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Ronald Reagan Administration: Press Conference on the Situation in Lebanon

(September 29, 1982)

Q. Mr. President, can we ask, did you mean to say last night that the troops will stay in until the Syrians and the Israelis leave? There's been some confusion at the Pentagon.

The President. No.

Q. You meant to say that?

The President. No, what I said was that we expected that to take place soon, but that the determination of when we leave will be the Government of Lebanon — when they feel that they are in charge and can provide for their own security, they will ask us to leave. What I did say was that, based on the assertions of both Israel and Syria and the statements of the Arab allies, that I expect the departure of those other forces to take place probably sooner than Lebanon would be ready for us to.

Q. So, we're going to wait till the Lebanese Government asks us to remove our troops? That will be the -- --

The President. What?

Q. We're going to wait until the Government of Lebanon asks us to remove our troops?

The President. They will approve that when they're ready to, when they assume the command.

Q. We're going to wait until they ask us to remove the troops before the marines come out?

The President. Well, yes. I think that — they asked us in.

Q. And it'll be after the withdrawal of the other forces?

The President. Well, as I say, my assertion was my expectation that the withdrawal would be coming promptly. I'm not tying that to what Lebanon may decide, but I said that because they've all stated that they want to withdraw, then I expect that withdrawal to take place rather soon.

Sources: Public Papers of the President