Monday

27th Jun 2022

France makes small commitment to UN Lebanon force

Several countries have offered troops for a UN peacekeeping force in Lebanon but France, which agreed to head the force, has only committed a small amount of soldiers amid concern about the lack of clarity over the mandate.

French president Jacques Chirac pledged in the UN on Thursday (17 August) to send 400 troops to the region after talks with UN secretary general Kofi Annan.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

The offer, much less than the overall commitment of up to 5,000 troops that the UN had been hoping for - came after French daily Le Monde on the same day published an article saying that France only planned to send 200 soldiers.

France took the diplomatic lead in drafting a UN Security Council resolution on a ceasefire between Israel and Hezbollah but has become increasingly concerned about the exact rules of engagement for the troops.

According to Le Monde, Paris wants "guarantees" for its soldiers and is worried it will face reprisals from Iran and Syria - supporters of Hezbollah.

On Wednesday defence minister Michele Alliot Marie said that France would be prepared to lead the force until February but wanted a clearer mandate.

Speaking after the UN meeting yesterday, Mark Malloch Brown, the deputy secretary general of the UN, said "We had hoped France would be able to do more,"

"While I had feared the French announcement might cast a shadow over the meeting, it did not deter others from coming forward with offers. That is why we come out of the meeting relatively optimistic", he continued according to media reports

However, several EU countries are also waiting for the final outcome of UN negotiations on the terms of engagement.

Mr Malloch Brown said the mandate would be "robust but not offensive".

"This is a prudent set of rules of engagement which is non-offensive in character, but calls on you to use force if necessary,'' he said referring to the UN mission. "If they don't voluntarily disarm when confronted by our troops, then we will employ force to disarm them.''

Of the EU countries, Italy (pledging the most significant amount of troops at up to 3,000), Spain, Portugal, Denmark, the UK and Ireland are among those indicating they will play a role.

Germany which had a long domestic discussion about whether it should put soldiers into the region has now decided to send a big enough maritime task force to the Lebanon coast to be able to patrol and control it alone, according to the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.

Internationally, Bangladesh (pledging 2,000 soldiers), Indonesia, Malaysia and Nepal have all offered troops bringing the total troops committed to 3,500. The UN is hoping for deployment within two weeks.

Opinion

How to enhance EU cybersecurity

The Hungarian hacking allowed Russian intelligence to read 'over the shoulder' of an EU member state for an extended period of time. The difficulty for the EU is that it's not one nation, but a combination of 27 cybersecurity policies.

Opinion

Competing options for EU enlargement

We now have French president Emmanuel Macron's "European Political Community", European Council president Charles Michel's "European Geopolitical Community", and former Italian PM Enrico Letta's "European Confederation" — among others.

News in Brief

  1. Putin promises new missiles for Belarus
  2. French PM keen to put abortion rights in constitution
  3. Lithuania abusing migrants, says Amnesty
  4. Anti-Nato protest ahead of Madrid summit
  5. Poles and Ukrainians hold gay pride march in Warsaw
  6. Possible terror attack halts gay pride in Norway
  7. Belgian PM: Gas shortage requires joint response
  8. Bulgarian MPs set conditions for lifting enlargement veto

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersEmerging journalists from the Nordics and Canada report the facts of the climate crisis
  2. Council of the EUEU: new rules on corporate sustainability reporting
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers for culture: Protect Ukraine’s cultural heritage!
  4. Reuters InstituteDigital News Report 2022
  5. EFBWW – EFBH – FETBBHow price increases affect construction workers
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Nordic think tank examines influence of tech giants

Latest News

  1. EU summit's uncertainty in the face of economic war
  2. Next winter's gas looms large at EU summer summit
  3. Ukraine becomes EU candidate after 120 days of war
  4. How to enhance EU cybersecurity
  5. Competing options for EU enlargement
  6. MEPs demand to exit 'ecocide treaty' after reforms 'fail'
  7. Finland optimistic in Turkey talks over Nato
  8. Hungary's global-tax veto seen as 'blackmail'

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us