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French Media Hails 200 Soldiers To Lebanon

From Communist China’s People’s Daily:

French marines in Sidon. Credit: PATRICK BAZ/AFP/Getty Images.

French marines guard the old port of Sidon as the French navy disembarks humanitarian aid on Thursday. France has committed an additional 200 troops to Lebanon, joining the 200 already the country.

French media hails Paris’ immediate support of UNIFIL in Lebanon

French media globally hailed Paris’ prompt sending of troops to reinforce the U.N. Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL).

French right-wing daily Le Figaro on Friday hailed France for being in the forefront of the deployment and stated that this prudence was justified not only for the fate of the soldiers of the United Nations, but also for the success of the mission.

The dangers involved must not cause France to waver in the face of its responsibilities, but serve to strengthen its resolve to ensure that the mission of the enlarged UNIFIL had a better chance of success, said Le Figaro.

France already has some 200 troops in the existing 2,000-strong U.N. peacekeeping force stationed in Lebanon and it takes a lead role in the operation.

The office of the French president released a statement late Thursday saying President Jacques Chirac had made the offer of the additional troops during a telephone conversation with UN Secretary General Kofi Annan.

"To respond to the urgent deployment needs of the Lebanese army, the president of the republic announced that France, already present in the ranks of UNIFIL, will immediately double its current contribution, with the dispatch of around 200 men," said the statement.

The mission is a very difficult one for the UNIFIL force, given that they have been given conditions under which they may open fire and the licence to disarm the Lebanese Shiite militia Hezbollah, according to the newspaper.

"Between Paris and the Hezbollah, there is an [antagonistic] past," explained the French daily Le Monde.

"It is enough to mention the memory of our 58 soldiers killed in the October 1983 attacks in Beirut by the Hezbollah to measure the danger," said Le Figaro.

The U.N. Security Council Resolution 1701, unanimously adopted last Friday, gives a mandate for the UNIFIL to expand from its current total of 2,000 troops to 15,000 to maintain the fragile peace in southern Lebanon.

So all told we’re talking maybe 400 men? Incroyable!

As Charles de Gaulle once said, "France cannot be France without greatness."

Of course he was joking. — Wasn’t he?

This article was posted by Steve on Saturday, August 19th, 2006. Comments are currently closed.

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