PARIS (Jul. 25)
President Amin Gemayel of Lebanon called today for the United Nations to conduct a referendum in the areas now occupied by Syrian and Israeli troops to determine the attitude of the inhabitants there toward the presence of the troops. Gemayel said he was certain that such a referendum would show that the inhabitants of the areas would support the Lebanese government in its call for the departure of all foreign forces.
Gemayel, who arrived here this morning from Washington where he met with President Reagan and other top Administration officials last week, told a press conference at the Elysee that a referendum is needed “to make the nation’s voice heard.” He said that “in the occupied area, liberty and democracy are suppressed and the nation’s voice is gagged.”
He said the Lebanese army is ready to assume its responsibilities throughout the country. The army, Gemayel said, will enter the Shouf mountains region, where Druze and Christian Phalangists have been fighting for the last few weeks, as soon as the Israeli forces leave that area.
Gemayel met with President Francois Mitterrand earlier in the day. They reportedly discussed the possibility of having France participate in a peace-keeping mission in the Shouf mountains. Mitterrand, French sources reported, said the 2,000 French paratroopers now serving with the multinational force could be redeployed to the Shouf area only after the local warring factions–the Druze and the Christians — agree to support the central Lebanese government’s request for the presence of French troops.
The sources also said that before the Mitterrand government commits itself to such a move, it would seek the support of the other three countries participating in the multinational force: the United States, Italy and Britain.