TEL AVIV (Dec. 11)
Defense Minister Yitzhak Rabin indicated today that Israel is looking to the United States to break the deadlock in its withdrawal and security negotiations with Lebanon.
Rabin, touring military installations in northem Israel, told reporters Israel has full confidence in the United States and in Assistant Secretary of State Richard Murphy, presently in the region, to bridge the gap between the Israeli and Lebanese negotiating teams which have been meeting at Nakura for the past two months, with no agreement yet in sight.
Murphy, who confered with Israeli leaders over the weekend, is presently visiting Beirut and Damascus and is expected back in Jerusalem. Rabin said he hoped that Murphy’s reports from the two Arab capitals will serve as a basis for Israel to formulate its positions and its next moves when the talks at Nakura resume in the first week of January.
The talks will recess for the Christmas-New Year period, beginning December 20. Rabin said Israel agreed to the two-week adjournment at the request of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) whose headquarters at Nakura provide the venue for the talks.
The purpose is to allow UNIFIL soldiers who stand guard at the meetings to go on leave for the holidays. It was reported earlier that the Lebanese delegation had requested the Christmas break.