Tuesday (31 August) was a day of intensive diplomatic activity in the Arab world, concentrated on the urgent need for a solution to the Lebanese crisis.
GV: Lebanese President-elect Elias Sarkis greeted at damascus airport by General Khleifawi and other Syrian officials.
GV and CU: President Assad and Mr. Sarkis seated in palace talking (3 shots)
GV: street scene in Cairo PAN TO Arab League building.
GV: Arab league Secretary General Mahmoud Riad and other officials taking seats.
CU and GV: meeting in progress. (3 shots)
According to the latest estimates, one per cent of the Lebanese population has been killed in 17 months of civil war. During a news conference on Sunday (29 August), Mr. Riad said that he agreed with the PLO's claim that the situation in Lebanon was "appalling". He also said that the figure of one per cent represented 30,000 people killed, in addition to those wounded.
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: Tuesday (31 August) was a day of intensive diplomatic activity in the Arab world, concentrated on the urgent need for a solution to the Lebanese crisis.
SYNOPSIS: In Damascus, Syria, Lebanon's President-elect Elias Sarkis arrived for a brief visit, at the invitation of President Hafez al-Assad. Mr. Sarkis was greeted tat the airport by Syrian Prime Minister General Abdel Rahman Khleifawi and later spent five fours in discussions with President Assad. According to Reuters, the two leaders talked about the latest developments in Lebanon and methods of bringing the warring factions to terms with each other.
An official Syrian communique said that President Assad is still dedicated to the task of finding a definitive solution to the Lebanese problem and bringing about a return to normal life. The statement also re-affirmed his desire to preserve Lebanon's independence and unity. Mr. Sarkis returned to Beirut the same day and made no statement about his discussions with President Assad.
In Cairo, Egypt, Arab League Secretary-General Mahmoud Riad held meetings with representatives of the Palestine Liberation Organisation. They too discussed the latest developments in Lebanon and Mr. Farouk Kaddoumi, head of the PLO's political department, briefed Mr. Riad on PLO contacts with Syrian officials.
On Monday (30 August) the Arab League announced that a meeting of Arab Foreign Ministers to discuss plans for an Arab summit on Lebanon had been postponed from Wednesday (1 September) to Saturday (4 September). The Lebanon summit was proposed last month by Kuwait and 13 Arab states have so far said they will take part.