China will increase its force in Lebanon to 1,000

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao: "China is very concerned about situation in Lebanon and hopes it can be fundamentally resolved."

September 18, 2006 10:43
1 minute read.
China will increase its force in Lebanon to 1,000

china 88. (photo credit: )

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said Monday that China will increase its peacekeeping force in Lebanon to 1,000 and double its already pledged humanitarian aid to the Middle Eastern country. In announcing the commitment of 1,000 peacekeepers, Wen said China hoped to see Lebanon achieve stability. "China is very concerned about the situation in Lebanon and hopes it can be fundamentally resolved," Wen said, speaking at a news conference with visiting Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi. Wen also said that China would increase its humanitarian assistance, to 40 million yuan (US$5 million, €4 million), half of which has already been provided to Lebanon. Meanwhile, French President Jacques Chirac said Monday that the UN peacekeeping resolution for Lebanon must be carried out "without reservations" so that the Lebanese government can regain control of its territory. Chirac suggested there is a place in Lebanon for Hizbullah - but in politics only, not as an armed militia. Chirac expressed confidence that Israel would withdraw its troops from southern Lebanon. He said the first aim of UN Resolution 1701 was to bolster the authority of the Lebanese government. "I want it to be carried out without reservations. It is in the interests of Lebanon and peace in the region," the French leader said in an interview on Europe-1 radio. "No country can live if a part of its territory escapes the authority of its government," he said. Chirac also suggested that Hizbullah, which has ministers in the government, can be a legitimate political force - but no more. "It is totally normal there be a wing that expresses politically what the Hezbollah think .... What is questionable, is to express this by force, by armed militias," the French president said. Chirac defended his initial reluctance to commit large numbers of French troops to the UN peacekeeping force. He said he first had wanted to ensure that the peacekeepers would be given the right to defend themselves and to "act effectively." "When I got the assurances that these rules would be applied, that our soldiers would be able to carry out their mission normally, that is when I decided to send them," he said. "It would have irresponsible to commit to action without being aware of the consequences," he added.

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