INTRODUCTION: At a Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) conference in Beirut, Mr.
GV EXTERIOR Carlton Hotel, Beirut. 0.04
GV Delegates arrive. 0.15
GV INTERIOR Arafat arriving at podium to applause, leaving podium. 0.28
GV Delegates seated. 0.31
SV Nicaraguan representative Olyma Ramprias speaking as delegates look on. (2 SHOTS) 0.45
SV Arafat speaking applauded by delegates. 2.00
Background: BEIRUT, LEBANON
INTRODUCTION: At a Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) conference in Beirut, Mr. Yasser Arafat, leader of the organisation, has accused Israel of preparing an invasion of southern Lebanon. The conference was called to demonstrate the solidarity between the Palestinian and Lebanese people in the wake of the recent Israeli air attacks on Beirut.
SYNOPSIS: The conference, which was held in Beirut's Carlton Hotel, brought together a wide range of politicians, representatives of Liberation movements, and trade unionists. Delegates came from Western Europe and Latin America as well as the Arab world.
The PLO Chairman, Yasser Arafat, arrived to open the conference. There is a large Palestinian community in Lebanon including a guerrilla organisation which controls key parts of the country, and is fighting Israeli-backed Christians in the south.
The representative of the Nicaraguan government Olyma Ramprias, conveyed his country's support for the aims of the conference. Nicaraguan is currently benefitting form an increase in military and economic aid from the Arab world.
In his speech, Mr. Arafat said that the Israeli leader, Menachem Begin was discussing details of an attack on southern Lebanon during his Washington talks with President Reagan. He asserted that he had information showing that the Israelis were preparing an assault. He said there were new Israeli military concentrations in Northern Israel and the Golan Heights. The Palestinian leader went on to say that his forces were being reinforced with armoured cars in southers Lebanon to resist the Israeli threat. This military build-up comes a week after Israeli military officials accused the Palestinians of repeatedly violating the six-week old ceasefire in the area.
The ceasefire, which was negotiated by the American special envoy, Philip Habib, brought to an end a series of air attacks along southern Lebanon's border with Israel. The fighting escalated when Israeli bombers attacked Beirut, resulting in the loss of civilian lives. The ceasefire has held despite repeated allegations from both sides of violations.
Source: REUTERS - ELIE AZZI