The United Nations Secretary-General, Dr. Kurt Waldheim, arrived in Damascus, Syria, on Wednesday (26 May)?
GV Waldheim's plane taxiing on runway
SV Minister of Foreign Affairs and other officials waiting on tarmac
SV Waldheim out of aircraft and greeted by minister and officials
SV Waldheim across tarmac and surrounded by newsmen and Waldheim talking to newsmen (2 shots)
SV Waldheim and Foreign Minister leaving runway
SV INTERIOR Waldheim enters Foreign Ministry room and greeted by Khaddam
SV PAN FROM Khaddam TO Waldheim seated during talks (2 shots)
SV INTERIOR Waldheim seated with President Assad and other officials (3 shots)
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Background: The United Nations Secretary-General, Dr. Kurt Waldheim, arrived in Damascus, Syria, on Wednesday (26 May) to discuss the renewal of the mandate of the UN peace-keeping force on the Golan Heights. The mandate expires on Sunday, 30 May.
Israel has already agreed to extend the mandate of the force of 1,200 men for another six months, but Syria has not so far indicated whether it will follow suit. Diplomats in Middle East capitals have expressed their belief that Syria will agree to extend the mandate for another six months. But the syrians may wish to link it with some kind of progress towards peace in the Middle East or with the role of the Palestinians in any settlement.
When he arrived at Damascus Airport, Dr. Waldheim was greeted by the Syrian Foreign Minister, Mr. Abdel Halim Khaddam, and other government officials. Dr. Waldheim told newsmen at the airport that the aim of his visit was to discuss the situation in the region with President Hafez Al-Assad and Mr. Khaddam. The Secretary-General later had separate talks with President Assad and Mr. Khaddam.
The UN Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) was created two years ago under an agreement between Syria and Israel to pull back their troops. It is made up of 515 Austrian troops, 391 Iranians, 126 Canadians and 48 Poles.
Before Dr. Waldheim arrived, a Syrian government spokesman said that Syria wanted to keep Middle East peace efforts within the framework of the UN, and in execution of UN resolutions on complete Israeli withdrawal from occupied territory. The efforts should also be lined with the recognition of the rights of the Palestinian people.