Israel said Saturday it was encouraging some Muslim countries to send peacekeepers to southern Lebanon, a contribution that would lend credibility to the heavily European force.
EU nations pledged 6,900 troops Friday, dispelling concerns that the peacekeeping force might not materialize because of reluctance to send troops without clear instructions or authorization to use their weapons.
But the force was still far short of the 15,000 troops envisioned under a resolution that stopped a month of fighting between Israel and the Islamic Hezbollah guerrillas…
Kofi Annan stressed Friday it was not the peacekeepers’ task to strip the guerrillas of their weapons, saying that was an issue for Lebanon’s government and “cannot be done by force.”
“The troops are not going there to disarm Hezbollah. Let’s be clear about that,” he said.
Regev reiterated Israel would not lift its air and sea embargo of Lebanon until peacekeepers take positions along the Syrian border to block arms shipments to Hezbollah from its two main supporters,