President Hafez al-Assad of Syria has said that setting up an independent Palestinian homeland was the top priority in the continuing Middle East conflict.
GV INTERIOR: Syrian President Hafez al-Assad in People's Assembly, Damascus being applauded.
SV: President Assad speaking.
SV: Assad being applauded.
SV: Lebanese Front Secretary General Edouard Honein speaking in Arabic in Lebanon.
Former President Chamoun and Pierre Gemayel had differed on the terms of extension with another former Lebanese president, Suleiman Franjieh. M. Franjieh wanted the mandate for the forces to be extended unconditionally. Their debate over this point had delayed the announcement Front's statement for 24-hours. The statement was released at the same time as an Egyptian denial that it would send troops to form part of the Arab Deterrent Forces, most of whose members are Syrian.
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: President Hafez al-Assad of Syria has said that setting up an independent Palestinian homeland was the top priority in the continuing Middle East conflict. Meanwhile, in Lebanon, the Lebanese Front leaders have differed on the issue of Arab Deterrent Forces remaining in their country.
SYNOPSIS: President Assad announced this in a major policy speech to the People's Council, or parliament, in Damascus on Wednesday (8 March).
He said that Palestinian rights were more important than recovering the Syrian territory captured by Israel during the 1967 war. Syria, he declared, would strongly resist trends towards the surrender of the Arab cause. It would build up its armed forces and co-operate more closely with the Soviet Union and her allies. President Assad declared these aims after being sworn in for a second term of seven years. In a referendum last month, he won more than ninety-nine and a half percent of the vote.
In Beirut, Lebanese Front Secretary general Edouard Honei on Wednesday (8 March) read a prepared statement on the Front's stand regarding the proposed extension of Arab Deterrent Forces staying there for a further six months. Leaders Pierre Gemayel and Camille Ghamoun wanted the extension only on the Front's terms.