Friday

23rd Jun 2017

Italy offers to lead UN Lebanon force

Italy has formally offered to lead a UN international peacekeeping force in Lebanon and has said it will provide 2000 soldiers.

Italian prime minister Romano Prodi made the offer on Monday (21 August) and it has been accepted by Beirut.

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.

"I confirmed the Italian willingness," said Mr Prodi according to Reuters.

He added that UN secretary general Kofi Annan is set to decide about the command of the forces by the weekend.

"[Mr Annan] will do that after completing all of the analyses and meetings with all of the leaders of all of the countries that could be interested in the mission," said the Italian leader.

Italy's promise to send 2000 soldiers is the biggest commitment so far with countries hesitant to make firm promises until the rules of engagement are clear.

The Italian move stands in marked contrast to France which having been behind the diplomatic negotiations to work out a UN ceasefire resolution had also been expected to provide the bulk of the troops - instead it had said it will provide only 200 troops.

France's stalling - due to worries about the chain of command - has unleashed strong criticism by several commentators in the US with critical editorials in newspapers such as the New York Times, the Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times.

A piece in Monday's New York Times entitled 'Waiting for Jacques' said "It would be tempting to laugh about France's paltry commitment of 200 additional peacekeepers for Lebanon, if it weren't so dangerous."

When the Security Council agreed earlier this month on a cease-fire resolution, scripted by the French and the Americans, it was with the clear understanding that Paris would head the 15,000-member international force and contribute a large number of troops," the article continues.

The administration in Washington has also voiced some dissatisfaction.

"I would hope they would put more troops in," president George W. Bush said. "They understand the region as well as anybody."

With pressure from Washington to see a quick deployment of a UN force in the background, EU officials will meet in Brussels on Wednesday (23 August) to try and coordinate their efforts.

So far several EU member states including Italy, France, the UK, Germany, Denmark, Spain, Greece, Belgium, Finland and Portugal have indicated they will contribute.

But the general effort falls far short of UN expectations of around 3,500 troops in place by the beginning of September with an overall aim of eventually having 15,000 troops in southern Lebanon.

EU extends sanctions on Russia

German chancellor Angela Merkel said that Russia hadn't done enough to implement the so-called Minsk peace process, a condition for lifting the sanctions.

Focus

UK's universities set 'Brexit wish list'

British academics want to guarantee residency and work rights for their EU staff, as well as "enhanced mobility opportunities" for UK and EU students, mostly by keeping British participation in EU funding programs.

News in Brief

  1. Merkel and Macron hold symbolic joint press conference
  2. Juncker has 'no' clear idea of kind of Brexit UK wants
  3. Belgian PM calls May's proposal on EU citizens 'vague'
  4. UK lacks support of EU countries in UN vote
  5. Spain to command anti-smuggler Mediterranean force
  6. Estonia confirms opposition to Nord Stream 2 pipeline
  7. Ireland and Denmark outside EU military plan
  8. EU leaders renew vows to uphold Paris climate deal

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EPSUOn Public Services Day, Stop Austerity! Workers Need a Pay Rise!
  2. EGBAOnline Gambling: The EU Court Rejects Closed Licensing Regimes In Member States
  3. World VisionFaces of Today, Leaders of Tomorrow: Join the Debate on Violence Against Girls - 29 June
  4. ECR GroupThe EU Must Better Protect Industry from Unfair Competition
  5. Malta EU 2017Better Protection for Workers From Cancer-Causing Substances
  6. EPSUAfter 9 Years of Austerity Europe's Public Sector Workers Deserve a Pay Rise!
  7. Dialogue PlatformGlobalised Religions and the Dialogue Imperative. Join the Debate!
  8. UNICEFEU Trust Fund Contribution to UNICEF's Syria Crisis Response Reaches Nearly €200 Million
  9. EUSEW17Bringing Buildings Into the Circular Economy. Discuss at EU Sustainable Energy Week
  10. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceCan an Ideal Body Weight Lead to Premature Death?
  11. Malta EU 2017End of Roaming Charges: What Does It Entail?
  12. World VisionWorld Refugee Day, a Dark Reminder of the Reality of Children on the Move

Latest News

  1. Macron’s investment screening idea watered down by leaders
  2. Leaders unimpressed by May’s offer to EU citizens
  3. New Irish PM praises unscripted nature of EU summits
  4. EU extends sanctions on Russia
  5. UK's universities set 'Brexit wish list'
  6. Decision on post-Brexit home for EU agencies postponed
  7. May's offer on citizens’ rights dismissed as ‘pathetic’
  8. 'Historic' defence plan gets launch date at EU summit