Europe condemns Israeli invasion

The European Community has ''vigorously condemned'' Israel's invasion of Lebanon and called for the ''immediate and unconditional withdrawal'' of its military forces, says Belgian Foreign Minister Leo Tindemans.

Mr. Tindemans, current EC president, told newsmen June 9 after an emergency meeting of EC foreign ministers here that Israel's invasion was ''a flagrant violation of international law,'' Monitor contributor Gary Yerkey reports.

A two-page statement, released June 10 and endorsed by the ministers, said that, ''should Israel continue to refuse compliance with (the two UN Security Council resolutions adopted recently calling for Israeli withdrawal), the 10 (nations) will examine the possibilities for future action.''

Most analysts consider it unlikely that the EC will agree in the near future to impose sanctions against Israel, noting that the June 9 meeting broke up after five hours of hard argument.

There are strong commercial reasons for the EC to maintain a smiling face toward many of Israel's enemies: Nearly 80 percent of Europe's oil comes from the Middle East and north Africa, and European investments in Arab countries are substantial.

Politically, the EC wants to show evenhandedness in its approach to the Middle East at a time when plans for a ''European peace initiative'' -- essentially an up-date of the June 1980 Venice declaration are being revived.

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