US extends cluster-bomb ban
Washington; Khartoum, Sudan; Amman, Jordan; Jerusalem
President Reagan is extending indefinitely a week-old suspension on delivery of cluster bomb ammunition to Israel, the State Department said.
The suspension was imposed last week while the administration considered whether Israel's use of cluster bombs in Lebanon violated a secret US-Israeli agreement governing use of American-supplied weapons. The latest action was said to be the result of a policy decision and did not represent a finding that Israel had violated the agreement. The suspension involves 4,000 155-mm shells that explode into tiny ''bomblets.''
Also Tuesday, the Sudan and Jordan offered their countries as refuge for Palestinian guerrillas trapped in west Beirut. Sudanese President Jaafar al-Nimeiri offered his country as a base for militant action in Africa, the official Sudan news agency Suna said. President Nimeiri is the first Arab leader to announce his readiness to accept the Palestinians without any conditions. Jordan is willing to receive Palestinian guerrillas trapped in west Beirut who have a Jordanian passport and no security record there, informed Jordanian sources said. Unofficial estimates put the number of guerrillas with Jordanian passports at roughly 2,000. The others, about 4,000, hold Palestinian identity cards and Syrian and other passports.
At this writing, there was no official response from the Palestine Liberation Organization, but sources in Beirut said it would probably not take up the offer. ''Nimeiri is only serving his American masters who want to liquidate the Palestinians,'' one PLO source said, adding: ''Nimeiri's offer is rejected.''
US envoy Philip Habib arrived in Israel Tuesday to conduct increasingly desperate negotiations to get Palestinian guerrillas to leave the besieged Lebanese capital. Mr. Habib met Prime Minster Menachem Begin and Foreign Minister Yitzhak Shamir. Israeli officials said they maintained ''a skeptical if not pessimistic view'' of Habib's chances of finding a solution.