The new Arab League secretary General, Chedli Klibi of Tunisia, arrived in Beirut on Monday (23 July) on the first leg of a Mideast tour which will also take him to Syria and Iraq.
The new Arab League secretary General, Chedli Klibi of Tunisia, arrived in Beirut on Monday (23 July) on the first leg of a Mideast tour which will also take him to Syria and Iraq. This is the first official tour Mr Klibi has made since being elected in June. Mr. Klibi's visit comes at a crucial time in Lebanese-Palestinian relations following the start of Israel's new air offensive against Palestinian guerrillas in Lebanon.
SYNOPSIS: Mr. Klibi was welcomed in Beirut by Lebanese Foreign Minister Fuad Butros and a Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO), leader Farouk al-Kadoumi. Tension between the Lebanese and Palestinians has increased as the Lebanese step up pressure on the Palestinians to withdraw from populated areas in the south of the country, the main target of Israeli air raids.
Mr Klibi had talks with Lebanese Prime Minister Selim Al-Hoss who has only recently (16 July) succeeded in forming a new government after two months of political uncertainty. Mr. Klibi then met the PLO chairman Yasser Arafat. They discussed the possibilities of calling a meeting of Arab foreign Ministers to consider the situation in Southern Lebanon. There the Palestinians are under threat from both Israeli strikes and the demands of the Lebanese government.
The role that the Arab Foreign Ministers might play in the complex situation was not made clear after the meeting. Many forces are already participating in that war-torn territory. They include the Palestinians, the Lebanese forces, christian militias, Syrian fighter aircraft, United Nations forces and Israeli artillery and Air Force units.