King Hussein of Jordan and his Prime Minister, Zeid Al-Rifai, arrived in Damascus on Wednesday (21 January) for an unexpected session of talks on Lebanon with syria's President, Hafez Al-Assad, and the Syrian Prime Minister, Mr.
SV King Hussein's plane taxis in
SV President Assad and others walk forward
CU Assad and Hussein embrace and Assad and Rifai embrace and parties walk away
SV Hussein shaking hands with officers
SV PAN INTERIOR Jumblatt (let) seated with Assad PAN TO Syrian Foreign minister, Khaddam (seated on Jumblatt's right) (MUTE)
KING HUSSEIN'S PLANE TAXIING IN: PRESIDENT ASAD AND PARTY WALKING ACROSS TARMAC: ASSAD AND HUSSEIN EMBRACING AND ASSAD AND RIFAI EMBRACING: HUSSEIN SHAKING HANDS WITH OFFICERS: BUILDING: JUMBLATT, ASSAD AND KHADDAM SEATED PRIOR TO TALKS.
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: King Hussein of Jordan and his Prime Minister, Zeid Al-Rifai, arrived in Damascus on Wednesday (21 January) for an unexpected session of talks on Lebanon with syria's President, Hafez Al-Assad, and the Syrian Prime Minister, Mr. Mahmoud Ayoubi.
On the same day it was announced in Lebanon that the warring Christian and Moslem factions had both accepted Syrian proposals for a ceasefire and a political settlement of the nine-month old undeclared civil war.
The crucial question was whether the ceasefire - unlike so many before it - would be maintained. To supervise it, a joint military committee had been set up with Lebanese, Syrian and Palestinian representatives included.
In Syria, no details were made available abut the purpose of King Hussein's visit, but it was understood that the Lebanese crisis was expected to be high on the agenda. On King Hussein's arrival, he and his Prime Minister were met at an air base near Damascus by President Assad and Prime Minister Ayoubi.
While the two leaders were conferring, Syria's Foreign Minister, Mr. Abdel Halim Khaddam, was in Beirut negotiating with Lebanese leaders on the Syrian ceasefire proposals.
The Syrian proposals had been formally accepted by the let-wing Moslem leader, Mr. Kamal Jumblatt, on behalf of his side. The previous day (Tuesday) Mr. Jumblatt himself had been in Syria having talks with President Assad.
Mr. Jumblatt and his delegation had arrived in Syria that day, and after the talks, he expressed his thanks to President Assad for his initiatives and his "great efforts for mediation" in the Lebanese crisis.
SYNOPSIS: At an air base out side Damascus, Syria, on Wednesday, President Assad and other government officials were on hand to greet King Hussein of Jordan, and his Prime Minister, Mr. Zed Al-Reef.
The King and his Prime Minister were in Syria for an unexpected session of talks with President Assad on the crisis in Lebanon. On the same day, it was announced in lebanon that the warring Christian and Moslem factions had both accepted Syrian proposals for a ceasefire and a political settlement of the nine-month old civil war.
Although no details were made available about the purpose of King Hussein's visit, it was understood that the Lebanon crisis was expected to be high on the agenda.
The day before, the left-wing Moslem leader, Mr. Kamal Jumblatt, had also led a delegation at talks with President Assad in Damascus. It was he who formally accepted the Syrian proposals on behalf of the Moslem side when they were announced on Wednesday. His talks with President Assad undoubtedly laid the basis for the general acceptance of the ceasefire proposals.
The crucial question was whether the ceasefire would be maintained. A joint military committee, composed of Lebanese, Syrian and Palestinian representatives, has been set up to supervise it.