Lebanon slams Merkel over comments on UN mission

Lebanon's Foreign Minister Fawzi Salloukh on Saturday criticized German Chancellor Angela Merkel's comments about German participation in the peacekeeping efforts and urged Berlin to be an "unbiased" contributor to the UN mission in Lebanon. "We expect a friendly country such as Germany to be balanced and unbiased in dealing with its (peacekeeping) mission," told reporters in Beirut. He was commenting on remarks Merkel made Wednesday after Germany's Cabinet approved the deployment of warships to Lebanon as part of the expanded United Nations peacekeeping force known as UNIFIL. "This decision was made in view both of our particular responsibility for Israel's right to exist, and for a solid solution for peace in the region," Merkel said. In comments reported by Lebanon's official National News Agency, Salloukh said, "UNIFIL's mission is to secure peace and stability and help Lebanese authorities protect civilians where they are deployed. Anyone who feels obliged to protect Israel should deploy his troops on the other side of the border to carry out this mission."