France may cut size of its Lebanon force

Dec. 17, 2011 at 3:39 PM

BEIRUT, Lebanon, Dec. 17 (UPI) -- France may pull some of its troops out of the U.N. peacekeeping force in Lebanon, Beirut, al-Liwaa reported.

Nicolas de Riviere, a senior diplomat with the French Foreign Ministry, is scheduled to arrive in Beirut Monday for discussions on the U.N. Interim Force in Lebanon, a report Saturday in al-Liwaa cited by The Daily Star of Beirut said.

Five French soldiers were wounded Friday by a roadside bomb in Tyre. The attack was the third against UNIFIL peacekeepers this year and the second involving the French.

The Security Council is currently reviewing the role of UNIFIL, which was first deployed in 1978 following an Israeli invasion of South Lebanon. The peacekeepers are deployed along the Blue Line separating Lebanon and Israel.

President Nicolas Sarkozy threatened to cut the size of the French contingent in July after soldiers were attacked in Sidon.

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