Visit by Soviets indicates new interest in Lebanon
A Soviet delegation met Lebanese Foreign Minister Elie Salem Monday on a visit that appears to suggest a new Soviet interest in Lebanon. Soviet sources said the delegation had met a number of politicians, including Druze chieftain Walid Jumblatt, Shiite leader Nabih Berri, and Lebanese Communist Party officials. In addition, Prime Minister Shafik Wazzan held talks Sunday with Soviet Ambassador Alexander Soldatov.
Karen Brutens, the leader of the Soviet delegation, said the Soviet Union had thought it impossible to reconcile Lebanon's warring factions. But after Lebanon scrapped its May 1983 troop withdrawal accord with Israel, and US and other Western troops withdrew from Beirut, ''We believe a very big barrier has been removed from the way of achieving national reconciliation.''