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Friday August 18, 2006

Najib: We’ll send troops despite Israeli reservations


PUTRAJAYA: Malaysia will send a peacekeeping force to Lebanon under the United Nations flag despite reservations expressed by Israel. 

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said Malaysian troops had an excellent record in previous peacekeeping missions and were recognised by many countries and the UN. 

“Lebanon welcomes us. I don’t see why a technical reason like not having diplomatic relations with Israel should stop us from sending our troops there,” he said yesterday.  

“We have sent our troops to Bosnia and we performed well. We were accepted not only by the Bosnian Muslims but also by the Serbs and Croats.” 

Najib was asked about a wire report quoting a senior Israeli official as saying Israel might not accept countries that had no diplomatic relations with it. Malaysia and Indonesia, which had offered to send troops, do not have diplomatic relations with Israel. 

The UN Security Council authorised up to 15,000 soldiers to help keep the peace between Israel and Hezbollah after a month of fighting in Lebanon. 

Najib, who is Defence Minister, said the Government was waiting for the UN to include Malaysia in the list of countries to serve under the UN flag in Lebanon.  

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