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Ronald Reagan Administration: Remarks in New Jersey on the Situation in Lebanon

(September 17, 1982)

We want Lebanon -- after all these years of disruption and warlords, each one with his own militia fighting each other in that country -- now that the PLO has been moved out, we want to see all foreign forces removed and see Lebanon go forward with a government and once again be in control of its own destiny.

And I'm sure that that's what Israel wants, also. It is true that what led them to move back in was the attack -- after the assassination on the elected President there -- the attack on his forces by some of the leftist militia that are still there in west Beirut.

But I think that the Lebanese Army of the government, which is the official government, will move in and take over those positions held by the Israelis. I think they'll withdraw. And we hope it will be very soon, because we've made great progress since my speech the other night about a plan for the Middle East, great progress with the moderate Arab States, and I think that we're on the way with hope for a solid peace in the Middle East.

And at the same time, let me say one thing: At the same time I say all of that, and even though we're at this moment urging Israel to move, that doesn't mean that we've moved one step away from our moral obligation to the preservation of Israel as a sovereign state.

Sources: Public Papers of the President