A row has blown up in France over remarks criticising Christian militias in Beirut made by the foreign Minister, Monsieur Louis de Guiringaud.
A row has blown up in France over remarks criticising Christian militias in Beirut made by the foreign Minister, Monsieur Louis de Guiringaud. He was due to go before the National Assembly in Paris on Thursday (19 OCTOBER) to explain his allegation that the Christians had been responsible for starting the hostilities against Syrian peace-keeping troops.
SYNOPSIS: On Wednesday, Monsieur de Guiringaud would make no comment to reporters when he left the Elysee Palace. But Premier Raymond Barre went to the Assembly to make a statement which was interpreted by political leaders as disavowing his Foreign Minister.
According to the Foreign Minister, israel had encouraged the Christians to start the latest fighting. he claimed the Israelis wanted to divert Syrian attention at a delicate moment, and that the Christians were hoping to force an intervention from the international community. Monsieur de Guiringaud accused Lebanese Christian leader Camille Chamoun of embarking on a 'wild adventure'.
At the National Assembly, Premier Barre was faced with the delicate task of pacifying members of his governing coalition. France has traditional links with the Christians in Beirut.
In his address, Premier Barre warned against taking sides in the dispute. He said that neither emotion nor sympathy should result in partiality. And he added that it was important not to judge, let alone condemn, what was happening in Lebanon.