WASHINGTON (Aug. 29)
The United States, urged by some Israeli leaders to take action against the continuing assaults by Syrian forces against the Christian community in Lebanon, today for the first time linked next week’s summit conference at Camp David to the Lebanese situation.
Without specifying that Lebanon will be on the summit agenda or agreeing that the Lebanese problems might upset the conference, the State Department in discussing the situation pointed to Camp David in a review of the American position towards Lebanon.
“We consider the Camp David meeting the best opportunity to date for working out at the highest level the Arab-Israeli conflict, ” spokesman Kenneth Brown said in discussing Lebanon. “We are determined to do everything possible to make that meeting a success.”
Asked whether the Syrian attacks against the Christians in Lebanon are intended to “torpedo” the summit conference, Brown said he has “no evidence of such plans by the Syrians. ” He added, however, that “a number of situations” may cause ” eruption of violence at any time.”
Saying “no” to a question whether Lebanon’s tragedy may upset the conference, Brown said that the U.S. was urging “maximum restraint” in all quarters “publicly and privately, ” that the U.S. is “continuing contacts” with all having a “role or influence” in Lebanon, and that the U.S. is having “active contact” with the United Nations which may be asked by Lebanon to extend its action in the war-torn country.
When asked about shipments of arms into Lebanon, Brown replied that “this obviously is included under the rubric of restraint.” He said he knows nothing specific regarding a reported request by Israel that Washington urge Syria to halt attacks on Lebanese Christians.