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Two-stage Syrian Withdrawal from South Lebanon Suggested by Vance

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Israel has indicated its agreement with a proposal advanced by U.S. Secretary of State Cyrus Vance that the Syrian troops in the South Lebanese town of Nabatiyeh withdraw in stages, according to reports here today. The idea of a gradual withdrawal was reportedly presented by Vance when he met with Israeli Ambassador Simcha Dinitz two days ago.

According to this approach, the first stage of Syrian withdrawal will take place before Vance leaves for the Middle East Feb. 15 and the second stage will probably take place during his visit to the area. This arrangement is not expected to be formally announced. Even if the withdrawals do not coincide with the general timetable indicated, at least the principle has been formulated and this is a step in the right direction, observers noted. In addition, the Carter Administration has begun to act as mediator in the Mideast situation.

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