The German government has denied reports that its ships heading a UN mission off the Lebanese coast were hampered in their efforts to prevent arms being smuggled to Hezbollah.
"This mission is proceeding properly. We have excellent cooperation from the Lebanese authorities," Defense Minister Franz Josef Jung told parliament on Thursday.
The opposition free-market liberal Free Democrats (FDP) said the German forces can not properly fulfill their mandate in Lebanon after reports that German ships are not allowed to come within six miles (10 kilometers) of the Lebanese coast without permission from the Lebanese government.
Scope of operations limited?
The FDP say this limitation is contrary to the original mandate approved in September and accused Chancellor Angela Merkel and the defense ministry of misleading parliament and the public.
Merkel said in September German vessels it would be able to approach the Lebanese coast and to use force to stop and search suspect ships.
A defense ministry spokesperson on Thursday said Lebanon had approved every request for the entry of the German ships into the six-mile zone.
According to German military sources, the navy has not needed to confront any vessels since it took over command of the operation from Italian forces on October 18.
The German vessels are overseeing an arms embargo against the militant Shiite Hezbollah movement, following an Aug. 14 ceasefire that ended 33 days of fighting between Israel and the Lebanese group.