WASHINGTON (Dec. 15)
The United States praised Israel today for devising the plan that enabled the evacuation to begin today of some 2, 000 Lebanese Christian militiamen who had been under siege in the Shouf mountains town of Deir AlKamar for three months.
“The Israelis were instrumental in developing the evacuation plan and in negotiating the agreement on its implementation,” State Department spokesman John Hughes said.
He said the evacuation was the result of the combined efforts of the government of Lebanon, the Christian and Druze communities in Lebanon, Israel and the U.S. as well as the International Red Cross. He said the success in working together in this effort could serve as “a model for further progress in the reconciliation process in Lebanon. “
Hughes noted that the Israeli army provided the trucks that transported the Lebanese forces from the village. In addition, he noted, the “temporary presence” of the Israeli army helped to “assure the safety” of the residents of the town located in the Druze-controlled area of the mountains.