BEIRUT — The commander of U.N. peacekeepers indicated Tuesday that the United Nations would accept joint deployment with Lebanese troops who are mobilizing for operations in the lawless south.
The government ordered its troops into combat readiness Monday for the push into southern Lebanon, which guerrillas have used as a springboard to attack Israel's self-declared "security zone."
Southern Lebanon took the brunt of Israel's weeklong bombardment that devastated 80 villages and displaced nearly 500,000 people. The attacks ended Saturday with a U.S.-brokered cease-fire.
Maj. Gen. Trund Furuhovde, commander of the U.N. peacekeepers in Lebanon, said after a one-hour meeting Tuesday with Foreign Minister Faris Bouez that the two discussed the army's role "in restoring stability in south Lebanon."
Asked whether the United Nations would accept a joint deployment with the Lebanese army, he said, "Certain military arrangements will be taken in this regard."
He refused to elaborate but said he planned to meet with the army commander.