Foreign Minister Fuad Butros said yesterday that the United States cannot ease the Lebanese crisis with makeshift proposals that avoid the Palestinian problem and exclude the Soviet Union.
Butros spoke in an interview as special U.S. envoy Philip Habib prepared for a new trip through the Middle East to put in motion renewed American efforts to contain the Iran-Iraq war, revive the West Bank autonomy talks and halt the bloodshed.
Although he expressed satisfaction that Lebanon's problems were noted publicly last week by Secretary of State Alexander M. Haig Jr., Butros also underlined the deep skepticism here that has greeted Haig's pledge to intensify U.S. diplomacy.
Such doubts were increased by reports over the weekend that Habib will concentrate on trying to arrange contacts aimed at a pullback of Palestinian artillery from the Israeli border, partial withdrawal of Syrian peace-keeping forces and reduction of Israeli overflights and military presence in southern Lebanon.
U.S. determination to stick to the Camp David formula for Palestinian autonomy on the West Bank, coupled with the administration's desire to eclipse the Soviet Union in Middle East peace-making, make the prospect of significant change now extremely remote, Butros said.
Lebanese security forces said at least six people were killed and 30 injured when rival armed groups fought pitched battles in a crowded residential area of Beirut. They said the fighting involved the Shiite Moslem organization Amal, which supports the revolution in Iran, and the Lebanese branch of the Iraqi Baath Party.