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France Ready to Send Troops for Afghan Peacekeeping Force - 2001-12-12


France is ready to send troops to Afghanistan to participate in a United Nations backed peacekeeping force.

The decision to send troops came at a cabinet meeting today (Wednesday) chaired by French President Jacques Chirac.

A statement from Mr. Chirac's office said France is prepared to provide troops as called for in the U.N.- brokered accord reached in Bonn, Germany which sets up an interim goverment for Afghanistan.

French Prime Minister Lionel Jospin told the lower house of Parliament that France would contribute "several hundred soldiers."

France already has provided logistical support to the U-S led coalition in Afghanistan.

Meanwhile, German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder says his country plans on joining the Afghan peacekeeping force as well.

Mr. Schroeder made his comments to parliament before a European Union leaders' summit which is to be held Friday and Saturday in Laeken, Belgium.

The German Chancellor says he is sure fellow European leaders at the summit will reach agreement on how Europe will participate in an international peacekeeping force for Afghanistan.

Mr. Schroeder also said European countries must work more closely together to respond to terrorism.

British Prime Minister Tony Blair said Tuesday London is ready to take the lead in the proposed international force in Afghanistan.

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