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Soviets now back increase in UN troops in Lebanon

The Soviet Union, reversing a previous stand, now supports Lebanese efforts to increase the number of UN troops in southern Lebanon and expand their mission , government sources said Tuesday. The Soviet acceptance was conveyed to Nabih Berri, minister of state for southern Lebanon and justice minister, during his recent visit to Moscow. Mr. Berri returned to Beirut Monday.

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The Soviet Union had opposed any change in the size or mission of the 6,000 -man UN interim force, which is now limited to maintaining a ''buffer zone'' along the Israeli border. Its shift apparently reflects reemergent law and order in Lebanon and the rise of Soviet-backed Syria as a major force in the country.

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