JERUSALEM (Nov. 3)
Undersecretary of State Lawrence Eagleburger has concluded talks here with top Israeli officials on closer political and strategic coordination between Israel and the U.S. and apparently the talks went well.
Israeli sources disclosed last night that a high level Israeli ministerial delegation will visit Washington in “the next couple of weeks.” They did not say who would comprise the delegation but it may include Premier Yitzhak Shamir. Shamir told a visiting group of Israel Bond leaders here last week that he hoped to confer with President Reagan in the not too distant future.
The sources characterized the talks with Eagleburger as good and thorough and focussed mainly on Lebanon. Eagleburger, who is Undersecretary for Political Affairs and the third ranking diplomat at the State Department, said the U.S. believes Syria eventually will agree to an arrangement that will preserve Lebanon’s sovereignty and integrity. He said the U.S. was doing everything in its power to make the current conference in Geneva on Lebanese national reconciliation a success.
SEES CHANGES IN SYRIA’S ATTITUDE
According to Eagleburger, Syria’s attitude toward the Lebanese cease-fire has changed of late from outright rejection to a growing recognition that the multi-national force in Beirut and the Lebanese government intend to stand firm and defend it.
He insisted, however, that this assessment does not contradict Washington’s deep suspicion that Syria, or certain Syrian officials, knew in advance of the terrorist bomb attack on U.S. marine headquarters in Beirut October 23 which took the lives of 230 American servicemen and wounded scores more.
Eagleburger said the U.S. was still examining the evidence and had very persuasive proof that Iranians were involved in the attacks on the U.S. and French military headquarters. But he would not say whether the Iranians were agents of that country or irregulars.
Other U.S. sources here noted that President Reagan’s pledge to punish those responsible for the outrage was “a matter of record” and that if Eagleburger’s visit to Israel impressed the guilty with fear that the U.S. and Israel were jointly planning retribution, then so be it.
The sources asserted, however, that the U.S. will in no way seek Israeli help or involvement in any punitive measures it might contemplate. “This is our business,” the sources said.
AFFIRMS U.S. SUPPORT FOR MAY 17 ACCORD
Eagleburger strongly affirmed American support for the May 17 withdrawal and security agreement between Israel and Lebanon in his talks with Shamir and top Foreign Ministry officials here. Israel had expressed concern that Lebanon might surrender to Syrian pressure to renounce the accord.
It seemed clear, however, that Israel and the U.S. do not see eye-to-eye on all aspects of Lebanon policy, though American differences with Syria are much wider at this point. Eagleburger would not be drawn into specifics on that subject.