Camille Chamoun, the President of the Lebanese National Liberal Party, and the right-wing Lebanese Front has said that he believes a ceasefire is probable in the near future.
CU Camille Chamoun, President of Lebanese National Liberal Party being interviewed
TRANSCRIPT: SEQ. 1: CHAMOUN: "I think we must not get too much busy about the working of this speech. We must see what is going to happen next. Let us look at actions, not at words. This is my first reaction. If you ask me my impression, my impression is that it does not mean too much."
REPORTER: "What do you think will happen next?"
CHAMOUN: "Well I think that there will be a long ceasefire and that it would be -- we would be able to devise some procedure according to which the Syrians will have to withdraw from Lebanon."
REPORTER: "Would you say you were optimistic about the situation in Lebanon?"
CHAMOUN: "Well it is difficult to say whether you could be optimistic or pessimistic. By nature, by nature I am optimistic. But what I have seen so far, does not give too much room to optimists. Anyway, we must work very hard in order to free our country from any foreign arms presence and to rebuild this country."
In his speech, Elias Sarkis withdrew his threat to resign as president. He also say the stage for a decisive clash with the country's armed militias, by saying that the government must eliminate all private forces by building a strong regular army though compulsory military service. His toughly worded speech has since been bitterly attacked by militia leaders.
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: Camille Chamoun, the President of the Lebanese National Liberal Party, and the right-wing Lebanese Front has said that he believes a ceasefire is probable in the near future. Speaking on Sunday (16 July) he said it would be possible to devise some means by which Syrian troops could withdraw, leaving the country free of an armed foreign presence. he was giving his reaction to an earlier announcement by the country's President. Elias Sarkis, in which grave hopes were expressed for a peaceful future so long as armed groups and private militias continued to exist.