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Ronald Reagan Administration: Statement Criticizing Israeli Shelling of Beirut

(August 4, 1982)

Last night Israeli forces moved forward on several fronts from their cease-fire lines around Beirut. These movements were accompanied by heavy Israeli shelling and came only a day after I had made clear to the Israeli Government, in my meeting with Foreign Minister Shamir, that the United States placed great importance on the sustained maintenance of a cease-fire in place -- to avoid further civilian casualties and to secure the prompt withdrawal of the PLO forces in Beirut.

This is a necessary first step toward our goal of restoring the authority of the Government of Lebanon, a goal Ambassador Habib is earnestly working toward with the full cooperation of the Government of Lebanon.

Through governments which have direct contact with the PLO, I have expressed my strong conviction that the PLO must not delay further its withdrawal from Lebanon. At the same time I have expressed to the Government of Israel the absolute necessity of reestablishing and maintaining a strict cease-fire in place so that this matter can be promptly resolved.

Sources: Public Papers of the President