Shamir is Confident Lebanon Will Live Up to Its May 17 Agreement

Foreign Minister Yitzhak Shamir said today that Israel is confident that Lebanon will live up to the agreement it signed with Israel last May 17, despite the long history of broken agreements in the Middle East.

Shamir spoke before the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Security Committee in reply to Labor MK Yossi Sarid’s assertion that President Amin Gemayel of Lebanon is moving toward annulment of the agreement. Gemayel was reported to have warned Secretary of State George Shultz a week ago that Lebanon might reconsider its agreement with Israel if the Israelis redeployed their troops in Lebanon without offering a timetable for complete withdrawal from that country.

Shamir said he was satisfied with the Israel-Lebanon agreement even though it has not been implemented because of Syria’s refusal to pull its own forces out of Lebanon. He said there was considerable weight to words in relations between neighboring countries and noted that there are important elements in Lebanon who do not want their territory used again as a base for terrorist activity against Israel.

Shamir said it was in Israel’s interest that Lebanon remains independent and that Gemayel proves to be a stronger President than his predecessors.

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