Wednesday, August 16, 2006
Israel wants the Canadian Navy to help patrol the Lebanese coast to stop arms shipments to Hezbollah. Israeli Ambassador Alan Baker hopes to raise this possibility with senior Canadian officials in the next few days as UN member countries work out details of how to police the ceasefire in Southern Lebanon. Israel understands that Ottawa may not have army troops to contribute to the UN peacekeeping mission on the ground because of the heavy Canadian military commitment in Afghanistan, Mr. Baker said in a conference call with reporters. He said, however, Canadian warships might be able to help patrol the Lebanese coast to make sure Hezbollah does not get new shipments of arms arriving by sea.Prime Minister Stephen Harper's office was initially noncommittal. Communications Director Sandra Buckler said the government will listen to any Israeli proposal, but the question has not yet come up in any formal talks. Mr. Baker also said he hopes to arrange a visit to Ottawa by Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni to thank Canada for its support.