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UN resolution: what's next?

By Channel 4 News

Updated on 17 August 2006

The UN meets today to discuss the practicalities of the ceasefire resolution. But what can we expect? Channel 4 News' foreign correspondent Kylie Morris fills in the blanks.


Channel 4 News' foreign correspondent Kylie Morris discusses the ceasefire resolution

Kylie Morris

Fifteen thousand Lebanese troops are moving south of the Litani river to take control of what was originally a Hezbollah stronghold.

Israeli troops are due to withdraw and the Lebanese will work alongside UN peacekeepers. It's a historic move for the Lebanese army and a key part of the ceasefire process.

The government took the decision to move in after Israel's army chiefs said a possible pull out in the south within 10 days depended on the Lebanese army and a beefed up UN force moving in quickly.

Meanwhile, what can we expect from the UN? They're meeting today in an attempt to push through policy on the terms of engagement for the peace keeping force.

Our foreign correspondent Kylie Morris says generals from the main countries offering to contribute troops have been meeting UN officials in New York.

"If they're able to sign off on those terms of engagement that opens the way for countries to formally notify their interest in forming the force.

"The UN is in a hurry on this and if France agrees then the expectation is that there could be three to four thousand troops on the ground in southern Lebanon within ten days."

But it's a hard task to settle the politics and the practicalities of the operation because of the concerns of all the countries involved.

"The generals, as I understand it, come from Spain, from France and from Italy. So one can expect that they"ll be playing a major role in this new force.

"Particularly France. France has played a major role all along in the negotiations for the ceasefire and the expectation is that France itself will in fact lead the new peacekeeping force.

"Other countries of course have also expressed an interest. I think there's a good chance that Turkey, for example, will be involved - partly because Turkey has had great success in the past working in Islamic countries. And there's an interest in the UN to lift the Muslim profile of the force.

"Other countries such as Indonesia and Malasia, as I understand it, have also talked about sending troops. But Israel has now said that it only wants certain countries, it won't accept countries that it regards as being enemies of the state.

"France is going to be under a lot of pressure. This is a very difficult mission. And at the moment what we're seeing is France negotiating fairly feverishly in Beirut with the Lebanese government so that the Lebanese government steps up and takes responsibility for disarming Hezbollah.

"This is something that is allowed for and actually required in the Security Council resolution but the mechanics of how that is to happen hasn't been laid out.

"Obviously there's an expectation that the peacekeepers will show up and somehow miraculously make this happen.

"But France in particular and of course any other contributing countries don't want to see their soldiers on the front line dealing with Hezbollah. They're not a fighting force, they're a peacekeeping force."

The French defence minister Michele Alliot-Marie says France is willing to lead the UN force in Lebanon so long as it has a clear mandate and sufficient strength.

Kylie spoke to Channel 4 Radio's Morning Report

Related Links:
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