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Annan Ready to Add Peacekeepers to Lebanon
Sees Tougher Force for Future Operations

Friday, May 26, 2000
By David Briscoe Associated Press

WASHINGTON - Planning to call for 3,500 more troops to secure peace along the Israeli-Lebanese border, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan told a class of foreign affairs graduates that future international peacekeepers may have to use more force.

Annan, in a one-day visit to Washington, also sharply criticized a Republican senator who has single-handedly blocked U.S. funding for U.N. peacekeepers, saying the action by Sen. Judd Gregg "is only going to make matters worse."

Annan, speaking to reporters before his commencement address at Johns Hopkins University's international studies school, challenged Gregg to come up with a better peacekeeping plan if he doesn't like U.N. actions. Gregg, who did not meet with Annan, has said he disagrees with the way the United Nations is conducting its operation in Sierra Leone, where 279 peacekeepers are being held hostage by rebels.

Annan told reporters he is awaiting a formal confirmation of Israel's total withdrawal from southern Lebanon before recommending an increase in an interim U.N. force of 4,500.

He plans to announce "within days" plans to boost the force to 8,000 troops in the wake of Israel's hasty retreat this week from its border security zone in Lebanon. No U.S. troops are being offered for the operation.

In his address, Annan forecast a tougher approach. His remarks related to the work of a special panel he has appointed to study U.N. peacekeeping and report back to him in July.

Annan has agonized over U.N. peacekeeping failures in Rwanda in 1994 and Bosnia in 1995. The United Nations was accused of ignoring evidence that a genocide was being planned in Rwanda and of failing to help save thousands of Bosnian Muslims from a Serb mass murder in Srebrenica.

"Where a peace agreement is signed but one or more of the parties are tempted to violate it, the U.N. needs a credible and robust presence in order to deter and discourage potential violators," Annan said.

U.N. peacekeepers cannot be expected only to "keep peace between angels," he said, adding that combatants in modern wars are often "warlords and militia leaders whose only aim is power and personal enrichment." He said the threat of international isolation may have no meaning for people like Sierra Leone rebel leader Foday Sankoh.

"We have to consider some of the most basic assumptions about neutrality, the good faith of the parties and the nonuse of force that were the basis of the successful operations of the cold War era," Annan said. He said future U.N. peacekeepers need "robust mandates" and the willingness of richer countries to provide first-rate military and logistical support.

Speaking of the hold Gregg placed last week on $368 million owed by the United States for U.N. peacekeeping in Congo, Kosovo, East Timor and Sierra Leone, Annan said, "Let me say it is not helpful."

Gregg's spokesman, Edmund Amorosi, said the senator was issuing no immediate statement in response to Annan and already had agreed to release $40 million for Kosovo. He was discussing the other operations with State Department officials, Amorosi said.

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