Shultz renewed his invitation to the foreign minister of Syria to visit USA

publisher: UPI

Publishing date: 1983-06-17

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Secretary of State George Shultz renewed his invitation to the foreign minister of Syria to visit him but a meeting could not be arranged, a State Department official said Friday.

Abdul Halim Khaddam was asked to come to Washington before Shultz leaves June 23 on a trip to Asia, the official said.

‘The invitation was renewed. It was on short notice,’ the official said, declining to be identified.

‘Because of scheduling difficulties, Khaddam could not accept,’ said the official, who is familiar with the details.

The administration is working to obtain Syrian approval of a troop withdrawal plan from Lebanon. Israel has agreed to pull its forces out of Lebanon on condition that Syria and the Palestine Liberation Organization guerrillas also withdraw.

Syria has condemned the Israeli-Lebanese agreement arranged by Shultz in May as a threat to its security and a sell-out of Arab interests in Lebanon. Syria rejected a request by special Middle East envoy Philip Habib to visit Damascus to discuss its objections to the agreement.

Lebanon’s Foreign Minister Elie Salem visited President Reagan and Shultz last week to discuss the jeopardized troop withdrawal agreement. The short-notice invitation to Khaddam was issued after Salem’s visit, the official said.

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