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Shultz: Arab Willingness to Give Funds to Rebuild Lebanon May Depend on Withdrawal of All Foreign Tr

February 16, 1983
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Secretary of State George Shultz suggested today the willingness of Arab countries to provide funds to help rebuild Lebanon may depend on the successful withdrawal of Syrian, Israeli and Palestine Liberation Organization forces.

The question of whether Arab countries, Saudi Arabia, in particular, will provide funds “will depend on how successful we are in our efforts to get foreign forces out of Lebanon and to have an independent Lebanon emerge,” Shultz told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

“At this point we are not there yet,” Shultz added. He noted that “people who are thinking about putting money in there are waiting to see what happens.” Shultz’s comments were made in response to a question from Sen. Larry Pressler (R. S.D.) who wondered whether the loss in oil revenue because of the cut in production and drop in oil prices might affect the Saudis’ ability to help Lebanon financially.

Shultz replied that while the Saudis suffered “the latest blow” as the largest oil producer in the world, “they are not broke by a long shot.” He said Saudi assets are “so large” they can fulfill any commitments.

Shultz testified before the committee on the general international economic situation and did not discuss foreign aid specifically, a subject on which he will testify before the House Foreign Affairs Committee tomorrow.


But when Pressler asked why the foreign aid grant to Israel in the proposed 1984 budget was reduced from this year’s amount, the Secretary replied that the Reagan Administration sought “a balanced program,” trying to provide for the needs of Israel as well as that of other countries. He noted that Israel’s “overall share is very large” and that the amount recommended was what President Reagan felt was the “appropriate number.”

The Administration is asking Congress to provide Israel $2.485 billion in the 1984 fiscal year, of which $550 million of the $1.7 billion in military aid and all of the $785 million in economic aid would be a grant. Congress this year approved $850 million as a grant in military aid over the Administration’s objections.

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