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Former German FM says new UN force in Lebanon will not work

BERLIN (AFX) - Former German foreign minister Joschka Fischer said today it would make 'little sense' to deploy a bigger UN force in Lebanon to stabilise the violence-wracked country.

'Another blue helmet mandate will make little sense. Only a robust force with a robust mandate could perhaps achieve something positive. But the risks are enormous,' Fischer told Thursday's edition of Die Zeit newspaper.

'I think it is far more important to put political pressure on the radicals and to commit ourselves to new peace negotiations,' the former Greens politician said.

The United Nations is mulling a mandate for a new international force in Lebanon that would be considerably bigger than the 2,000-strong one currently deployed there, following a proposal from the leaders of the G8 group.

Fischer accused the West, Russia and the United Nations of neglecting the Middle East peace process.

Fischer warned that, failing a 'joint, energetic diplomatic offensive', the violence in the region would spiral out of control.

He said the United States had to resolve the stand-off with Iran over its nuclear programme, which the West sees as a smokescreen for making nuclear arms,

to calm tensions in the Middle East.

'Without a resolute America there will be no solution. If an understanding can be found with Tehran about its nuclear programme and uranium enrichment, the situation in the Middle East will change,' he said.

'If not, we are heading for an enormous crisis with unforeseeable consequences.' newsdesk@afxnews.com afp/wj

19  July  2006


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