The French Special Envoy, M. Georges Gorse, held talks in Damascus on Tuesday (13 April)?
GV & MV EXT. Syrian Foreign Ministry (2 shots)
GV M. Gorse and Khaddam seated talking
CU M. Gorse
CU Mr. Khaddam
GV Meeting Khaddam and Gorse
GV Gorse PAN TO Khaddam
Initials BB/0146 SM/DK/BB/0130
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Background: The French Special Envoy, M. Georges Gorse, held talks in Damascus on Tuesday (13 April) with the Syrian Foreign Minister, Abdel Halim Khaddam, on the crisis in the Lebanon. The discussions centred around Syria's view of the civil war and possible solutions to the crisis.
Government spokesmen quoted by Reuters in Paris have described the new French peace initiative as asserting the determination of France to ensure that peace reigns in Lebanon, rather than an attempt at mediation.
M. Gorse' visit follows a speech by Syrian President Hafez Al-Assad, which stated that Syria was ready to intervene in Lebanon to help oppressed people whatever their religion.
The French Envoy spent four days in Beirut, in consultation with Lebanese leaders before flying to Damascus on Monday (12 April).
He is described as an expert on Arab affairs, and accompanied former French Prime Minister Maurice Couve de Murville on a peace mission to Beirut last November. He also served as the French Ambassador to both Tunisia and Algeria.