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U.S. Rejects Sharon’s Contention

The State Department rejected today Israeli Defense Minister Ariel Sharon’s contention that Israeli troops must man the early warning stations projected for south Lebanon. “Our position is clear,” Department spokesman John Hughes said. “We want to see all PLO, Syrian and Israeli forces out of Lebanon.”

Sharon, addressing a group of American Jewish leaders yesterday, said the outposts had to be manned by people familiar with the various groups in south Lebanon, who knew their language and knew the terrain. (See separate story.)

Hughes refused to comment directly on reports that Israel is arming various militias in south Lebanon. But he said, U.S. policy “in general” has been the same as that of the Lebanese government which is that “all armed groups in Lebanon should come under the control of the central government, the authority of which should extend throughout the country. Only when this is accomplished will Lebanon enjoy lasting stability,” Hughes said. He added that “The government of Israel is fully aware of our views on this matter.”

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