TEL AVIV (Jun. 10)
Premier Yitzhak Shamir has proposed that troops of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) be deployed as a buffer between the Israel Defense Force and the Syrian army in the Bekaa valley of eastern Lebanon. But UN Secretary General Javier Perez de Cuellar, who was in Lebanon today on his Middle East tour, and will be in Israel tomorrow, doesn’t think much of that idea.
Shamir said on an Israel Radio interview yesterday that he would offer his suggestion to de Cuellar when they meet. He maintained that UNIFIL, while not effective in preventing terrorist infiltrators from attacking Israeli border towns from Lebanon, could be employed as an international force separating two regular armies.
Perez de Cuellar told an Israel Radio reporter in south Lebanon today that UNIFIL could not be deployed in the manner proposed by Shamir. He suggested instead that the UN troops take up positions to be evacuated by Israeli forces in south Lebanon. Israel is not , at the moment, contemplating further withdrawals in south Lebanon. The UN Secretary General said UNIFIL could be enlarged only if the contributing countries increase the size of their contingents.
NO GREAT EXPECTATIONS FOR UN
Shamir said he did not have any great expectations on the UN role in the Middle East or the world at large, considering its record. But he promised that Israel would make the most of de Cuellar’s visit which is his first to the region since taking office.
Shamir also expressed hope that the Lebanese government will not demand that Israel close its liaison office, which is located in a Beirut suburb. He said the office could be helpful in negotiations for withdrawal of the IDF from south Lebanon and if it is forced to close, those negotiations only would be postponed.
Five attacks were launched on the IDF in south Lebanon over the weekend without causing casualties. An Israeli military spokesman said the attacks were with small arms and rocket-propelled grenades.