WASHINGTON (Oct. 13)
The State Department indicated today that the effort to get foreign troops to withdraw from Lebanon would “accelerate” in the talks the Reagan Administration is scheduled to have here with Israeli Foreign Minister Yitzhak Shamir and Lebanese President Amin Gemayel.
Department spokesman John Hughes said that following the “consultations,” the U.S. would have its own “thoughts and ideas” on the withdrawal and about the Administration’s “often stated concern” for the security arrangements sought by Israel in southern Lebanon.
Shamir is scheduled to meet with Secretary of State George Shultz at the State Department tomorrow and with Vice President George Bush and Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger on Friday. Gemayel will hold talks with President Reagan at the White House next Tuesday.
Hughes stressed that these talks are a continuation of the discussions conducted in the Middle East by special envoy Philip Habib and Morris Draper, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near East and South Asian Affairs. Habib is now in California, while Draper who was also given special ambassador status by Reagan, returned to Washington yesterday and may participate in the talks with Shamir before going back to the Mideast.
PEACE TREATY, NO; SECURITY ARRANGEMENTS, YES
Hughes reiterated that the U.S. still opposes a Lebanese-Israeli peace treaty as long as Israel troops are in Lebanon. But he indicated that the U.S. favors a security arrangement, as Israel is now demanding, although he would not discuss any details for this arrangement.
On the peace treaty, Hughes repeated the U.S. position that it should only be negotiated after the Lebanese government “has the support of its population.” He said that such a treaty must be “negotiated freely, thought through” and be “something which will last and not some type of temporary document engineered to meet a temporary situation.”
As for the security arrangement, Hughes noted that “the United States has made it consistently clear that this is something that has to be discussed and Israel has to be satisfied” that south Lebanon will not be used as a “launching pad” for attacks against Israel. But he said he could not discuss details on what the security arrangements should be or how they would be worked out or implemented.
CHAMOUN SUPPORTS AN AGREEMENT WITH ISRAEL
Former Lebanese President Camille Chamoun said in interviews yesterday that while he opposed a peace treaty with Israel now, he supported an agreement with Israel in which Israel would pledge “respect for the sovereignty and integrity of Lebanon,” and Lebanon would “undertake a pledge of not allowing any political or military organization on its soil which could be a threat to Israeli security.”
But the 82-year-old Christian leader, who was President when U.S. marines were first sent into Lebanon in 1958, said the Lebanese army could not at present maintain security for the whole country. He said the Christian militia should be allowed to operate until the Syrian and Palestine Liberation Organization forces withdraw.
He also urged that the multinational force, made up of U.S. marines and Italian and French troops, should be enlarged to about 20,000 men and remain there until the Lebanese army was retrained and reequipped. He said this could take up to two years.
But Hughes reiterated today Reagan’s position that the marines are in Lebanon for a “limited period.” He said the President believes that the departure of the Israeli, Syrian and PLO forces should not take long and noted that Shamir has predicted that it could occur by the end of the year. Reagan has said that the marines are in Lebanon until the Lebanese government feels it can handle its own security. Reagan has said he could not give a timetable for this although he had maintained that it would not be of long duration.