Arab League Foreign Ministers who met in a marathon nine-hour emergency session on Wednesday (30 June) night decided to send a delegation to Lebanon "within hours" to seek a truce there.
GVs EXTERIOR Conference building (2 shots)
SVs Conference ministers arriving by car (3 shots)
SV PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat arriving
SV Syrian Foreign Minister Abdel Halim Khaddam arriving
SVs INTERIOR Delegates entering conference room (2 shots)
SVs Delegates around conference table (5 shots)
SVs Security guards outside conference room (2 shots)
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Background: Arab League Foreign Ministers who met in a marathon nine-hour emergency session on Wednesday (30 June) night decided to send a delegation to Lebanon "within hours" to seek a truce there.
SYNOPSIS: The foreign ministers met in Cairo, the Egyptian capital, three weeks after first meeting and deciding to send a joint Arab peace-keeping force to war-torn Lebanon. The force began arriving two weeks ago -- but peace never came. So after Wednesday's all-nigh emergency session, Arab League Secretary-General Mahmoud Riad flew to Beirut, capital of the Lebanon.
Palestine Liberation Organisation Chairman Yasser Arafat joined the foreign ministers in their call for peace.
Among the more prominent of the delegates was Syrian Foreign Minister Abdel Halim Khaddam. Syria sent large numbers of troops and armourments into Lebanon earlier this year in a vain bid to halt the war between Lebanese right-wing Christians and left-wing Moslems, backed by Palestinians, which broke out in April last year.
On Thursday's peace mission to Beirut with Mr. Riad were the foreign ministers of Bahrain and Tunisia. The Arab League ministers also appealed to the rest of the Arab world for the despatch of additional troops for the peace-keeping force within twelve hours. So far, only about 600 troops -- mostly from Libya and Syria -- make up the force, which was planned to number about two thousand. Mr. Riad has said in the past two weeks that other troops, mainly Sudanese and Saudi Arabians, would be moving to Lebanon -- but none did.
So at Wednesday's session, the League ministers appealed to all Arab countries who had committed troops to send them immediately 'without prior conditions'.
The meeting was not without dissention. Yasser Arafat demanded that Syrian, Palestinian and Iraqi ministers were included in Mr. Riad's delegation -- but the demand was turned down.
The ministers, who re-affirmed 'the Arab commitment to strengthen and protect the Palestinian revolution', decided to keep the meeting open pending their delegation's return from Beirut.