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Ronald Reagan Administration: Exchange with Reporters on the Situation in Lebanon

(September 1, 1982)

Q. Mr. President, what about the fighting in Israel? We've heard so much about the fighting in Israel. They have a cease-fire now, but there was terrible fighting over the weekend.

The President. Yes, and I've been in touch with our Ambassador all the time that I've been gone. And a resolution, as you know, has been adopted in the United Nations, which we supported, calling for a cease-fire that will stay. And I think it is absolutely imperative that this cease-fire, at this stage of the negotiations, must not be violated by anyone.

Q. Foreign Minister Shamir said that there was something happening in the negotiations, that we were close to a breakthrough. Are we?

The President. Well as I say, you know I don't comment on those things, only to say I think it's imperative that this cease-fire not be violated.

Q. Tomorrow, when you see Foreign Minister Shamir, is it time to get tough with Israel on breaking cease-fires?

The President. Let me say I'll be firm as I've just been here. Yes, this must be resolved, and the bloodshed must stop.

Q. Are you going to be tough with Shamir tomorrow? Is it time to get tough with Israel?

The President. If I answered it that way you'd say, ``The President says he's going to get tough.''

Q. I can say that?

The President. No. You can just say that we're going to have a very serious discussion, and I think they will understand exactly how we feel about this.

Q. Are you losing patience? Are you frustrated?

The President. I lost patience a long time ago.

Q. Must the PLO leave Lebanon, or just Beirut?

The President. I don't think there will really be a solution or the other forces leave Lebanon until the PLO does.

Q. They must leave Lebanon?

The President. Leave Lebanon, yes.

Q. [Inaudible] -- think you're close to it?

The President. I said before that there have been times when there has been reason for optimism, and I almost feel as if I might jinx things if I gave any expression of that. But there has been progress made.

Q. Thank you.

Note: The exchange began at 4 p.m. at the South Portico of the White House as the President was returning from Camp David, Md.

Sources: Public Papers of the President