Berlin demands to board Lebanese ships

Vice Chancellor says arms embargo must be upheld even against will of the crew.

Muentefering 298.88 (photo credit: Associated Press)
Muentefering 298.88
(photo credit: Associated Press)
German sailors must be empowered to board ships against the will of their crew in order to stop arms smuggling to Lebanon, a senior leader said in remarks released Saturday. Germany is offering to patrol Lebanon's coast rather than send ground troops as part of a UN peacekeeping force after the conflict between Israel and Lebanon-based Hizbullah. "To prevent arms smuggling from the sea, we need a robust mandate that allows the navy to stop and check suspicious ships against their will," vice-chancellor Franz Muentefering was quoted as saying in the Tagesspiegel newspaper. Muentefering said German forces faced a "serious" role in the UN mission, which including an arms embargo against Hizbullah and other militias. "We cannot expect that arms suppliers will see it as a friendly act if German and other troops guard the coast and prevent their weapons deliveries," he said in an interview released before its publication Sunday. However, he said he was confident that parliament as well as the Cabinet would approve the mission - a requirement under German law.