Gemayel turns from US to 'Arab option'
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That would not only lead to a stalemate, and de facto partitioning of Lebanon , but could also affect formation of a new cabinet to replace the government that resigned more than three weeks ago.Skip to next paragraph
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Former President Camille Chamoun, leader of the Christian National Liberal Party, again warned Gemayel of a boycott by Christian dissidents unless he wins a disengagement agreement from Damascus.
The strength of the Christian fear was evident Tuesday at a rally of some 8, 000 Christians in Jezzin, who demanded closer ties with Israel. Large banners declared, ''Yes to Israel, yes to peace. We reject the Syrian presence in Lebanon.''
Although the Phalange Party, headed by President Gemayel's father Pierre, and the influential ''Maronite monastic order'' have both said over the past week that they would support any decision taken by the President, Christian dissidents are still strong enough to play a spoiler role.
Fady Frem, commander of the increasingly independent Phalangist ''Lebanese Forces'' militia, has already defied the party hierarchy. Over the weekend he said, ''We are opposed to cancellation of the accord because this would mean submission to Syrian control.'' He has also threatened to take military action if Lebanon abandons its Israeli ties.
Another point of concern for Gemayel is whether the Damascus trip and the cancellation of the May 17 accord will be sufficient to end calls by Druze and Shiite Muslim factions for his resignation. He will need maximum Syrian support to wield leverage over the opposition to abandon that condition so they will attend a resumption of reconciliation talks in Geneva.
Opposition forces were euphoric Wednesday when the Druze ''Voice of the Mountain'' radio station editorialized about the President's trip:
''It will be a major victory for Lebanese nationalists and Syria, which defied the American-Israeli-Phalangist policy and toppled it, providing with its allies in the Lebanese opposition that Lebanon cannot but be Arab.'' The May 1983 Israeli-Lebanese accord
Essence: Calls for Israel to withdraw troops from southern Lebanon and allows Israel to continue policing the area. The accord is a step less than a full treaty. Accord goes into effect only after Israelis withdraw.
When and where: Signed May 17, 1983, at ceremonies in Khalde, Lebanon, and Kiryat Shemona, Israel.
Terms of agreement:
* Pledge to ''live in peace with each other'' and to ''declare the termination of the state of war between them.''
* Establishment of security zone in southern Lebanon, patrolled by at most eight Lebanese-Israeli teams and two Lebanese Army brigades.
* Establishment of liaison offices in each country, if desired. While agreement does not establish diplomatic relations, such offices could be seen as embryos for embassies.
* Start-up of negotiations within six months after Israeli troop pullout. Normalizing movement of goods and people across the frontier.
Conditions for Israeli troop withdrawal:
* Stated under an accompanying understanding, if Syria and the PLO do not agree to pull troops out of the east and north of Lebanon, Israel will not be obligated to withdraw. The PLO is largely out of Lebanon, but Syria has rejected the agreement.
* Return of all Israeli prisoners of war and an accounting of Israelis missing in action.
* Secretary of State Shultz was a principal architect of the accord.
* US envoy Morris Draper participated in negotiations and signed accord as a witness.
* US to participate in Joint Liaison Committee to oversee carrying out the agreement.