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    The President of the Lebanon, Mr. Elias Sarkis, has made the first move towards forming?

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    The President of the Lebanon, Mr. Elias Sarkis, has made the first move towards forming a new government, following a meeting on Sunday (23 April) at which political leaders agreed on a plan for dealing with the nation's communal strife.

    SYNOPSIS: The meeting took place at the Mansour Palace in Beirut and was attended by representatives of the country's principal religious and political factions.

    Among those at the meeting was former premier Mr. Saeb Salam. Observers believe the agreement reached by the 14 man parliamentary committee, who represent all political groups and religious sects, will assist President Sarkis in forming the government. Prime Minister Selim Al-Hoss's cabinet resigned on Wednesday (19 April).

    The Phalangist leader Mr. Pierre Gemayel arrives. Also present was the Liberal leader Mr. Camille Chamoun. At the meeting the committee agreed on a call to curb Palestinian commandos and to outlaw Lebanon's private militias. Observers say the proposals are unlikely to be implemented in the near future, but that they form a valuable basis on which a new government could work for national reconciliation.

    Afterwards, Parliamentary Speaker Mr. Kamal Asaad, who chaired the meeting, said it would serve as a turning point. Observers believe Dr. Al-Hoss, may be asked to form government comprising career politicians. His previous cabinet had virtually no formal political affiliations, and was labelled as a "government of technocrats" whose mission was to rebuild a shattered Lebanon.

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    Reuters - Including Visnews
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