In Lebanon, a five-man committee set up by the government, had its first meeting on Monday (October 23) to try to work out detailed plans to resolve the country's prolonged crisis.
In Lebanon, a five-man committee set up by the government, had its first meeting on Monday (October 23) to try to work out detailed plans to resolve the country's prolonged crisis. Within a week, the committee hopes to submit proposals, based on the resolutions adopted at the Beiteddin conference of Arab foreign ministers last week (to 20 October). One of its principal recommendations was a security plan to prevent renewed fighting between the Christian militias and the Syrian troops who dominated the Arab League peacekeeping force, by replacing the Syrians with Saudi Arabian troops.
SYNOPSIS: That plan brought Christian back into the streets of Eastern Beirut, which had taken most of the force of Syrian heavy artillery and rocket fire. Since the Syrians pulled out last Friday (20 October) there have been few reports of shooting and attempts have been made to begin normal life again.
The two bridges that had been in Syrian hands came under the control of Saudi troops and Lebanese military police. Almost immediately the approach roads were jammed with traffic as residents who had endured the shelling, drove out to join relatives and friends in the surrounding mountains. Others returned to salvage what was left of their homes. Hardly a building did not bear the scars of the recent shelling.
One feature of the recent fighting was the number of people who refused to move from their district, sheltering in basements with little food and no fresh water. The fate of these people and their city now rests with the Government's Peace-Plan Committee. So far the Christian militiamen have not hindered the peaceful withdrawal. many have been in the streets, helping to direct traffic and distribute food. Observers are cautious. They point out the Syrian withdrawal is a limited operation and they could quickly regain control of strategic positions if fighting broke out again.