Lebanon's new President, Mr. Elias Sarkis, has received a vote of confidence from the nation's?
Lebanon's new President, Mr. Elias Sarkis, has received a vote of confidence from the nation's 150,000-strong Druze community.
SYNOPSIS: The Druze, and Islamic sect who live in seclusion, inhabit the mountain areas on the Syrian-Lebanese border. They've tried to stay out of the 18-month-old civil war. But After an alleged mass murder in one of their communities by Christian and Syrian forces, a Druze leader has put his faith in Mr. Sarkis. Unconfirmed reports said there was a mass murder of 30 Druze in the Christian-Syrian advance against leftist forces. Druze leader Sheikh Mohammed Abu Shakra spoke to a reporter at his home.
Sheikh Mohammed described the alleged massacres as a breach of all moral and human ethics. Sect leaders were meeting in Syria, but their actions, he said, would not be "against the interests" of anyone in the country. Sheikh Mohammed said he was confident that President Sarkis eventually would be able to stop the killings in Lebanon. If efforts were increased, if there was goodwill, and that if every responsible person realised his moral duty and national obligations, then President Sarkis might be able to restore calm and normal life to the country, he said.
This would begin with a stop to the fighting, and with the different parties relating their steadfast position, said Sheikh Mohammed. The Druze leader said he had hoped to meet President Sarkis, but the meeting was called off for security reasons in the wake of continued fighting. But the meeting of Druze leaders in Syria also would bring about a united stand among the people, he said.
With a Druze population of about a quarter of a million people, Syria has by far the greatest population of the sect. There are 30,000 Druze living in Israel and occupied territories, and another 3,000 in Jordan.