It was business as usual---almost---for Beirut's banks on Tuesday (7 December), when big western and Arab banks opened their doors again as a sign of confidence in the current truce.
GV Syrian and Libyan Bank with broken windows (3 shots)
SV Chase Manhattan Bank (2 shots)
SV Bank of Lebanon with damaged windows and sign (2 shots)
GV Arab Bank and sign (2 shots)
CU PAN ALONG Broken windows of the Industrial Bank
SV INT Bank staff at work (6 shots)
GV Newsmen waiting on road with sign saying "Press stop" (2 shots)
SV Newsmen talking to Gemayel seated in car (2 shots)
SV Emir Majid Arslan helped out of car and greeted by Gemayel
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Background: It was business as usual---almost---for Beirut's banks on Tuesday (7 December), when big western and Arab banks opened their doors again as a sign of confidence in the current truce.
SYNOPSIS: The Syrian and Libyan bank was one of the first to re-open. Still showing a few battle scars, the bank did little business, but staff began the huge re-organisation job. Looters, who plundered branches of foreign banks during the 19-month Lebanese conflict, hauled away cash, bonds, travellers' cheques and jewellery worth an estimated 500 million U.S. dollars.
Bank officials say they will never know just how much looters stole off them. They're not sure just what was in safe deposit boxes before the bloody civil war broke out.
Most of the 25 foreign banks in Beirut moved out in 1975 as the fighting intensified and took the capital from its role as the financial heart of the Middle East to a battlefield. The decision to re-open the banks is only a temporary move. The bankers Association will meet again in the near future to review the situation.
While the banks were re-opening, the political leaders were gathering at the Presidential Palace for a meeting with Lebanese President Elias Sarkis. The meeting was held to discuss the terms of reforming a Lebanese government. Phalangist leader Pierre Gemayel was one of those who consulted President Sarkis.
Health Minister Emir Majid Arslan was also involved in the talks. He told newsmen that a new government could be formed within a week. He said it would be a provisional one, comprising about eight cabinet ministers. It's believed the government will sit for between six and 12 months, provided the truce holds firm.