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Israel Warns It May Not Resume Talks with Lebanon After the X-mas Recess

Israel warned today that it may not resume the military withdrawal talks with Lebanon after the two week Christmas recess which began today.

Gen. Amos Gilboa, head of the Israeli negotiating team, spoke after the two sides held their 12th session at Nakura with no progress in sight. The talks are scheduled to resume on January 7, 1985. But Gilboa stated that unless there is a positive reply from the Lebanese to Israel’s proposals “the government of Israel will find itself obliged to consider whether there will be any further purpose in continuation of the talks at Nakura.”

Israel insists that the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) patrol the region between the Zaharani and Awali rivers in south Lebanon, presently occupied by the IDF, after the IDF withdraws. It also demands that the zone immediately north of Israel’s border be policed by the South Lebanon Army (SLA). The Lebanese refuse to recognize the SLA which they contend is a puppet of Israel and also claim that the Lebanese regular army is capable of maintaining security in all of south Lebanon.

Most observers here believe that Lebanon’s response to Israel’s terms will be determined not in Beirut but by Syria’s leaders in Damascus.

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