Lebanese President Amin Gemayel called today for reforms in the nonaligned nations movement so that its resolutions would address the practical needs of member countries.
Gemayel, meeting with foreign journalists here covering the movement's seventh summit meeting, said the resolutions presented to the conference "are not resolutions which will have an immediate effect or a practical result." He called specifically for "more influential and practical" proposals for peace in the Middle East.
Gemayel said he had met with Palestine Liberation Organization Chairman Yasser Arafat and Syrian President Hafez Assad and had secured from both of them assurances that PLO forces and Syrian troops would be withdrawn from Lebanon as soon as Israel announces its withdrawal of forces.
Lebanese Foreign Minister Elie Salem said, "The PLO told us they will leave whenever they are required to leave by the Lebanese government, in the context of a higher plan." The higher plan was intrepreted as being an Israeli withdrawal.
The working draft of the summit's declaration on the Middle East, which previously made no explicit mention of U.S. support of Israel, has been toughened and now links U.S. military and political backing of Israel to the invasion of Lebanon, conference sources said.
A member of the PLO's executive committee said he was pleased with the new language. "We got most of what we wanted put in. It's better than the Indian draft," he said, referring to an earlier draft circulated to delegates last month after Indian diplomats held consultations in more than 40 capitals of Nonaligned Movement member nations.
Nonaligned sources representing various regional interests said today that other sections of the working draft of the summit's declarations had undergone changes at the expense of the United States, which in the original document had been explicitly mentioned only twice.
One of the references had been to U.S. intervention in Central America and the other was an innocuous reference to the Panama Canal Zone.
The new draft includes more detailed references to U.S. military support in El Salvador and alleged U.S. obstacles to Puerto Rican independence.
A U.S. diplomat monitoring the summit conference called the still uncompleted revised draft declaration a "mixed bag," but added, "There is still some reason to think that moderate elements are attempting to restore some balance."