• Short Summary

    Syrian president Hafez Al-Assad has met right-wing political leaders from the London to discuss the Middle East situation.

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    Syrian president Hafez Al-Assad has met right-wing political leaders from the London to discuss the Middle East situation. Their visit followed the peace mission of U.S. Secretary of State Cyrus Vance to Syria and five other Middle East nations.

    SYNOPSIS: The right-wing Lebanese politicians arrived in Damascus on Friday (12 August) to put their views on the Palestinian problem to President Assad. They were led by Dory Shamoun Secretary General to the National Liberal Party, wearing dark glasses. Earlier he had told a news conference in Beirut that a continued Palestinian presence in southern Lebanon could spark a fifth Arab-Israeli war. Israel has already admitted that it supplied military aid to the right-wing Christians in Lebanon.

    Mr Shamoun alleged that for part the Palestinians in southern Lebanon-the last base of armed commands-continued to receive shipments of heavy weapons. Their behaviour, he claimed, could cause a big conflict.

    After their meeting President Assad was asked whether he was optimistic that the Palestinian problem could be solved and the Geneva talks revived following the visit of Mr Vance. He replied that what was important was not to be optimistic or pessimistic, but to 'work for the success of our aims.'
    President Assad also ruled out the possibility of direct or indirect meetings between the Syrian and Israeli foreign ministers in New York next month. There had been reports that Mr Vance had won the agreement of Arab leaders to consultations in New York on new moves to reconvene the Geneva peace talks. But President Assad said no one had approached him about such meetings.

    American officials had predicated that the consultations in New York would last about two weeks. Mr Vance would shuttle between the participants so they would not have to meet face to face. President Assad did not rule out the possibility of other Arab ministers taking part, but he stressed that as far as Syria's foreign minister was concerned the talks would not take place. His attitude was not affected by his four hour talks with the Lebanese right-winners.

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