The French "peace" envoy to Lebanon, M. Maurice Couve de Murville has conferred with the?
The French "peace" envoy to Lebanon, M. Maurice Couve de Murville has conferred with the religious leaders of all the Catholic communities in Lebanon in an attempt to end the factional violence that has split the country for the past several months.
The former French Foreign Minister said he had held "long and meaningful discussions" with the religious leaders particularly the leader of the Greek Catholic Church in Lebanon, Patriarch Maximos Hakim.
Patriarch Hakim has been involved in many attempts to bring the left wing Moslems and right wing Christian groups together around the peace table.
But so far all attempts to reconcile the two sides has failed and fighting continues throughout most of the country, particularly in the capital city Beirut.
On the day M. Couve de Murville met the patriarch (21 November) eighteen people had been killed in factional violence in Beirut alone.
Later the French envoy met the Palestine commando leader, Yasser Arafat at a Beirut hotel.
A spokesman for the commandos refused to give any details of the meeting.
SYNOPSIS: The French peace envoy to war-torn Lebanon, Monsieur Maurice Couve de Murville met Catholic Church leaders in the Lebanese capital of Beirut on Friday. Monsieur Couve de Murville arrived at the official residence of the leader of the Greek Catholic Church in Lebanon, Patriarch Maximos Hakim. He was met there by other Church officials who greeted the French envoy and said they hoped he cold assist Lebanon "to the road to peace".
At the official residence the French envoy was met by Patriarch Hakim who told Monsieur Couve de Murville that "everyone in Lebanon must co-operate in peace if we are to achieve any lasting settlement" to the civil war which has divided the country between right wing Christian groups and left wing Moslem organisations. French ties to Lebanon go back more than thirty years to when the French granted the country independence.
The state-run Lebanese radio broadcast a message from French President, Valery Giscard d'Estaing, saying Monsieur Couve de Murville's mission "was not to interfere with Lebanon's independence" but was to assist in creating "more appropriate circumstances to restore harmony and peace to Lebanon".