INTRODUCTION: One of Lebanon's elder statesmen, four-times prime minister Saeb Salam, says a final solution to his country's problems will have to wait until after the Palestinian issue is settled.
SV INTERIOR Lebanese Parliamentarian and former premier Saeb Salam being interviewed. (MUTE)
SVs Salam interviewed (In English) (3 shots)
TRANSCRIPT: SEQ. 2: SAEB SALAM: 'The situation has arrived in Lebanon to such a stage that everybody, the greatest majority of the people, were asking for salvation. They want somebody to save them. They no more ask for any claims -- they wanted peace first and foremost. A deterrent had to come from outside, the army having been disintegrated, the security forces having been disintegrated, and it was happy enough that it should come under an Arab cover, from brotherly countries.'
REPORTER: 'Now how do you see the whole of the Palestinians in peaceful and independent Lebanon?'
SALAM: 'I think they have been helpful until now, by joining and delivering the heavy arms they have and sending away the various detachment of army regulars they had, and of course the solution of the Palestinian question and the question of the Palestinians in the Lebanon, would depend on the solution of the Arab-Israeli conflict, as we all know. That will take some time, no doubt, and without arriving at a solution in this field I don't think we will have a definite solution for this in the Lebanon.'
REPORTER: 'You mean that problems might arise as long as the Palestinian problem, the Middle East question, it not settled?'
SALAM: 'Exactly. I think it will have to wait until the Palestinian question, the Middle East question, the Arab - Israeli conflict, is settled. Now there's an earnest desire among all the Arabs now to have peace in the area, and they have what they call a peace offensive now. It's clear with the Arabs, led by Sadat of Egypt, Assad of Syria, and the rest of the Arab world, and the Palestinians. There has never been such moderation in the Arab world such as now. Unfortunately, it's being countered by Israeli awkwardness and intransigence. They are against peace. They don't want peace, the Israelis. They are afraid of it, perhaps, perhaps surely they are afraid of it, they don't want it because they live on stirring trouble. They stir trouble and they claim assistance from outside. They claim aid from the United States.....their way of blackmailing the United States to say 'always we are in trouble. We don't have peace'. Once they have peace perhaps they wouldn't be as much in a position to ask help from the outside.'
Initials VS 17.00
REPORTER: NOEL ALEXANDRE
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: INTRODUCTION: One of Lebanon's elder statesmen, four-times prime minister Saeb Salam, says a final solution to his country's problems will have to wait until after the Palestinian issue is settled. Seventy-three-year-old Mr. Salam, who's still a member of parliament, has been speaking out on the Middle East during a visit to Britain. He told Visnews reporter Noel Alexandre in London on Saturday (15 January) about the background to the arrival of the Arab peace-keeping force which brought the 19-month-old Lebanese civil war to a halt in October.
SYNOPSIS: Help had to come from outside, he said. Lebanon was desperate for salvation.