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Cyprus to Serve as Staging Center for International Force in Lebanon

Officials in Cyprus say the United Nations wants the country to serve as the rear command and staging center for the expanded international force for Lebanon.

Foreign Minister George Lillikas told reporters Thursday that the U.N. informed Cyprus of its decision several days ago.

The foreign minister is traveling Thursday to Lebanon for meetings with officials there.

Cyprus had offered to act as a transit point for the movement of up to 15,000 international peacekeepers. The force is authorized by the ceasefire resolution aimed at ending the war between Israel and Hezbollah.

As war broke out between Israel and Hezbollah in July, Cyprus was the main destination for foreign nationals evacuated from Lebanon.

Cyprus is located across the Mediterranean from Lebanon, just 150 kilometers away.

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