(UN News Centre) - The United Nations wants to see a strengthened international force in war-ravaged southern Lebanon as soon as possible, with a vanguard unit of several thousand troops possibly on the ground within the next 10 days or so, to support the Security Council-mandated cessation of hostilities that was reached last week.
This is an exceptional situation where obviously we have a very fragile cessation of hostilitiesвЂ¦ so what we would like to see is the deployment of a kind of vanguard element of some 3,000 or 3,500 troops, including support units, a senior UN official said today, reports Trend.
That could be deployed extremely rapidly in the next 10 to 15 days so that it does give UNIFIL (the UN Interim Force in Lebanon) the means to start implementing the responsibilities entrusted to it.
Under last Fridays resolution from the Council calling for the cessation of hostilities, the 15-member body welcomed the Lebanese Government's plan to deploy 15,000 troops across the south of the country as Israel withdraws behind the Blue Line, and also backed the simultaneous deployment of an expanded and enhanced UNIFIL with up to 15,000 peacekeepers.
The senior UN official said today that meetings would be held on Thursday with potential troop contributing countries for the enhanced force, adding that he hoped for firm commitments from these countries.