23 August 2006


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Business Today



AFM will not participate in Lebanon peacekeeping force

Karl Stagno-Navarra

The Maltese government last night excluded deploying a military contingent to the Middle East as part of an EU-led peacekeeping force mandated by the UN to buffer the state of Israel and Hezbollah-controlled South Lebanon.
Acting Prime Minister Tonio Borg made it clear that notwithstanding the Maltese government’s pledge to the EU, prior to becoming a member state, on participation in humanitarian missions mandated by the UN, “the country will not participate” in the peace keeping mission that is currently being coordinated by the Finnish Presidency following recent diplomatic developments within the UN after a brokered cease-fire between Israel and Hezbollah.
The Foreign Office last night was informed that the Finnish Presidency of the EU has called an extraordinary meeting of the Council of Ministers for Friday, to discuss the deployment of an EU-led peace keeping force. Diplomats meanwhile, were awaiting the preparatory agenda for this meeting as Tarcisio Zammit, Malta’s Ambassador to Belgium, today is expected to hear the technical brief from the Political and Security Committee.
The ongoing diplomatic exchange between Malta, Italy and the EU Commission regarding the initiation of joint patrols in the Mediterranean, is the current priority for the Armed Forces following recent positive developments that have seen Libya willing to discuss solutions to the problem.

ksnavarra@mediatoday.com.mt



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