were: the United States, Japan, Germany, the United Kingdom, France, Italy, Canada, Spain, China, and the Netherlands.

MORE All UN peacekeeping missions share the goals of alleviating human suffering and creating conditions for self-sustaining peace. Missions can consist of armed or unarmed military components, depending on their mandate, and various civilian tasks.

Military operations can include:
· Deploying to prevent the outbreak of conflict or the spillover of conflict across borders;
· Stabilizing conflict situations after a cease-fire in order to create an environment for the parties to reach a lasting peace agreement;
· Assisting in implementing comprehensive peace agreements;
· Leading states or territories through a transition to stable government, based on democratic principles, good governance, and economic development.

HISTORY There have been 60 peacekeeping operations since 1948. Fifteen peacekeeping missions were in operation in mid-2006, employing more than 60,000 troops, 7,000 police, and over 2,500 military observers. Peacekeeping operations in 2006 were supported by uniformed personnel provided by 109 countries.

(source: UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations)


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