WASHINGTON (May. 9)
The State Department urged Israel and Syria today to use their “influence” to stop the fighting between rival Lebanese groups in the Beirut area.
Department spokesman Alan Romberg did not actually mention the two countries by name in issuing the appeal. But in an apparent reference to both, he said: “We are currently engaged in asking those with influence on the parties to urge maximum restraint on all sides of the fighting. Such fighting underscores the need for the re-establishment of Lebanese sovereignty throughout Lebanon as quickly as possible.”
A State Department official refused to confirm that Romberg’s remarks were aimed at Israel and Syria. But he noted that countries with large armies in Lebanon have a “responsibility” to stop the fighting in the territory they control whether they are responsible for the outbreak in the fighting or not.
This is basically what Secretary of State George Shultz said yesterday after meeting with Lebanese President Amin Gemayel. “Those countries that are occupying Lebanese soil have a responsibility to control any fire that comes from sections which they occupy,” Shultz was quoted as saying. It is believed that the fighting is between Druze in Syrian-controlled territory and Christian Phalangists in the Israeli-held area.
U.S. DETERMINED TO MOVE AHEAD
Romberg said today that he could give no motive for the outbreak of the fighting but he stressed that the U.S. was “determined to move ahead” in the effort to achieve the removal of all foreign forces from Lebanon.
Shultz, who was in Paris today, is scheduled to return to Washington this week. Special envoys Philip Habib and Morris Draper are remaining in the Mideast to work out the final details of the Lebanese-Israeli agreement and to continue efforts to get the Syrians to agree to withdraw their forces along with the Palestine Liberation Organization.