ANKARA TDN Parliament Bureau
Parliament has decided to extend the mission of the country's troops in Lebanon for another year. Turkey has around 1,000 troops, most of them sailors, currently deployed. More than 260 soldiers and civilian engineers serve on the ground as part of the U.N. peacekeeping force in Lebanon.
Parliament authorized the government Tuesday to extend the stay of the Turkish troops, which would have expired Aug. 31, for another year. Lawmakers voted with a show of hands. �The need for the presence of U.N. troops in Lebanon continues. Turkey is in favor of resolving the current problems in the region,� Defense Minister Vecdi Gönül said during the parliamentary session late Tuesday. Gönül stated that Turkish troops would not be fighting with local groups to secure public order.
There are 21 countries under the command of Italy that are contributing to the U.N. mission.
Gönül also said that Turkey would pledge $20 million in aid to Lebanon.