Saturday, August 19, 2006

Analysis: French diplomacy-minus-military irks UN

Analysis:�French diplomacy-minus-military irks UN:

"New York - France's strong show of diplomacy that won a ceasefire in Lebanon has not been backed by military might, prompting a chorus of criticism from US President George W Bush to other government leaders and the UN.

French President Jacques Chirac and his senior diplomats were directly involved in lengthy negotiations that resulted in UN Security Council Resolution 1701, silencing Israeli and Hezbollah guns after 33 days of fighting.

But Chirac rejected UN calls to send a vanguard force of 3,500 troops to begin monitoring the ceasefire with the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) in southern Lebanon, which now has 2,000 troops, including 200 French.

Chirac has agreed only to double the French contingent by adding another 200 French troops. The 15-nation council is scheduled to review implementation of Resolution 1701 on Monday, seven days after the ceasefire began.

The vanguard force demanded by the UN was nowhere ready to roll into southern Lebanon to join UNIFIL and Lebanese troops, who were quickly deployed to the south and reached the border with Israel for the first time in 28 years on Friday.

Bush chided Chirac to complement his strong interest in creating a stable and democratic Lebanon with French military troops.

'France said they'd send some troops,' Bush told reporters Friday from his presidential retreat at Camp David outside of Washington. 'We hope they send more.'

The United States has pledged to assist logistically with the expanded UN force, but will not deploy troops to the country.

While Chirac declined to provide the advance force of 3,500 troops, he said France would be ready to assume leadership of UNIFIL, which is currently being led by French General Alain Pelligrini."

The French are Cowards.

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