U.S. Denies It Will Open Embassy in Christian-controlled Lebanon Area

The State Department said today it has “no intention” of opening an Embassy “or any office” in Christian-controlled areas of Lebanon. Spokesman Robert Funseth made that assertion today when he was asked whether U.S. diplomats Robert Houghton and David Mack, who had conferred earlier this week with Christian leaders, including President-elect Elias Sarkis, had been asked to establish a U.S. mission in Christian-held territory.

Funseth said the diplomats had returned to Cyprus but he has not yet had a report on their consultations in Lebanon. He said that the diplomats carried no U.S. plan to Lebanon. Houghton and Mack had arrived in Lebanon by sea from Cyprus to Jonieh, the unofficial capital of Lebanon’s Christian enclave, because there was no other way for American diplomats to reach that sector of Lebanon.

Funseth said earlier in the week that the U.S. has “no specific plan” for the settlement of Lebanon’s continuing crisis and vigorously denied implications that the U.S. may favor a division of Lebanon by partition or zones. He said the U.S. reaffirms that “we remain opposed to partition, or de facto partition,” and that the U.S. “reaffirms” that it stands for Lebanese sovereignty, national cohesion and unity.

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