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The Cairo agreement or Cairo accord was an agreement reached on 2 November 1969 during talks between Yassir Arafat and the Lebanese army commander General Emile Bustani.[1] Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser helped to broker the deal.[2]



Although the text of the agreement was never published, an unofficial (but probably accurate) text appeared in the Lebanese daily newspaper An-Nahar on 20 April 1970.[1] The agreement established principles under which the presence and activities of Palestinian guerrillas in southeast Lebanon would be tolerated and regulated by the Lebanese authorities.[1][3]

Under the agreement the 16 official UNRWA camps in Lebanon - home to 300,000 Palestinian refugees - were removed from the stern jurisdiction of the Lebanese army's Deuxième Bureau and placed under the authority of the Palestinian Armed Struggle Command.[4] Although the camps remained under Lebanese sovereignty the new arrangements meant that, after 1969, they became a key popular base for the guerrilla movement.[4][5]

The agreement also established the right of the Palestinian residents of Lebanon "to join the Palestinian revolution through armed struggle".[6] In addition, it allowed the Palestinians to legally control their refugee camps in Lebanon and also to launch attacks against Israel from south Lebanon.[7][8]

Subsequently, the Palestine Liberation Organization effectively established "a state within a state" in Lebanon.[9]


Civil WarEdit

Palestinian involvement did increase in Lebanon in the early 1970s, especially after the failed coup in Jordan in September 1970. Eventually, the Lebanese army became incapable of limiting the areas of PLO activity.[3] In April 1975, civil war broke out in Lebanon between the PLO and the Christians and several months later the leftist Lebanese National Movement entered the conflict on the side of the PLO.[10] Following the military successes of this alliance the right-wing Maronite president Suleiman Frangieh called upon Syria to intervene. The PLO subsequently retreated to the south, but continued guerrilla operations across the Lebanon-Israel border, resulting in the Israeli invasion of March 1978.[10][11] Escalations in the conflict led ultimately to the Israeli invasion and occupation of Lebanon in the 1982 Lebanon War, resulting in expulsion of the PLO from South Lebanon.


In June 1987, the Lebanese President Amine Gemayel signed a law that annuls the Cairo Agreement with the PLO. The law repealing the agreement was first drafted by parliament speaker Hussein el-Husseini and approved by the Lebanese parliament on 21 May 1987,[12] and later subsequently signed by the prime minister Salim El Hoss.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c Cobban, 1984, p. 47.
  2. ^ Roeder & Rothchild, 2005, p. 231.
  3. ^ a b Weisburd, 1997, p. 142.
  4. ^ a b Cobban, 1984, p. 48.
  5. ^ Cobban, 1984, p. 64.
  6. ^ Weinberger, 1986, p. 126.
  7. ^ Ellis, Kail C. (Winter 1999). "The struggle of a small country in a regional context" (PDF). ASQ. 21 (1): 5–25. Archived from the original (PDF) on 14 January 2014. Retrieved 17 March 2013.
  8. ^ Mroueh, Wassim (14 June 2011). "Looking back on almost 7 decades of Cabinet crises". The Daily Star. Beirut. Retrieved 8 April 2013.
  9. ^ Rubenberg, 1986, p. 137
  10. ^ a b Kushner, 2003, p.282.
  11. ^ Federal Research Division, 2004, p. 206.
  12. ^ The New York Times, Lebanese scrap PLO accord, 22 May 1987


  • Cobban, Helena (1984). The Palestinian Liberation Organisation: People, Power, and Politics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-27216-5
  • Federal Research Division (2004). Lebanon: A Country Study. Kessinger Publishing. ISBN 1-4191-2943-0
  • Kushner, Harvey, W. (2003). Encyclopedia of Terrorism. Sage Publications. ISBN 0-7619-2408-6
  • Roeder, Philip G. & Rothchild, Donald S. (2005). Sustainable Peace: Power and Democracy After Civil Wars. Cornell University Press. ISBN 0-8014-8974-1
  • Rubenberg, Cheryl A. (1986). Israel and the American National Interest: A Critical Examination. University of Illinois Press. ISBN 0-252-06074-1
  • Solh, Raghid el- (2004). Lebanon and Arabism. I.B.Tauris. ISBN 1-86064-051-6
  • Weinberger, Naomi Joy (1986). Syrian Intervention in Lebanon: The 1975-76 Civil War. New York, NY: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-504010-4
  • Weisburd, Arthur (1997). Use of Force: The Practice of States, 1945-1991. Penn State Press. ISBN 0-271-01680-9