In Lebanon, President Elias Sarkis began talks on Tuesday (22 May) aimed at forming a new government to tackle the country's protracted political and sectarian crisis.
In Lebanon, President Elias Sarkis began talks on Tuesday (22 May) aimed at forming a new government to tackle the country's protracted political and sectarian crisis. The talks followed the resignation last week of Premier Selim Al-Hoss and his cabinet...a move intended to allow the formation of a government representing all of Lebanon's Moslem-leftist and Rightist-Christian factions. Meanwhile the Lebanese army had restored order on the main highway linking Beirut with the northern coastal region.
SYNOPSIS: The main highway that links the capital, Beirut with the northern coastal region has been the scene of numerous roadblocks set up by the various sectarian groups fighting in Lebanon. The Lebanese Army forcefully removed some of these barriers on Sunday (20 May). They continue to carry out strict searches of civilian traffic. Searches have often discovered arms and ammunition being smuggled to guerrilla fighters around Beirut.
The Lebanese government is now attempting to build a new national army -- one that reflects the make-up of all the sectarian groups, and with the aim to restore order. For some, life goes on quite normally for weeks at a time -- but sporadic shelling and sniping continually threatens civilian life.
President Sarkis must try and reconcile the violent rift between Moslems and Christians. At this point the army is out-gunned by the Christian and Moslem factions.
While Beirut remains generally quiet, Palestinian-leftist strongholds in the eastern and central sectors of Southern Lebanon were shelled by Rightist militiamen early Wednesday (23 May). The Palestinians in southern Lebanon have been engaged in almost daily artillery duels with Israeli-backed Rightists. The two sides blame each other for starting the shelling.