In Lebanon, more French troops attached to the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) have been decorated for the performance there.
In Lebanon, more French troops attached to the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) have been decorated for the performance there. French contingents have been part of the UNIFIL presence there since March last year.
SYNOPSIS: The ceremony took place in the township of Haris.
The decorations were to be bestowed by UNIFIL's second-in-command, General Cuq, and many of the townspeople turned out to watch.
First, General Cuq inspected the French troops, who were spick-and-span for the ceremony. The original contingent came to Lebanon to help keep order when Israeli invading forces were withdrawn.
Last month, the phased withdrawal of some French and Iranian members of UNIFIL began. Beforehand, it was feared this reduction of numbers would lead to renewed fighting, but, so far, this had not happened.
Under a UN Security Council resolution, UNIFIL'S mandate was extended in January for another five months. When the previous mandate expired, UNIFIL leaders pulled out thirteen hundred of the six-thousand-strong force, and replaced them with Dutch, Fijian and Nigerian soldiers. There has been controversy over the terms of the UNIFIL mandate, which does not provide for offensive action by its assorted troop. but senior UN officials, as well as the UNIFIL commander, Major-General Emmanuel Erskine, are firmly opposed to using force to resolve what they regard as a political, rather than a military problem.