Saturday, August 19, 2006

Malaysia to send survey team to Lebanon

August 19, 2006 19:24 PM

ALOR STAR, Aug 19 (Bernama) -- Malaysia will send a survey team to Lebanon to prepare for the deployment of its peacekeeping troops to the war-torn country, said Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Tun Razak Saturday.

He said the team comprising six officers, would leave for Lebanon soon and among the tasks were to identify the requirements including logistics and the support of the people there.

Speaking to reporters after opening the Alor Star Umno delegates conference here, he said Indonesia and Brunei would join Malaysia in the effort.

He said ties between Malaysia and Lebanon were good but the decision to deploy peacekeepers there depended on the approval of the United Nations (UN).

"We have not received the UN's confirmation. Still waiting. Hopefully the UN approves," he said and admitted that Lebanon always welcomed the presence of Malaysian peacekeepers.

He said that based on the excellent service record of Malaysian peacekeepers, the UN could certainly consider the country's participation in Lebanon.If the UN did not approve, Malaysia would find another way to assist Lebanon, he said.

Israel has objected to Malaysia's participation in the peacekeeping force.

Najib also said the government had decided for Class F contractors to be paid within two weeks after the work was completed.

"The Cabinet has decided for it so that problem of bureacracy will not arise. Payments must be on schedule," he said.He said the relevant ministries should monitor and assess projects under their supervision so that the payments were made according to the schedule.

On the Third Industrial Master Plan, Najib was confident that local manufacturers would welcome it because it gave a clear picture about the direction of the industry.Hopefully, it would also open their minds to enhance their economic activities as they had been informed of the various opportunities and incentives offered by the government.

Indonesia refuses to help disarm Hizbollah in Lebanon

Tony Hotland,
The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

The government has voiced strong objections to taking part in disarming Hizbollah as part of its mandate in the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon.

Defense Minister Juwono Sudarsono said Friday the government did not want its troops involved in the disarmament of either the militia group or Israeli forces in southern Lebanon.

He alluded to the dilemma for the world's most populous Muslim nation, where there has been overwhelming support for Hizbollah and the Lebanese government and condemnation of Tel Aviv.

"We need to know where our troops will be deployed to. We don't want to be assigned to disarm Hizbollah because that would be sensitive."

Juwono said the main concern for the peacekeeping forces would be neutralizing the weapons and rocket-launching sites, but this should be done by the Lebanese troops alone.

"We will back them up through the UNIFIL so our troops will not be directly involved with disarmament on the field ... What matters is to make UNIFIL and the Lebanese military as the only ones with arms, not Israeli troops or Hizbollah. But to be there, Indonesia doesn't want to be the executors," he said.

There would likely be a backlash from hard-line Islamic groups and Islamic-based political parties if Indonesian members of UNIFIL were involved in disarming the group.

Foreign Minister Hassan Wirayuda said there was no specific mention of Hizbollah in the UN Resolution 1701, which was enacted for a cease-fire and mandates the reestablishment of security in Lebanon.

"But countries who have responded to the UN's call for a peace-keeping force are asking for detailed jobs there. It's crucial because we don't want to deploy troops for missions that are politically not in accordance with our interests."

The UN is currently drawing up the rules of engagement for the peace-keeping force. Indonesia has committed to sending 1,000 troops in UNIFIL; a total of 3,500 new troops from UN members are expected to join the 2,000 UNIFIL troops already in Lebanon.

Juwono said the government allocated Rp 374 billion (US$40.2 million) from the revised 2006 state budget to finance the troops for the first two months of deployment.

"Afterwards, the UN will pay for everything. The money we spend will be reimbursed because it is predicted the UN's administrative and logistic system will be effective after 60 days," he said.

Indonesia not willing to disarm Hizbollah - Antara
Sat Aug 19, 2006 12:20 PM IST

JAKARTA (Reuters) - Indonesia would object to a U.N. mandate ordering its forces to disarm Hizbollah if it were to take part in a peacekeeping mission in Lebanon, the official Antara news agency quoted the defence minister as saying.

"It is sensitive to disarm Hizbollah troops," Defence Minister Juwono Sudarsono was quoted as saying on Friday.

"We want Lebanon to make Hizbollah part of the Lebanese troops so that they can carry out their task as Hizbollah is part of a party in Lebanon," the minister added.

An aide to Indonesia's defence minister declined immediate comment on the report, while a foreign ministry spokesman said the rules of engagement for the peacekeeping force were still being discussed.

"I will not answer the question because the mandate (of the peacekeeping mission) is being discussed by the Security Council now," foreign ministry spokesman Desra Percaya told Reuters.

But he rejected a comment by Israel's ambassador to the United Nations that countries with no diplomatic relations with the Jewish state would not be welcome acceptable by Jerusalem to take part in the U.N. force.

Indonesia and Malaysia have each offered to send 1,000 troops to Lebanon. Both countries, with Muslim majority populations, have no diplomatic ties with Israel and strongly support the Palestinian cause.

"The resolution of the U.N. Security Council is binding to all member countries and no country has right of veto of implementing (the resolution)", Percaya said.

He added that the U.N. peacekeeping force would be operating on Lebanese territory not in Israel.

"Don't forget that the U.N. mission is a corrective effort toward Israel's aggression and Israel's veto cannot be imagined."

M'sia rejects dialogue with Israel

Malaysia readies 1,000 soldiers for Lebanon

Syed Hamid: OIC nations should arm Hezbollah

M'sian journalists detained, quizzed by Hezbollah

KL to send troops despite Israel's protest

Participation in peace force 'up to UN, not Israel'


Blogger malekz said...

In my humble opinion, the resolution is a farce. Why agree on something unenforceable like disarming Hezbollah and why we choose to send our soldiers there when our own FM once said we should arm Hezbollah to the teeth and now we want to send them there to disarm Hezbollah ..(if we follow the resolution to the letter).

The best thing for us to do is to watch from the sideline. After reading all sorts of fatwas by Saudi clerics against Hezbollah including calling them rafidins (Arabic for rejectors)...I have to conclude that Arab politics is beyond comprehension.

And Malaysian politics (and rhetoric by our own FM) is far harder to comprehend.

1:59 PM  
Blogger James Wong Wing-On said...

I don't mean Malaysian soldiers are not good in other situations like Congo or Timur where there is no element of Muslim-Jew conflict. On the contrary, I heard from reliable friends that they are good.

BUT, in the specific situation of Lebanon-Israel conflict, beside FM's statement to arm the Hezbollah, we all know that Malaysia's official position has been one of sweepingly anti-Israel for many years. So, to be fair, Malaysia is not suitable or qualified to be impartial or neutral peacekeeper.

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