JERUSALEM (May. 4)
Secretary of State George Shultz was locked in high level discussions with Israeli leaders here today after an overnight visit to Beirut where he held further talks with President Amin Gemayel and other Lebanese leaders.
Reporters accompanying Shultz on his shuttles quoted him today as saying he hoped to conclude the negotiations by the weekend when he plans to fly to Paris for a NATO meeting. According to observers here. Premier Menachem Begin is likely to call the Cabinet into special session if an agreement seems imminent, in order to make the final crucial decisions. Shultz met with Begin, Foreign Minister Yitzhak Shamir and Defense Minister Moshe Arens.
LESS OPTIMISM IN BEIRUT
But reports from Beirut were less than optimistic today after Shultz’s latest round of talks there. Lebanese Foreign Minister Elie Salem was quoted as saying last night that as one born in the Middle East he was less sanguine than the Secretary of State over the prospects of reaching an agreement quickly. He reportedly said that a miracle was needed to wrap up an accord now but added that miracles happen some times.
Meanwhile, Chief of Staff Gen. Moshe Levy, briefing the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Security Committee today, confirmed that Syrian forces in eastern Lebanon are still in a state of preparedness. He said it was difficult to read Syria’s intentions.
The almost daily casualties suffered by Israeli forces in Lebanon are adding to pressure on the government to make a decisive move: either conclude an agreement or, failing that, unilaterally pull back to the Awali river line, the boundary of the 28-mile security zone in south Lebanon.