Turkey Extends Military Mandate in Lebanon Another Year

ANKARA, (Xinhua)—Turkey’s parliament adopted Monday a motion authorizing the government to extend for one year the Turkish military mandate with the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL).

The motion, signed by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, will let the Turkish troops stay in Lebanon for a fourth year as of Sept. 5, 2009.

The motion said that Turkey played an effective role in the peace process in Lebanon with its contribution to the UNIFIL’s land and naval operations in the region.

This was the third time Turkey has extended the mission since it was first approved in September 2006.

Turkish troops were allowed to stay for one year in Lebanon under the UN Security Council resolution on Aug. 11, 2006, and in line with Turkish Parliament’s decision on Sept. 5, 2006. The mandate was extended in 2007 and 2008.

UNIFIL peacekeepers in southern Lebanon, who took charge of preventing any act of hostility between Israel and Lebanon, were upgraded through UN resolution 1701 in 2006 following the devastating 34-day war between Israel and the Lebanese Shiite armed group Hezbollah.

Over 12,000 troops from 20 different countries have been deployed on the Lebanese-Israeli borders. Turkey was the first Muslim country to contribute troops to the UNIFIL.

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