WASHINGTON (Dec. 21)
The State Department said today that it expects negotiations between Israel and Lebanon to begin “in the next few days” and to be concluded speedily.
Department spokesman John Hughes told reporters: “Israel and Lebanon have reached an understanding which is the basis for negotiations and we welcome that. We believe that the negotiations will begin in the next few days. We do not yet know where the negotiations will take place but we expect that once they have begun, they will not take long to come up with a plan for troop withdrawals.”
Hughes added that he saw no reason why plans for withdrawal of foreign forces from Lebanon cannot be concluded speedily.
Meanwhile, U.S. I special envoy Philip Habib returned from the Middle East last night and met today with President Reagan and Secretary of State George Shultz to brief them on the latest developments.