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Last Updated: Friday, 4 August 2006, 08:24 GMT 09:24 UK
Malaysia pledges Lebanon troops
A Malaysian peacekeeper in East Timor, June 2006
The Malaysian deployment needs formal government approval
Malaysia is ready to send 1,000 soldiers to Lebanon to join an international peacekeeping force, the country's defence chief has said.

The soldiers could go once a ceasefire was in place between Israel and Hezbollah, he said.

PM Abdullah Badawi said on Wednesday that Malaysia was ready to commit troops under the United Nations banner.

He was speaking at a summit of Muslim nations, where he accused the West and the UN of "paralysis" over the crisis.

Leaders at the emergency summit of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference in Malaysia demanded an immediate ceasefire and accused Israel of "blatant" human rights violations.

"Muslims are angry even in moderate Muslim countries," Mr Abdullah said after the meeting.

Formal approval

Defence Forces Chief Admiral Mohamad Anwar Mohamad Nor told Bernama news agency that departure preparations for the troops were being finalised.

Malaysian premier Abdullah Badawi and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
The Malaysian prime minister wants more action to resolve the crisis

A team of observers will go to Lebanon to assess the situation, while the deployment must wait for formal government approval, he said.

"We will send armoured vehicles and troops in highly bullet-proof attire to face any consequences," the agency quoted him as saying.

The UN is working on a deal to end hostilities in the Middle East, but no agreement has been reached on the wording of a ceasefire resolution.

On Monday, Australian Prime Minister John Howard said that any international peacekeeping force would need to be at least 10,000-strong and have a mandate to disarm Hezbollah.

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