Photo: Niv Calderon
UN soldiers on Lebanese border
Photo: Niv Calderon
Multinational force will only open fire in emergency
Italy, who will apparently lead multinational force in Lebanon, receives clarification of mission from UN. Newspaper 'Corriere della Sera' reports that soldiers will have mainly rifles. Their main mission – rehabilitating Lebanon and keeping order. And who will disarm Hizbullah? Italy is also asking this question
Italy was the first country to volunteer its soldiers to the multinational force to be deployed in southern Lebanon, yet only Sunday night received clarifications of its soldiers' mandate in the field. Though Jerusalem was doubtful that the soldiers would have authority to open fire at Hizbullah, the document sent to the Italian Defense Ministry sheds a different light on the issue.


The document sent from UN Headquarters to the Italian Defense Ministry regarding the jurisdiction of the multinational force in Lebanon was published in the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera.


It was written that the main objective of the soldiers will not be disarming Hizbullah, but rehabilitating Lebanon from the war's damage and keeping order. The soldiers also ill not be equipped with tanks, and will only be permitted to open fire "in a manner befitting of the need in response to an emergency situation."


Aid operations of the multinational force, according to the document, will focus on rehabilitating public buildings, roads, and bridges that were destroyed by IDF attacks during the war.


'An important contribution to peace'


Unlike other UN forces throughout the world, the force commander in southern Lebanon will enjoy autonomy, and will not need to consult with an overseeing official in the headquarters in the time of emergency in order to make decisions.


In regards to instructions for UN soldiers to open fire in Lebanon, the document notes that using arms will be undertaken "in a manner befitting of the need in response to an emergency in order to ensure the peacekeeping force acts in accordance with Resolution 1701."


The significance of this is that each time there is any kind of disturbance to the UN peacekeepers, they may respond using the weapons in their possession. In the report it was outlined that the UN wants to avoid sending tanks and that the force will have to make do with lighter armaments, such as armored personnel carriers.


Prime Minister Ehud Olmert spoke Sunday with Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi in regards to the multinational force in Lebanon, asking that Italy lead the force. Olmert noted that Israel sees the dispatching of Italian troops to the multinational force as vital to the application of UN Resolution 1701 and that "this will be an important contribution to peace and stability in the Middle East."


According to him, it is critical that the force arrive in the region as soon as possible and that Italy lead the force by also sending forces to oversee the Syrian-Lebanese border.


Ronny Sofer contributed to this report.


פרסום ראשון: 08.21.06, 08:15
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