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FRANCE TO BOOST MIDDLE EAST TROOP LEVEL BY JAN. 15 DEADLINE

France said yesterday it would send more troops, tanks, planes, and helicopters to Saudi Arabia before the end of the year and have them in combat positions by Jan. 15. The date marks the deadline set by the United Nations Security Council for Iraq to withdraw from Kuwait or face possible eviction by a multinational force led by the United States.

The reinforcements would bring the total number of French military personnel in the Persian Gulf to 10,000, said Gen. Raymond Germanos.

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The UN Security Council resolution authorizing the use of force against Iraq after Jan. 15 prompted the French decision, said French Defense Minister Jean-Pierre Chev`enement.