Spain to send troops to the Lebanon

Although the Foreign affairs minister Miguel Ángel Moratinos, refused to place a figure on the number of soldiers that Spain is prepared to send to the Lebanon, it is rumoured that the number will be around 950 in total if certain conditions are met.

Moratinos affirmed that Spain would make a significant contribution but that this would need to be approved by parliament.

The Spanish soldiers would join the 7000 ground troops that the European Union has agreed to commit to the UN peace keeping mission to police the Israel-Lebanon ceasefire. At a meeting of foreign ministers in Brussels last week it was also agreed that a further 2000 specialist forces would be sent to provide naval and air support. France will be in charge of the European mission until February 2007.

Kofi Annan, the UN secretary-general, is reported to be pleased with progress in bringing together an international force and said that it would be deployed ‘in days not weeks’.