Lebanon asks the Netherlands for UN naval support

The Lebanese government has asked the Netherlands to contribute naval support to an expanded UN peacekeeping force in southern Lebanon, the Dutch Foreign Ministry said Tuesday. The Dutch have ruled out contributing any ground troops to the mission. Foreign Minister Ben Bot was meeting his Lebanese counterpart Fawzi Salloukh as part of a diplomatic mission Tuesday to discuss other ways the Netherlands might help, spokesman Dirk Jan Vermeij said. He said details of how many and what kind of ships the Dutch might send were still under discussion. No decision has been made on whether the request will be granted, but "the Netherlands is not the kind of country that turns a deaf ear when someone asks for help," Vermeij said.