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. Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser helped to broker the deal.
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. 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.
Under the agreement the 16 official UNWRA camps in Lebanon - home to 300,000 Palestinian refugees - were removed from the stern jurisdiction of the Maronite-dominated Lebanese army's Deuxième Bureau and placed under the authority of the Palestinian Armed Struggle Command. Although the camps remained under Lebanese sovereignty the new arrangements meant that, after 1969, they became a key popular base for the guerrilla movement.
The agreement also established the right of the Palestinian residents of Lebanon "to join the Palestinian revolution through armed struggle". In addition, it allowed the Palestinians to legally control over their refugee camps in Lebanon and also to launch attacks against Israel from south Lebanon.
Palestinian involvement did increase in Lebanon in the early 1970s, especially after the failed coup in Jordan in September 1970, the Lebanese army being incapable of limiting the areas of PLO activity. 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. 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.
Escalations in the conflict led ultimately to the Israeli invasion and occupation of Lebanon in the 1982 Lebanon War.
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 approved by the Lebanese parliament on 21 May 1987, and later subsequently signed by the prime minister Salim El Hoss.
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