TEL AVIV (Mar. 1)
A clash between the Israeli and Lebanese delegates marked the 19th round of talks aimed at a political and security settlement in Lebanon, held in the Lebanese town of Khalde this morning.
The plenary meeting, at which the United States was a participant, lasted only 15 minutes. Afterwards, the delegations adjourned for private consultations and later resumed talks on the subcommittee level.
But there was reportedly an angry exchange between the chief of the Lebanese delegation, Antoine Fatale, and his Israeli counterpart, David Kimche, after Kimche made it clear that Israel has not changed its position in response to new offers from Lebanon. A spokesman for the Lebanese delegation accused Israel of “intransigence” on grounds that it is not prepared to accept Lebanon’s compromise proposals for mutual relations and security arrangements.
Lebanon’s proposals were conveyed to the Israeli leadership yesterday by U.S. special Ambassador Philip Habib. Israeli sources said they would be considered this week by the ministerial steering committee on the Lebanese negotiations. The differences between the two sides on security arrangements in south Lebanon were said to be over details but were “basic” with respect to the normalization of relations.
TENSION RISING BETWEEN IDF, UNTSO
Meanwhile, tension was reported to be rising between Israeli forces in Lebanon and the small international group comprising the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO) which was established after the 1948 armistice agreements.
The Israelis accused UNTSO of extending its patrols recently to the Beirut-Damascus highway in violation of an agreement confining the observers force to Beirut. They also charged UNTSO with passing information about Israeli troop movements to Syrian and other forces. A spokesman for UNTSO, which consists of only 50 officers, rejected the Israeli complaints. He said the UNTSO mandate specifically requires it to monitor the situation “in and around Beirut.”