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U.S. Urges Continuation of Cease-fire As Talks Between Habib, Lebanese Officials Go on

The State Department said today that negotiations between special U.S. envoy Philip Habib and Lebanese government officials continued and called on all parties involved in the Lebanon crisis to observe the current cease-fire.

Department spokesman Dean Fischer emphasized the importance of “all parties observing the cease-fire so that the political dialogue can continue and further loss of life can be avoided.” He repeated an earlier statement that the goals of the U.S. and the Lebanese government “are in effect goals which we hold in common.” Fischer would not comment on the success or failure of the Habib mission.

Habib is currently working for a settlement between parties involved in the Lebanon conflict where Palestinian terrorists in West Beirut remained encircled by Israeli military forces. Fischer refused to disclose the U.S. position on whether the Palestine Liberation Organization should be allowed to stay in Lebanon as part of an overall negotiated settlement. He said yesterday that the U.S. had no objection to the PLO retaining a political office in Beirut if that is acceptable to the Lebanese government but added that “it is a problem for the Lebanese government to decide.”

DENIES SAUDIS THREATS

Fischer said reports that Saudi Arabia exerted pressure by threatening an oil boycott were “not true.” He would not confirm reports that Saudi Arabia offered transportation for the PLO out of Lebanon.

Fischer reported that the U.S. had “frank and wide ranging” discussion with Egyptian officials when he was asked to comment on Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak’s charge that the U.S. revealed “a lack of firmness” in the Lebanon crisis. “We believe that our two governments remain in basic accord on objectives in the Middle East,” the spokesman said.

Fischer would not comment on the unanimous declaration by the 10-member European Economic Community (EEC) countries issued in Brussels today which condemned the Israeli invasion.

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