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Germany

Parliament Extends Military Deployments to Lebanon, Sudan

A German peacekeeping mission to Lebanon, mainly comprising naval units patrolling offshore, received renewed authorization till Dec.15, 2009.

Bundeswehr patrol boats

German troops will continue patrolling off the coast of Lebanon for at least one more year

The German parliament on Wednesday, Sept. 17, approved the request from Chancellor Angela Merkel's government by a margin of 451 in favor to 107 against.

The maximum authorization for the contingent, which is controlled by the UN mission UNIFIL, was reduced from 1,400 to 1,200 personnel. Military officials had said previously they did not need the larger number.

The German warships were tasked in 2006 with halting speedboats moving weapons and fighters along the coast. The radical Shiite group Hezbollah had previously used Mediterranean waters in its attacks on Israel.

The parliament also approved the Bundeswehr's deployment as part of a UN mission to Sudan. A total of 511 parliamentarians voted in favor of keeping troops in Darfur while 23 voted against the measure. Twelve members of parliament abstained.

The decision allows for up to 250 German troops to be stationed near Darfur until August 2009.

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