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Annan Praises Turkish Decision To Send Troops To Lebanon

Annan (left) with Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul in Ankara on September 6 (epa) September 6, 2006 -- UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan was in Turkey today where he praised that country for agreeing to send troops to Lebanon.

"I think the role of Turkey in the region and in the implementation of [UN Security Council] Resolution 1701 is going to be crucial," he said. "You are a regional player and I could tell you that both sides, both parties [Israel and Lebanon] were extremely happy to see that you were going to be deploying troops to assist in the effort."

Annan met with Turkish leaders in Ankara one day after parliament voted in favor of sending troops to Lebanon as part of an expanded UN force.

Annan's visit to Turkey was part of a regional tour aimed at firming up support for peace in Lebanon.

Hizballah's capture of Israeli soldiers in July led to a 34-day war between Israel and the Shi'ite militia. Annan also called on Hizballah to confine its activities to politics.