Leading Arab officials met with Lebanon's President Franjieh on Saturday (5 May) to discuss the recent clashes between Arab commandos and the Lebanese Armed Forces.
Leading Arab officials met with Lebanon's President Franjieh on Saturday (5 May) to discuss the recent clashes between Arab commandos and the Lebanese Armed Forces. The visiting envoys included Mahmoud Riad Secretary General of the Arab League; Dr. Hassan Sabry Al-Kholy, personal representative of Egypt's President Sadat; the Syrian Deputy Premier and Foreign Minister, Mr. Abdel Halim Khaddam; and the Chief of the Moroccan Royal Cabinet, Mr. Alday Ould Sidi Baba. The Moroccan Cabinet chief had earlier called on the leader of the commandos, Yasser Arafat. The intensive diplomatic activity in Beirut was aiming at an agreement which would avert any new clashes between commandos and the Lebanese forces.
Mr. Mahmoud Riad, talked with the President for seven hours and later told reporters that the situation had improved. He said there was general concern for Lebanon's sovereignty and no doubt there was also Lebanese concern for the Palestinian resistance and the Palestinian case. He said that a formula was needed to prevent the re-occurrence of clashes in the future.
A ceasefire on Friday (4 May) followed two days of battles between the commandos and the Lebanese Army. The day after the ceasefire, there was a two-hour clash in the South-eastern mountains of Lebanon where troops and commandos exchanged artillery fire for two hours. The Lebanese Army stated commandos had come from Syria. The army communique said "forces from Syria crossed the border into Lebanon in large numbers" on Thursday. The Palestinian Liberation Organisation issued a denial from Damascus that any Palestinian forces had entered lebanon during the fighting.