WASHINGTON (Jun. 15)
The director general of the Israel Foreign Ministry, David Kimche, was scheduled to arrive here today, reportedly to explain to Administration officials Israel’s intentions to redeploy its forces in Lebanon.
While the Israel Embassy would only confirm that Kimche would arrive today, it would not provide details of the purpose of the Kimche visit. It has been reported that he will explain to officials Israel’s intentions to set up more defensible lines in Lebanon in order to cut down on the rising casualties suffered by the Israel forces in Lebanon.
The United States has reportedly been pressing Israel to stand firm in its position in Lebanon, arguing that should it pull back the areas evacuated would be filled by Syrian forces and Palestinian terrorists. A pull back would also lessen any incentive for the Syrians to withdraw from Lebanon.
Yesterday, the Lebanese Parliament by an overwhelming majority of 65-2 with four abstentions, ratified the Lebanon-Israel agreement for troop withdrawal from Lebanon and other matters relating to security and normalization between the two nations. But the agreement continues to remain contingent on a Syrian withdrawal from Lebanon.
Nevertheless, the Lebanese Parliament vote caused Secretary of State George Shultz to express optimism over the situation in Lebanon while testifying today before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. The Lebanese ratification now clears the way for the Lebanese government to exchange ratification documents with Israel. Lebanese Prime Minister Safiq Wazzan said his government will decide on an “appropriate” date for this exchange with Israel, meanwhile hoping that Syrian opposition to the accord will be dropped.
M.O.U. MAY BE RESTORED
Meanwhile, Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger, in response to questions after addressing the National Press Club here yesterday, expressed a willingness for the restoration of the memorandum of understanding on strategic cooperation between the U.S. and Israel. The accord was suspended shortly after being signed in October, 1981 because of U.S. displeasure over Israel’s annexation of the Golan Heights. “The revival or restitution of that memorandum could take place at virtually any time depending on the wishes of the Israeli government,” Weinberger said.