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U.S. Department of State
96/10/17 Remarks with Lebanese Prime Minister Hariri
Office of the Spokesman

                       U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
                       Office of the Spokesman

For Immediate Release                           October 17, 1996

                              REMARKS BY
                        PRIOR TO THEIR MEETING

                         Department of State
                          Washington, D.C.
                          October 17, 1996

SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  Good afternoon.  I am very pleased to welcome 
Prime Minister Hariri to Washington.  I have worked very closely with 
the Prime Minister.  I know how highly valued he is as a partner in our 
search for a comprehensive peace in the Middle East and of course, how 
useful he is in the reconstruction of his country.  In addition to our 
meeting today, the Prime Minister will be meeting with President Clinton 
at the White House tomorrow.  I know that will be a high point in his 
visit here.

Lebanon's continuing recovery is one of the many hopeful things that has 
taken place in the Middle East during the last several years.  One of 
the things that we will be discussing today is the five-party monitoring 
group that was established in the wake of last April's crisis in 
southern Lebanon.  I want to pay tribute to the Prime Minister for his 
role in working with me to set up that monitoring group.

I will use this occasion to reiterate United States' support for the 
sovereignty and territorial integrity of Lebanon, and for our position 
that there should be a withdrawal of all foreign forces from Lebanon.  
We are going to be pressing ahead in our search for a comprehensive 

We'll also be discussing today the program for Lebanon's reconstruction.  
The United States is one of the driving forces in assembling what we 
call "The Friends of Lebanon," a very important international effort to 
contribute to the rebuilding process in Lebanon.

Finally, we're going to be discussing our increasing contacts between 
our two governments and the growth of commercial ties.  We'll be talking 
about the security of Lebanon, particularly as it affects our travel 
restrictions.  I think you all know that we are anxious to remove those 
remaining travel restrictions just as soon as security conditions will 
permit us to do so.  As I have in the past in connection with these 
restrictions, I'll be consulting closely with the members of Congress 
who are particularly interested in Lebanon.

Mr. Prime Minister it's nice to see you here in Washington.

PRIME MINISTER HARIRI:  Thank you, thank you very much.

SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  You're welcome to say a few words if you would.

PRIME MINISTER HARIRI:  Thank you Mr. Secretary.  I am very pleased to 
come here and to meet with you.  We have worked, as you have just 
mentioned, together during several occasions, and our cooperation was 
successful.  We have participated in making things happen.  I hope that 
the United States will help Lebanon in the reconstruction and also to 
find peace in our region and to liberate our territory.  We hope that 
our meeting will be fruitful, and I'm sure that as you have done always, 
you will put the effort necessary to help my country in finding itself 
again and participate in the peace in the Middle East.  Thank you.

QUESTION:  Mr. Secretary, Mr. Minister with the usual apologies of 
switching the subject, but I'm sure you understand why.  In the U.S. 
assessment, was Mr. Lebed posing any sort of an internal challenge to 
Mr. Yeltsin who had, obviously, unstinting U.S. support?

SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  I'm not going to comment in any way on the 
action taken by President Yeltsin today in Moscow.  That's an internal 
Russian matter.  I will say that matters are going forward in the 
customary way between the United States and Russia.  My colleague, 
Secretary Perry, is in Moscow today and he's had good meetings with his 
opposite number and with the Prime Minister.  So, the relationship 
between the United States and Russia is a stable one, and moving forward 
in a routine way.

QUESTION:  Mr. Secretary, Lebanon is interested in lethal military aid, 
helicopters, armored personnel carriers, P-3 observation aircraft.  Is 
it premature for the United States to grant those requests?

SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  I'm not going to get into any particular kind of 
equipment, but the United States wants to cooperate with the government 
of Lebanon in reinforcing its armed forces and making available more 
appropriate excess defense articles.  We are anxious to assist the 
government of Lebanon in that respect.  As I said, I'm not going to get 
into any specific items of equipment.  That's a question better 
addressed to Secretary Perry or someone at the Pentagon.

QUESTION:  Mr. Secretary, what about the American ban concerning 


SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  Travel ban?  We have eased the restrictions 
somewhat, as you know, but the travel ban does remain in effect.  As I 
said in my remarks, we would like to remove that travel ban just as soon 
as security conditions permit.  We have the matter under regular 
periodic review -- it's one of the things that I'll be discussing with 
the Prime Minister.  As I say, we are very hopeful that that can be 
removed at sometime in the future.   But it really depends upon a very 
careful appraisal of the security situation, because above all things, 
we need to be prudent in this matter.

QUESTION:  Mr. Secretary, the Lebanese government maintains that 
security has been improved in the country.  And your people in Beirut 
confirmed that too.  What is required that the Lebanese government 
specifically to do, because you keep reviewing the ban every six months.  
What is required that the Lebanese government to do specifically for you 
either to lift the ban or to reduce it to travel advisory?

SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  We'll have to examine the situation -- we have 
responsibilities to American citizens traveling there.  We have a 
responsibility not to create a situation that could set back the very 
positive course that American-Lebanese relations are on.  I can't 
prescribe a particular set of steps that would make that possible, 
except to say that the United States hopes we can do that -- hope that 
we can lift that travel ban and change it to an advisory.  But we'll 
only do that at a time we feel that American citizens will not be in 
jeopardy when they go there.  We review this just as conscientiously as 
we can, having in mind some of the past history, and some of the fact 
that the United States plays a particular role in that region.  Thank 
you very much.

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