Turkey will send up to 1,000 troops to Lebanon

September 6, 2006 19:09


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UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan wrapped up a trip focused on the Middle East on Wednesday by securing a key commitment for Turkish troops to join the UN peacekeeping force in Lebanon. Annan arrived in Turkey on Tuesday - hours before its parliament voted to send troops to Lebanon, becoming the first Muslim country with diplomatic relations to Israel to join the UN force. Annan called the Turkish decision "a sign of international solidarity" - the spirit he sought during his Mideast tour. Turkish officials, mindful of strong opposition in Turkey to deployment, have said its contribution would not exceed 1,000, and stated that Turkish soldiers would not undertake the task of disarming Hizbullah. Thousands of protesters have protested the deployment, with many fearing it will lead to Turks confronting fellow Muslims. Police detained 30 stone-throwing protesters on Wednesday.

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