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EU Wants More UN Troops in Lebanon Next Week


Finland's foreign minister says he wants the first reinforcements for the U.N. peacekeeping force in Lebanon in the region within the next week.

Finland currently holds the presidency of the European Union.

Erkki Tuomioja spoke to reporters Thursday in Berlin after talks with top German officials. He said that time is "crucial." He said he hoped to have specific troop commitments from EU member states by Friday.

Several European countries have expressed reluctance to commit ground troops unless the rules of engagement are clear and peacekeepers can defend themselves.

The U.N. Security Council resolution on ending the month-long war between Israel and Hezbollah called for adding up to 15,000 troops to the U.N. force in Lebanon.

In another development, Israel's military chief has admitted publicly for the first time shortcomings in the war with Hezbollah. In a letter to the military, Lieutenant General Dan Halutz acknowledged logistical, operational, and command problems.

Halutz said he is committed to a thorough investigation of the shortcomings, as well as the successes. The Israeli military command and the government of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert are facing increasing criticism over the conduct of the war.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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