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17.07.2017 22:58 News >> Update 2 - Turkey Extends Troop Deployment İn Lebanon's Un Force

Update 2 - Turkey Extends Troop Deployment İn Lebanon's Un Force

The parliament on Monday approved the motion to extend the deployment of Turkish troops in Lebanon for another year as part of the UN's interim force.

The term of Turkish soldiers in the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon, also known as UNIFIL, was extended from Sept. 5, 2017, to Oct. 31, 2018.

The extension has been granted 10 times so far since it was first approved by the parliament in September 2006.

Speaking in the parliament, Defense Minister Fikri Isik said Lebanon is a small country in terms of its geography; "however, it has key importance with regards to stability of the region".

"A state of chaos that has been created by Daesh terrorist organization in Iraq and Syria recently, the developments in Yemen and Libya," and other regional tensions could negatively affect Lebanon's peace, tranquility and stability, he said.

The UNIFIL was established in 1978 when Israel withdrew from Lebanon. The peacekeeping force is intended to provide security and help the Lebanese government in rebuilding its authority.

Around 10,600 troops from 40 countries are part of the UNIFIL mission.

The parliament also ratified the motion calling for extending the deployment of Turkish troops to the Central African Republic (CAR) and Mali as part of an U.N.-approved EU peacekeeping mission.

The extensions will be effective for the period between Aug. 2, 2017 and Sep. 31, 2018.

Isik said the extensions reflected the strategic priorities of Turkey in accordance with realities of the 21st century.

He said Turkey would continue to contribute troops for the sake of resolving humanitarian and political crises in Africa.

- Cyprus talks

"This is a natural extension of our active foreign policy in Africa."

Christians, who account for the majority of the population in the Central African Republic, accuse Muslims of supporting former Seleka rebels blamed for attacking Christian homes, looting property and carrying out summary executions.

In September 2014, the 12,000-troop U.N. peacekeeping force Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) began their deployment in the troubled central African country.

The UN Security Council adopted a resolution in 2012 that authorized the deployment of the African-led International Support Mission to Mali, known as AFISMA.

In early 2013, France sent troops to the West African country and, with the help of Chadian and other African forces, flushed out militants from the country's main northern cities.

Isik also mentioned the talks over the Cyprus issue recently held in Switzerland.

"Turkey has taken a position in favor of solution, not on the side of concession," he said.

"Turkey will proceed on its path without compromising the national interest of the Turkish Republic of Cyprus," the minister said.

The talks to reunify the island of Cyprus ended in failure last week.

Representatives from the EU, the Turkish and Greek Cypriot leaderships, and the guarantor nations of Turkey, Greece and the U.K., participated in the discussions that began at the end of last month to resolve the dispute.

The UN sought a peace deal to unite Cyprus under a federal umbrella that could also define the future of Europe's relations with Turkey, a key player in the conflict. The Eastern Mediterranean island has been divided since 1974, when a Greek Cypriot coup was followed by violence against the island's Turks, and Ankara's intervention as a guarantor power. -



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