Above the racket of rattling machine guns, Lebanese Premier Rashid Karami told Parliament on Tuesday (25 November) that he rejected partition as a solution to the country's civil strife.
GV Deserted streets in Beirut
LV PAN Soldiers on street corner with armoured vehicle outside bank
Armoured car along street
LV PAN another armoured car pulls parliament
SV Soldier standing alert on street corner
LV & CU Parliament building and flag (2 shots)
SV PAN Deputy Fouad Naffa arrives
CU PAN P.M. Karami arrives
SV PAN Kamel El-Assad arrives surrounded by military guards
SV PAN Interior Minister Chammoun arrives with guard
SV INTERIOR Deputies enter Parliament chamber
SV & LV Deputies seated in parliament
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Background: Above the racket of rattling machine guns, Lebanese Premier Rashid Karami told Parliament on Tuesday (25 November) that he rejected partition as a solution to the country's civil strife.
The Premier made the statement as Parliament met to debate increasing factional fighting. He had said earlier that the country could stand no more of the current situation.
As the debate began, gunfire raged around the Parliament building, with Falangists and left-wingers fighting it out.
Clearly referring to a feeling among some Maronite Christians that a division of Lebanon was the only way out of the conflict, the Premier declared: "There are some people who raise irresponsible ideas about partition, eviction of communities from one area to another and so on."
"The majority of Lebanese, if not all of them, reject this. We shall continue to defend a single, independent and sovereign Lebanon and we reject all forms of partition or divisions."
Deputies had hurried to Parliament to debate the crisis behind shields of armour and guns.
About half of the 99 members arrived for the session, some in armoured cars provided by the internal security forces and others in private vehicles accompanied by bodyguards.
Speaking above the thud of gunfire, Mr. Karami told Parliament that Lebanese politicians must agree on social, political and economic reforms. He said that the question of salvation could only be achieved by cooperation from all sides.
The city centre fighting broke out after a bout of heavy shooting just after dawn in eastern Beirut.
Falangists and left-wingers blasted each other with rockets, mortars and heavy machine guns in the suburbs and bombs and bullets flew between the hilltop Christian quarter of Ashrafieh and Moslem areas in the valley below.
SYNOPSIS: With the streets of Beirut deserted and machine-guns rattling in the distance, the Lebanese Parliament met on Tuesday to debate the increasing factional fighting in the country. Deputies had hurried to Parliament to debate the crisis behind shields of armour and guns. About half of the 99 members arrived for the session either in armoured cars provided by the internal security forces or in private vehicles accompanied by bodyguards.
As the debate got underway, Premier Rashid Karami told Parliament that he rejected partition as a solution to the fighting. Referring to a feeling among some Maronite Christians that a division of Lebanon was the only way out of the conflict, the Premier said there were some people who raised irresponsible ideas about partition and eviction of communities from one area to another. he said that the majority of the Lebanese people, if not all of them, rejected this.
Interior Minister Camille Chamoun, a powerful Maronite Christian and a former president, arrived for the debate by car, protected by a dozen bodyguards wearing bullet-proof vests and carrying assault rifles.
As Parliament debated the war, seven person were killed in Various parts of Beirut. Some had their hands tied behind their backs and bullet wounds at the back of their heads. About four thousand persons have died in the fighting since the violence escalated seven months ago.