INTRODUCTION: Palestinian leaders opened an important policy-making conference in Damascus, Syria, on Saturday (11 April).
GV Arafat presents Al-Assad with present ZOOM IN TO present
CU Arafat kissing Assad
CU & SVs Arafat and delegates (3 shots)
CU & SVs Assad and Arafat listening to speaker (2 shots)
GV Delegates applauding
CU Assad speaking in Arabic/GV audience listening (2 shots)
CU & SLOW PULL OUT Assad speaking
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Background: INTRODUCTION: Palestinian leaders opened an important policy-making conference in Damascus, Syria, on Saturday (11 April). It was the 15th session of the Palestine National Council (PNC), the Palestine parliament in exile.
SYNOPSIS: Syrian President Hafez Al-Assad welcomed the leader of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO), Mr. Yasser Arafat, and officially opened the council session at Damascus University. It was the first such meeting in two years. The previous council meeting came only two months before the United States-backed Camp David peace accords between Israel and Egypt.
One of the main objectives facing more than 300 delegates at the conference was the drawing up of a new Palestinian strategy to combat the Camp David peace process, which the new American administration of President Reagan has vowed to pursue.
In his opening address President Al-Assad attacked what he called American imperialism for trying to whip up animosity against the Soviet Union. He described the Soviet Union as a friendly country which supported the Arab cause. He asked what good could come from American policy under the country's new administration when it was a policy which had so deteriorated in its hostility to the Arabs as to become explicitly governed by the policy of Israel.