WASHINGTON — The Bush administration, skeptical about long-term peacekeeping operations, may pull U.S. troops from a multinational force along the quiet border between Israel and Egypt.
Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld has raised the idea with Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, whose nations signed a peace treaty in 1979.
Neither leader is keen on the idea, and a final decision has not been made, the Pentagon and State Department said Thursday.
The 865 Americans in the Sinai--a vast, mountainous desert region--are part of an 1,850-member observer force staffed by 11 countries since 1982. The deployment costs the U.S. about $16 million a year. Under the agreement that sent the peacekeepers there, Egypt and Israel would have to approve a U.S. withdrawal.