TEL AVIV (Sep. 23)
Deputy Premier Yitzhak Shamir said today that the government has yet to decide whether to ask the United States to act as a mediator between Israel and Syria for the withdrawal of Israeli troops from south Lebanon. He ruled out entirely United Nations mediation, contending that the UN lacks the capacity to fill such a role.
Shamir, who is also Foreign Minister, made his remarks before leaving for New York today to head the Israeli delegation at the 39th session of the UN General Assembly which opened last week. (Shamir arrived in New York this afternoon. See separate story.)
Media reports published abroad today claimed that Shamir had said in an interview in Jerusalem last Friday that the government intends to ask for U.S. mediation between Israel and Syria and that Israel will no longer insist that the withdrawal of Syrian forces from Lebanon must be simultaneous with the departure of the Israel Defense Force.
He was quoted as saying that Israel wants all foreign forces out of Lebanon but is prepared to negotiate the timing and method of withdrawal. Shamir said before his departure today that he was confident Arab attempts to oust Israel from the UN will fail once again.
“I think their efforts will fail again, as they have in the past,” he told reporters at Ben Gurion Airport. “I hope there will be a big majority in the UN to reject any such moves.”