On Sunday (15 October) Arab Foreign Ministers began meeting in the Lebanese capital of Beirut, seeking ways to prevent renewed fighting between Syrian members of the Arab Peacekeeping Force and rightwing Christian militias.
GV Motorcade arriving
SV Arab miniters walk across courtyard and up steps into building
GV Another minister arrives and is welcomed by military officers and walks across courtyard
SV PAN Ministers up steps and into building building
GV INT. Ministers s seated round table during conference (2 SHOTS)
GV PAN ALONG buildings TO black column of smoke rising from fire
GV Wreckage in streets
SV People round lorry buying food
SV People queuing for bread, and one man walking away.
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Background: On Sunday (15 October) Arab Foreign Ministers began meeting in the Lebanese capital of Beirut, seeking ways to prevent renewed fighting between Syrian members of the Arab Peacekeeping Force and rightwing Christian militias.
SYNOPSIS: The opening session was held in the Beirut suburb, Beiteddin. Foreign Ministers from six states which provide funds and troops for the Peacekeeping Force, which numbers some thirty thousand, were present.
As the meeting got underway, sporadic shelling and sniper fire could be heard from the Christian side of Beirut. The talks were held in private at the historic palace at Beiteddin in the hills fifteen miles (25 kms) south east of Beirut. The official Lebanese news agency said that President Elias Sarkis urged delegates to provide greater assistance in efforts to resolve the country's prolonged crisis.
President Sarkis is understood to have canvassed Arab states, prior to the meeting in Beirut, seeking support for his plan to have the Syrian element of the Peacekeeping Force withdrawn. Sources say that the problem is that the problem is that Mr. Sarkis' plans for a return to peace go too far for the Syrians and not for enough for the hard-line rightwing leaders who command the Lebanese Christian militias.
The problem lies in the strongly held belief among Lebanese Christians that the Syrian element of the Peacekeeping Force is an army of occupation. This view prevails in spite of the welcome accorded the Syrians when they stepped in a to help end the Lebanese civil war. Meanwhile the skirmishing continues. It's estimated that more than four hundred people-mainly civilians - were killed in the latest major outbreak of fighting, which began earlier this month between the Syrians and the Christian militias.