Habib returns to Mideast with new withdrawal plan

US special envoy Philip Habib will return to the Middle East this week with a new proposal to break the deadlocked negotiations on the withdrawal of foreign troops from Lebanon, US officials said Sunday.

According to officials traveling with Secretary of State George Shultz through Western Europe, the plan calls for Mr. Habib and envoy Morris Draper to shuttle between Jerusalem and Beirut instead of bringing the Israelis and Lebanese together for face-to-face negotiations.

In Jerusalem, Deputy Foreign Minister Yehuda Ben Meir spurned the idea and said Israel insists on direct negotiations in Jerusalem and Beirut.

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