4th Jun 2023

EU will help make Lebanon force 'robust', says Solana

EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana has said that he expects a quick deployment of troops to southern Lebanon and that troops from Europe will make the force "robust".

"I've been speaking to several countries during the day and night and I think we will be able to guarantee that the force, as far as the Europeans are concerned, will be robust," Mr Solana said on Sunday (13 August) while in Jerusalem.

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Mr Solana, who was in Lebanon on Saturday before travelling to meet Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert indicated Canada, Australia, Indonesia and Malaysia may be non-EU countries prepared to take part in the international force.

He went on to say that "in a very, very short time" at least 4,000 soldiers would be prepared to move into southern Lebanon.

Later on Sunday, Mr Solana told Reuters news agency that deployment could start this week.

"I would like to see people beginning to deploy by the end of the week, early next week - elements of the force, the headquarters", he said.

France is expected to lead the force with Italy, Spain, Portugal and Finland all considering sending troops.

On Sunday, the Israeli cabinet approved a UN resolution, passed unanimously in the UN on Friday, calling for an end to hostilities between the two sides with foreign minister Tzipi Livni calling it the "the best that could be extracted from the Security Council."

The ceasefire resolution went into force at 8am local time this morning (14 August) and calls for the withdrawal of Israeli troops after UN and Lebanese forces move into southern Lebanon.

Mr Solana said he hoped the past month of fighting between Israel and Hezbollah would never be repeated.

"It's important for the Israelis . . . to make a reflection about the significance of what has happened this month. It is a month that we must do the utmost never to repeat," he said.

The fighting was sparked off by Hezbollah's kidnapping of two Israeli soldiers on 12 July and seen over 1000 people killed – mainly civilians.

US knew of Israel plans to strike Hezbollah, says report

According to leading US investigate journalist Seymour Hersh, Washington knew and gave the green light to Israel's strikes against Hezbollah some two months before they began.

Writing in the current edition of the New Yorker and quoting a US government consultant, Mr Hersh said: "Earlier this summer ... several Israeli officials visited Washington, separately, 'to get a green light for the bombing operation and to find out how much the United States would bear'."

"A successful Israeli Air Force bombing campaign ... could ease Israel's security concerns and also serve as a prelude to a potential American pre-emptive attack to destroy Iran's nuclear installations", sources told the veteran journalist.

The US government has denied the allegations calling them "flat wrong."


How the EU's money for waste went to waste in Lebanon

The EU led support for the waste management crisis in Lebanon, spending around €89m between 2004-2017, with at least €30m spent on 16 solid-waste management facilities. However, it failed to deliver.

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