Thursday, August 17, 2006

A great power in their own mind

I'd make a snide comment, if this was not such a serious matter.

This from the BBC News earlier today:
A survey for the newspaper La Croix found that seven French people out of ten supported the deployment of an international force. However only a small majority - 53% - were in favour of the French military getting involved.

"If it's for peace, I'd have no problem with France intervening," said Estenio, 45, an electrician in Paris.

"France has always been a great power - if she can offer something positive so as to stabilise the region, then that's good."
BBC News (now):
At special talks in New York, the UN's deputy chief will seek pledges for an initial 3,500-strong force, which the UN hopes to deploy within two weeks.

But France, which has agreed to lead the new force, has said it will send only 200 extra troops immediately.
The Washington Post:
UNITED NATIONS, Aug. 17 -- France has rebuffed U.N. pleas to make a major contribution to a peacekeeping mission in southern Lebanon, setting back international efforts to send a credible military force to the region to police a cease-fire between Israel and Hezbollah, according to U.N. and French officials.

French President Jacques Chirac instead committed Thursday to send a relatively small military engineering company of 200 soldiers to serve in a reinforced U.N. peacekeeping mission that is expected to grow to 15,000 strong and that will help Lebanon police a demilitarized zone in southern Lebanon. He also said that a force of 1,700 French troops and crew stationed in ships off the coast of Lebanon could be sent in to help the U.N. force during a crisis.

The French decision, which was first reported today in the Paris daily Le Monde, has thrown U.N. military planning into disarray on the eve of a major international meeting this afternoon of potential contributors to a U.N. force. It also seriously complicates U.N. efforts to get a vanguard force of peacekeepers from powerful European countries within the next two weeks.


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