Official: Sarkozy’s Warning of UNIFIL Pullout is Not the First


A warning made by French President Nicolas Sarkozy earlier in the month that Paris would consider pulling its troops from the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon if it comes under attack again, is not the first, an official told An Nahar daily Saturday.

In a letter sent to his Lebanese counterpart President Michel Suleiman and PM Najib Miqati, Sarkozy said: “If the July 26, 2011 attack takes place again then France would wonder whether there is any reason to keep its troops to confront the dangers that the host country is not dealing with appropriately.”

The letter dated August 3 was posted on the French embassy website in Beirut on Thursday.

But the official told An Nahar that Sarkozy has sent a similar letter to Lebanese authorities following attacks on French soldiers in June and July 2010.

Last month, three French U.N. peacekeepers were wounded in a roadside bombing in the southern city of Sidon, and another three suffered hearing problems.

Nobody claimed responsibility for that attack, which targeted a UNIFIL jeep on the main highway linking the capital to south Lebanon, where the 12,000-strong force is deployed.