Lebanon's new government of National Unity held its first parliamentary session on May 31, amid tight security.
1. GV PAN Troops and tanks outside Parliament building 0.13
2. GVs Troops watch as Members of Parliament arrive for meeting (10 shots) 0.57
3. SV Christian leader, Pierre Gemayel arriving 1.03
4. GV PAN Security forces outside building 1.07
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Background: BEIRUT, LEBANON
Lebanon's new government of National Unity held its first parliamentary session on May 31, amid tight security. Armed police sealed off the area around the parliament building in Beirut, and closed down the nearby Museum crossing point -- the only road between the two halves of the divided capital. Seventy of the 90 surviving members of the 99-seat House attended the session, the first of a series which Prime Minister Rashid Karami hopes will end with a vote of confidence in his government. Mr Karami read out his government's policy statement, which gives top priority to the expulsion of Israel from South Lebanon and the Bekaa Valley. Mr Karami, in an apparent effort to answer Israeli objections, said the government intended to take measures to prevent guerilla infiltration into Israel. But he stressed his government's determination to compel Israel to withdraw behind internationally recognised borders. He said the other main task was to end the nine-year civil war in Lebanon, reform the political system and the army, and deal with an intensive programme of reconstruction. Mr Karami's government intends to give Moslem equal representation with Christians in parliament, and establish a senate chamber. The session later adjourned until June 5, when the confidence debate is due to start.
Source: REUTERS BEIRUT