In France, the visiting Lebanese President Elias Sarkis said that the Arab-Israeli conflict requires a solution that provides properly for the Palestinians.
In France, the visiting Lebanese President Elias Sarkis said that the Arab-Israeli conflict requires a solution that provides properly for the Palestinians. Mr Sarkis was speaking during an official visit to Paris.
SYNOPSIS: President Sarkis has been widely reported as being interested in arms and other aid from the French Government, and reports from Paris say he will get it. Here he ends his meeting with President Giscard D'Estaing and Prime Minister Raymond barre. His interest in buying French arms is connected with his intention to rebuild his army, which split into rival factions during Lebanon's 1975-76 civil war. He needs in particular tanks and helicopters. He also sought French backing for an over-all security plan devised following last month's (October) meeting of Arab states near Beirut. Senior French officials said President Sarkis can count on French support.
After his official engagements Mr Sarkis met newsmen.
During the news conference Mr Sarkis said any solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict should not involve settling Palestinians in his or any other Arab State now sheltering them. He said they could not be absorbed into Lebanon because neither his country's political situation nor its economy can provide for them. At present Lebanon now houses more than 400,000 Palestinian refugees dating from the creation of Israel in the first Arab-Israeli war of 1948.
Mr Sarkis' comments on the middle east peace situation came at a time when the Israeli-Egyptian peace talks are stalled, partly over the issue of Palestinian Arab self-rule in Israeli-occupied areas. He said any attempt to settle the question would be fraught with serious difficulties if the Palestinians were to be permanently settled in the countries which have received them as refugees.
President Sarkis called for the return of Arab territories captured by Israel in the 1967 Middle East War and he wants safeguards for what he termed the 'National Rights of the Palestinian People'. On the question of his appeal to the French Government for military and political support, he said that the task of Lebanese national reconstruction and economic recovery would be colossal and very challenging.