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Indonesia Offers Peacekeepers for Lebanon
Israel refuses troops from countries that do not recognize its right to exist
Aloysius Wisnuhardana (wisnuhard)     Print Article 
Published 2006-08-29 18:06 (KST)   
President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has won the approval of the Indonesian parliament to send peacekeeping troops to Lebanon to help enforce U.N. resolution 1701. The resolution resulted in a ceasefire between Israel and Hezbollah, and gave a mandate to the U.N. to deploy peacekeeping troops in southern Lebanon.

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said that Israel would refuse peacekeeping troops from countries with which it does not have a diplomatic relationship. Indonesia is one of this number.

With considerable political effort and lobbying Indonesia is pushing to be part of the U.N. peacekeeping force, so hopefully it will be able to join the mission.

Israel's statement provoked fury from the Muslim majority in Indonesia. Several Muslim organizations have sent their volunteers to Lebanon to carry out humanitarian aid and others have dispatched observers to monitor the progress of the ceasefire between Israel and Hezbollah.

The Lebanese still face a difficult situation because Israel continues its blockade. Jacques Chirac of France urged Israel to end the air and sea blockade of Lebanon and called for an international conference regarding the Lebanese situation.

Malaysia and Bangladesh, both Muslim countries, are also keen to help resolve the crisis, but neither country has diplomatic ties with Israel. The only Muslim country that Israel has so far agreed to accept as a peacekeeping force is Turkey.

The United Nations has held consultation meetings in New York regarding the dispatch of the peacekeeping army. On Monday U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan surveyed the damage the conflict caused in Lebanon and held meetings with Lebanese political leaders.

In Indonesia, Yudhoyono also stated that the Indonesian Army's mission to Lebanon is not to strip Hezbollah but to be part of the U.N.'s peacekeeping forces.

The army has been in preparation for two weeks now and Yudhoyono's son, who serves as a military officer, is also included in its forces. The operation is expected to cost 380 billion rupiahs (US$ 42 million).
©2006 OhmyNews
Other articles by reporter Aloysius Wisnuhardana

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