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– Twenty-First Century Crusades?
Prediction 14: Possible
EU troop movements to Israel and/or the Middle East
EU troops on stand by as Middle East
EU troops could be deployed in Lebanon if violence continues to escalate
in the region.
|EU foreign policy chief
Javier Solana called on member states to be prepared to
participate in operations in the Middle East.
Speaking after a meeting of Europe's foreign ministers on Monday, EU
foreign policy chief Javier Solana called on member states to be
prepared to participate in operations in the Middle East.
“It is important that member states are ready to consider
participating in this force,” Solana told a press conference.
“I am confident they are ready to take part if required. But at the
moment this is just an idea.”
The comments echo those of British Prime Minister Tony Blair who
said the "only way" to stop the fighting was to deploy UN
peacekeepers in southern Lebanon.
EU preparedness comes as some analysts predict a major ground
invasion of southern Lebanon by Israel, which wants to remove
Hizbullah's capacity to fire missiles over the border.
Meanwhile EU officials are working hard to step up consular
cooperation between European outposts in the region - to secure the
safe exit of Europeans wishing to leave.
“Our concern for the safety of EU citizens in the region is
growing,” Finnish foreign minister Erkki Tuonioja told reporters on
“We have been coordinating intensive consular cooperation for those
who wish to leave.”
During its six months in EU office, the Finnish presidency has been
charged with implementing formal channels for consular
But Helsinki insists that even with the formal mechanisms not yet in
place, cooperation between embassies is proving effective.
“Even without the consular cooperation in place that we have been
entrusted to work on, the improvisation has worked very well,”
On Sunday military planes evacuated 350 from Lebanon people to
The evacuees, including Spaniards, Italians, Austrians, Czechs and
Irish, were flown from Syria on Italian military craft.
France has chartered a cruise ship and a ferry that were expected to
arrive in Beirut on Monday to transport French and other European
citizens to Cyprus.