Spain offers to send troops to the Lebanon

The Spanish government has responded to a request by the UN to send peackeeping forces to the South of Lebanon once a ceasefire has been achieved. Although negotiations are still in their initial stages, it is thought that France will offer to send a substantial number of troops who will be authorized to use force if necessary. According to Spanish military sources the number of troops that could be sent would be approximately 800 soldiers.

Meanwhile Israel is continuing to bomb Lebanon in response to the kidnapping of two of its soldiers by Hezbola. Yesterday EU ministers meeting in Brussels called for an immediate ceasefire. The role of any peacekeeping forces would be to police and maintain any such ceasefire.

Michèle Alliot-Marie, The French Minister of Defence declared that any peacekeeping force deployed in the Lebanon would need to be international, credible and with a clear mission. In his opinion a force of at least 10,000 soldiers would not be enough.

The forces would be used to create a demilitarized area to the South of Lebanon, at least while the Lebanese government still maintains control over its own territory, to disarm Hezbola and control the Lebanese – Syrian border something that could take years to achieve.