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Lebanon, Israel may begin pullout talks next week

A senior State Department official said talks may begin this week between Lebanon and Israel, with US participation, on arrangements to open the way for an Israeli troop withdrawal from Lebanon.

The official, speaking on condition that he not be identified, disclosed that special US envoy Morris Draper had been sent to the Middle East to work out details of the talks.

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Israeli officials later voiced surprise over the report, saying there had been no direct contacts with Lebanon on the question.