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U.S. Accuses Libya of Trying to Wreck Chances of Peaceful Solution to Conflict in Lebanon

July 9, 1981
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The Reagan Administration today accused the Libyan regime of Muammar Qaddafi of being the only Arab state that wants to wreck chances of a peaceful solution to the conflict in Lebanon.

“In what can only be seen as an effort to interfere with a reasonable solution to the most recent tragedy in Lebanon, Libya has introduced sophisticated weapons and trained personnel into Lebanon during the highly volatile period of the last few weeks,” Chester Crocker, Assistant Secretary of State for Africa declared.

“Whereas other Arab states have counseled together and with us to seek a peaceful solution, Libyan efforts seem clearly designed to create the opposite outcome in Lebanon,” he said. Crocker made his remarks in the course of testimony before a subcommittee of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on what he said was the “serious concern” of the U.S. over Libya’s “growing intervention” in Africa and elsewhere.


“Under Col. Qaddafi, Libya has adopted a diplomacy of subversion in Africa and the Arab world,” Crocker said. “It is a diplomacy of unprecedented obstruction to our interests and objectives. Qaddafi has tried in every way he could think of to obstruct our efforts to achieve peace in the Middle East. He has sponsored subversion from Africa to the Philippines. He has actively supported international terrorism, using assassination abroad as an instrument of his policy.”

Crocker said that because the Administration realized “the U.S. could no longer carry on ‘business as usual with Qaddafi’s Libya,” it close# the Libyan Peoples Bureau (Embassy) in Washington in May. He said because of Libya’s invasion of Chad, the U.S. has offered military aid to African countries that feel threatened by Libya, particularly Tunisia and Sudan.

Last week, the State Department expressed hope that Qaddafi would not become the next head of the Organization for African Unity (OAU). The OAU’s 1982 meeting will be held in Libya and traditionally, the head of the host government becomes head of the OAU.

Libya’s presence in Lebanon became publicly known in late May when Israeli jets destroyed four SAM-9 anti-aircraft missile batteries guarding a Palestinian terrorist base in Lebanon. It was revealed at the time that the batteries were manned by Libyan troops.

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