U.n., U.S. Officials Criticize Israeli Operation in Lebanon
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U.n., U.S. Officials Criticize Israeli Operation in Lebanon

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United Nations Secretary General Javier Perez de Cuellar deplored Israel’s incursion into southern Lebanon, declaring Tuesday that it is a “further violation of Lebanon’s sovereignty.”

In Washington, the State Department and White House both deplored Israel’s re-entry into southern Lebanon, but also criticized the presence of other foreign troops there.

In a statement issued through his spokesman, the secretary general said he “remained convinced that peace and security along the Lebanese-Israeli border, including an end to cross-border attacks in both directions, can only be attained through the full implementation of Security Council Resolution 425 (of 1978), which calls for withdrawal of Israeli forces from all Lebanese territory.”

The secretary general acknowledged that he has received a letter from the permanent representative of Lebanon to the United Nations, Ambassador M.M. Rachid Fakhoury, about the Israeli invasion. Perez de Cuellar stated that he has frequently voiced his opposition to any acts that increased tension and violence in the area.

But as of midday Tuesday, Lebanon had not made any official complaint to the Security Council nor had it asked for a meeting to debate the situation.

However, diplomats here said Tuesday that it was likely Lebanon would ask for a Security Council meeting in the next few days, when more information is available about the scope of the Israeli incursion.


In Washington, State Department spokesman Charles Redman said, “We have consistently supported Lebanon’s unity, sovereignty and independence (as well as) the withdrawal of all foreign forces from Lebanon and the extension of central government authority throughout the country.”

“This incursion and the recent infiltrations into northern Israel that preceded it do not advance that goal,” he said. “We have long believed that agreed-on security arrangements would be the best means of assuring stability and security for the people of southern Lebanon and northern Israel,” Redman said.

White House spokesman Marlin Fitzwater specifically acknowledged the presence of Syrian and Palestine Liberation Organization forces in Lebanon, as well as Israeli troops, and said all of them should be removed.

Redman said the State Department had “no advance word” of the action, but Fitzwater said the Reagan administration learned of military movements along the Israeli-Lebanese border “days ago.” Fitzwater said, though, that no such indications were received Monday, the day Israel invaded Lebanon.

At the State Department, Redman brushed aside questions about the possible use of U.S. made weapons by the Israelis, and said it was hypothetical to speculate whether such actions would be in keeping with U.S. law. “I don’t have any indication, for example, on the use of American equipment, to start with,” he said.

Redman said Israel’s action would not be a “determining factor” that could lead Secretary of State George Shultz to return once again to the Middle East. He explained that Shultz’s chief concern is to advance the Arab-Israeli peace process.

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