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Secretary of State George Shultz said in an interview...

LONDON -- Secretary of State George Shultz said in an interview broadcast Monday that U.S. forces will continue firing to defend themselves if shot at in Lebanon, but said Washington does not seek a 'military solution.'

'It is good for people to know that if they shoot at you that you are going to defend yourself,' Shultz said in an interview with the British Broadcasting Corp.

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Shultz said American forces had been flying reconnaissance flights over Lebanon since September at the request of the Lebanese government without being fired upon.

'All of a sudden they are fired upon so we fired back at the emplacements that fired upon us,' he said, referring to the Syrian anti-aircraft batteries attacked by U.S. planes Sunday.

But he said U.S. retaliatory action had not been directed against 'any particular country, person or factional group. It was directed at what fired against us.'

Shultz said the United States had spoken to Syria 'several times during the past 24 hours' and explained its actions. U.S. officials also asked that 'our captured pilot be treated properly and returned to us promptly,' he said.

He stressed that the United States was seeking a negotiated solution to the problems in Lebanon, saying 'we are believers in talking and trying to work problems out.'

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Discounting an enlargement of the four-nation multinational peace-keeping force in Lebanon, Shultz said, 'we don't think there is a military solution to the problem. It's something that needs negotiation and that is what we are trying to engage in.'

Shultz noted that Syria's 'aggressiveness' coincided with a 'large Soviet build-up in Syria.' But the secretary said, 'in fact, it is my impression that on the whole the Soviets would prefer not to see the Syrians doing what they are doing in Lebanon.'

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