France to Expand Its Role in Lebanon

France agreed yesterday to expand its role in Lebanon and pledged to support Lebanon’s independence and territorial integrity. France also announced, after a two-hour meeting between President Francois Mitterrand and President Amin Gemayel of Lebanon, that it has agreed to co-chair, with the United States, an international committee for the reconstruction of Lebanon.

Gemayel, who arrived here yesterday after meeting with President Reagan in Washington, is scheduled to visit Rome today for talks with President Sandra Pertini and with Pope John Paul 11 at the Vatican.

France agreed to help Lebanon expand and re-equip its military forces. Lebanese officers will be trained in French military schools and France will provide modern equipment and the experts needed to maintain it. The French will also provide funds and equipment for the reconstruction of Lebanese telecommunications, roads and airforce equipment.

Gemayel said he had obtained “full (French) support for the withdrawal of all foreign forces stationed in Lebanon” and the promise of French aid “to help the Lebanese army deploy itself throughout the country.” France appointed a special high commissioner in charge of funneling aid to Lebanon.

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