BRUSSELS, Aug. 22 (Xinhua)AP — Lebanon has asked the Netherlands to contribute to the UN peacekeeping mission in the south of the country, by providing vessels to police its coast, Radio Netherlands reported Tuesday. Beirut wants Dutch naval vessels to patrol the coast to combat illegal arms shipments.Lebanese Foreign Minister Fawzi Salloukh requested the assistance from his Dutch counterpart Ben Bot during talks in Lebanon. The Dutch minister gave no concrete assurances but promised to put the Lebanese request to his fellow cabinet ministers for consideration, according to Radio Netherlands.  Bot is approaching the end of a three-day trip to the Middle East. Although the Netherlands will not commit troops to the UN mission in south Lebanon, Bot wanted to be in the region to assess the need for other assistance.

    Bot wanted Islamic countries to join the strengthened UN peacekeeping mission in Lebanon, the Dutch newspaper De Volkskrant reported Tuesday. He disagreed on this point with the Israeli position that "hostile" countries like Malaysia and Indonesia must be excluded. Bot said in the Israeli capital of Tel Aviv on Monday that he would try to mediate between Israel and Indonesia. Israel, which hopes thousands of UN troops will be deployed in south Lebanon with a robust mandate, cannot afford to be choosy, said Bot. The Lebanese government would welcome UN troops from Islamic countries, said Bot, adding that Israel must not create an obstacle. An exclusively Western force to supervise the cease-fire would be regarded suspiciously by the Muslim countries in the Middle East, he believed.   In talks with his Israeli counterpart, Tzivi Livni, Bot expressed his concern about the military operation by Israeli commandos in northern Lebanon at the weekend. He stopped short of accusing the operation of a breach of the cease-fire, but said: "Similar actions must not take place again." Enditem