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Ceausescu Says War in Lebanon Failed to Solve Problems but Created More Complicated Ones

The war in Lebanon was a grave mistake because it did not solve the problems it set out to solve, but rather created more difficult and complicated problems, President Nicolae Ceausescu told Victor Shemtov, secretary general of Mapam, at a recent meeting before Foreign Minister Yitzhak Shamir met with Ceausescu last week. Details of the Ceausescu-Shemtov meeting were published in today’s Yediot Aharanot.

The Rumanian President told the Mapam leader during their meeting at Ceausescu’s summer residence near the Black Sea: “The Lebanon war altered the peace process which began with the peace agreement between Israel and Egypt and led it to a dead end. It created new dangers of a military deterioration in the Middle East, and strengthened the extremist elements in the Arab world.”

Ceausescu said that Israel must realize that time is working against her, and that whatever is not achieved now might not be achieved at a later date. He called for a total Israeli withdrawal from all Lebanese territory, because Israel’s presence in that country was accomplished by an invasion. The Rumanian leader added that Israel could create the conditions which would enable the Lebanese people to attain full independence and sovereignty.

According to Yediot, Shemtov responded that Lebanon’s full independence and sovereignty could not be assured without the withdrawal of all foreign forces, including those of Syria and the Palestine Liberation Organization.

SAYS ISRAEL MUST TALK TO THE PLO

Ceausescu reiterated Rumania’s view that Israel must negotiate directly with the PLO because it was the sole representative of the Palestinian people. In addition, he said, Israel should withdraw to its pre-1967 borders and allow the creation of a Palestinian state.

Shemtov, Yediot reported, replied that such a stand was a prescription for a political dead end. He said no Israeli government would agree to withdraw to the 1967 borders. The only way to solve the conflict was by direct negotiations without preconditions with Jordan and Palestinian representatives who recognize Israel and renounce terror, Shemtov said.

Ceausescu also stated that no peaceful settlement was possible without the participation of the Soviet Union. Shemtov said, in reply, that the Soviet’s attitude toward Israel was hostile and one-sided, which prevented it from contributing to the peace process. He said he did not believe in either a Pax American nor in a Pax Sovietica.

Shemtov was invited to Rumania as guest of Ceausescu, who is also the secretary general of the Communist Party.

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