Chancellor Angela Merkel's spokesman said Sunday a special sitting of the Cabinet on Germany's role in the new UN peacekeeping operation in Lebanon has been put off because Berlin has not yet received a request for troops. Ulrich Wilhelm said the Cabinet session would not take place Monday, saying it could only take place once Germany's help is requested.
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"The Lebanese Prime Minister (Fuad) Saniora informed the German chancellor that because of internal Lebanese discussions, the necessary request had not yet been made of the UN," Wilhelm said in a statement.
"It is clear: without such a request from Lebanon of the United Nations, German military involvement is not possible."
Germany has offered 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 Hezbollah.
Wilhelm said Germany would only send troops under clear conditions and after Lebanon had declared its interest in Germany's participation to UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan.
"The other nations like Denmark, Norway, Sweden and the Netherlands that are willing to take part in securing Lebanon's maritime borders have made it clear in the same way," Wilhelm said.
"The essential conditions for a German engagement remain: the agreement of the conflict parties; a robust mandate that makes it possible to fulfill the mission; and the agreement of the German parliament."