German parliament to vote on Lebanon naval mission

September 20, 2006 11:38


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German lawmakers vote Wednesday on plans to send warships to the UN peacekeeping force in Lebanon. Germany has offered to send up to 2,400 service personnel and lead a multinational naval force patrolling the Lebanese coast. Parliament, which must approve the mission, appears likely to give the deployment broad backing. Two opposition parties and some lawmakers for Chancellor Angela Merkel's coalition government are expected to vote against because of misgivings linked to Germany's Nazi past. Mindful of the Holocaust under the Nazi regime, Merkel has ruled out sending combat troops in an attempt to ensure that German soldiers cannot get caught up in any confrontation with Israeli forces. Opponents counter that Germany's obligation to support Israel means it cannot be neutral in the Middle East and that it should limit its involvement to civilian aid and diplomacy.

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