• Short Summary

    President Hafez Al-Assad of Syria has been nominated for a second seven-year presidential term. The?

  • Description

    GV INT Speaker addressing Syrian Parliament in session in Damascus (3 shots)

    GV EXT Parliament building, Damascus PAN TO rally outside

    GV & CU Crowd chanting and singing outside Parliament building (4 shots)

    The talks between Syrian, Iraqi, Libyan Jamahiriyah, Algerian, South Yemeni and Palestinian leaders are expected to be preceded by a meeting of Foreign and Defence Ministers. The meeting of countries opposed to the Egyptian peace initiative follows intensive efforts, led by Algerian President Houari Boumedienne, to bring Iraq into a hard-line Arab Front formed at a similar conference in the Libyan Jamahiriyah last month.

    Initials BB/2220

    Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved

    Background: President Hafez Al-Assad of Syria has been nominated for a second seven-year presidential term. The Syrian People's Council, meeting in the capital of Damascus on Sunday (22 January), unanimously approved the nomination, and President Assad's new term of office begins on 13 March, if he receives support in a forthcoming referendum.

    SYNOPSIS: President Assad was nominated by leaders of the ruling Baath Party, and under the Syrian constitution, the referendum on the nomination has been set for the eighth of February. President Assad has been in control in Syria since November 1970. Before he came to power, the country had more than a dozen coups in 24 years of independence.

    Outside the Parliament building, crowds chanted their support of the nomination, which Prime Minister Abdel-Rahman Khleifawi described as "a renewal of confidence in the wise Arab policy" adopted by President Assad.

    Prime Minister Khleifawi said President Assad had the backing of the Syrian people, because of his policy of seeking the recovery of Israeli-occupied land, his determination to resist aggression, and his commitment to Palestinian rights. News of the nomination came shortly before it was announced Syria was building up its armed forces to achieve a strategic balance with Israel, following the "capitulation" of Egypt. Reuters News Agency also quotes Damascus sources as saying that hard-line Arab leaders will meet in Algiers before the end of January.

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