JERUSALEM (Aug. 21)
A high Egyptian official said today that Israel “is under obligation to withdraw” from Lebanon and that this should take place “in accordance with a timetable,” according to reports reaching here from Cairo.
The official, Egyptian Presidential foreign advisor Osama Baz, said after a 90-minute meeting between Robert McFarlane, President Reagan’s special Middle East envoy, and President Hosni Mubarak that Egypt “would like to strengthen the hands of Lebanon to exercise its sovereignty and we believe that an early withdrawal by Israel followed by other withdrawals (of Syrian and PLO troops) is the best guarantee for the return of normality in that country.” This, he told reporters, has been and will continue to be Egypt’s position.
McFarlane reportedly stated that this is “clearly a central issue as it affects attitudes in Lebanon and affects our ability to achieve a withdrawal of all foreign forces. With this in mind, we have been making very intense efforts in our discussions with Israel in the past 10 days.”
McFarlane added that Israel has reaffirmed “that it certainly intends a full withdrawal from Lebanon.” Both Israel’s Foreign Minister Yitzhak Shamir and Defense Minister Moshe Arens said in Washington when they met with Reagan and other top Administration officials and upon their return to Israel earlier this month that the redeployment of Israeli troops in Lebanon is part of a total withdrawal. Baz, himself, said today that Israeli officials had also told Egypt they were not interested in partitioning Lebanon.
Mubarak, speaking after a meeting with his foreign policy aides, declared that Egypt “prefers Israel to pull out its forces first from Lebanon. We are confident that Syria will then consider the withdrawal of its own troops.”