Tuesday

27th Sep 2016

EU ministers to meet Annan at emergency talks on Lebanon

EU foreign ministers will hold emergency talks on Lebanon on Friday (25 August) with UN secretary general Kofi Annan also attending the meeting just before he is to announce who should lead the international force to be sent to the region.

"The purpose of the meeting is to focus on EU member states' contributions to UNIFIL and the conditions needed to make the operation a success," the Finnish presidency of the EU stated.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

The extraordinary ministerial gathering will follow today's session of the bloc's Political and Security Committee which is also set to focus on the details of European troop's deployment in the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL).

Several EU member states have so far indicated they will send their soldiers to monitor the fragile ceasefire in Lebanon but have voiced strong concerns about the lack of clarity about the operating conditions.

Following the French announcement of a far smaller deployment - 200 soldiers - than had been expected by the international community, Italy has emerged as a potential leading nation with 2,000 to 3,000 troops.

According to the Italian foreign minister Massimo D'Alema, his country's contribution would make up about a third of the European troops which he has estimated at around 9,000 soldiers.

But he warned that Rome might still change its mind "if Israel keeps shooting and violates the truce sanctioned by the UN," according to Italian daily La Repubblica.

"We are expecting a renewed commitment from Israel, a binding promise to stop shooting. It is right to require that Hezbollah disarms, but we cannot send our soldiers if the Tsahal [Israeli army] keeps shooting," he added.

UN officials have reported occasional clashes between Israeli forces and suspected Hezbollah fighters and have criticised Israel for its ongoing flights over Beirut and southern Lebanon, suggesting they are in breach of the ceasefire resolution.

These violations "endanger the fragile calm" and "undermine the authority of the government of Lebanon," said Mr Annan, according to press reports.

The same message is likely to be spelled out to the Israeli foreign minister, Tzipi Livni, today and tomorrow, as she tours the French and Italian capitals for talks on the Lebanon mission.

Ms Livni is meeting her French and Belgian counterparts Philippe Douste-Blazy and Karel De Gucht, as well as French interior minister Nicolas Sarkozy.

On Thursday, the Israeli foreign minister will meet Italy's prime minister Romano Prodi and foreign minister Massimo D'Alema.

The UN force in Lebanon is to be expanded from the current 2,000 troops to up to 15,000 under a new UN resolution which ended 34 days of fighting between Israel and Hezbollah fighters.

About 1,300 Lebanese - mainly civilians - and 160 Israelis - mostly soldiers - have died in the conflict.

EU rushing to ratify climate agreement

Environment ministers will try to agree this week to speed up the process to sign up to the Paris agreement. Otherwise it would not be present at the table of the signatories at a conference in November.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EFAMessages of Hope From the Basque Country and Galicia
  2. Access NowDigital Rights Heroes and Villains. See Who Protects Your Rights, Who Wants to Take Them Away
  3. Martens CentreQuo Vadis Georgia? What to Expect From the Parliamentary Elections. Debate on 29 September
  4. EJCAppalled by Recommendation to Remove Hamas From EU Terrorism Watch List
  5. GoogleBringing Education to Refugees in Lebanon With the Clooney Foundation for Justice
  6. HuaweiAn Industry-leading ICT Solution Provider and Building a Better World
  7. World VisionUN Refugees Meeting a Wasted Opportunity to Improve the Lives of Millions of Children
  8. Belgrade Security ForumCan Democracy Survive Global Disorder?
  9. YouthProAktivEntrepreneurship, Proactivity, Innovation - Turn Ideas Into Action #IPS2016
  10. GoogleTrimming the Waste-Line: Weaving Circular Economy Principles Into Our Operations
  11. Crowdsourcing Week EuropeDon't Miss the Mega Conference to Master Crowdsourcing, Crowdfunding and Innovation! 10% Discount Code CSWEU16
  12. ACCAKaras Report on Access to Finance for SMEs in a Capital Markets Union