INTRODUCTION: International leaders have become increasingly concerned about the gravity of the renewed fighting in Lebanon.
GV Prime Minister's Office
CU Prime Minister Menachem Begin being asked question, and he answers
SV INTERIOR West Beirut hospital, wounded person lying in bed (6 shots)
GV Street scene
GV & SV Damage to WAFA news agency office (3 shots)
SV Burnt-out cars in street outside WAFA agency (2 shots)
GV Damage done by Israeli bombing at Abbasieh (4 shots)
SV Damaged car
SPEECH ON FILM (TRANSCRIPT)
DICKSON: (SEQ. 2) "Has the Syrian activity recently substantially altered the strategic position....?"
BEGIN: "....altered the position because they used the helicopters, both French and Soviet-provided, and they killed very many Christians (indistinct) Lebanon from the point of view of the Christians. And the Christians now face a very great danger. We have a moral obligation to come to their rescue. And we will come to the rescue."
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: In Beirut, Syrian and Lebanese leaders met with leftist politicians on Wednesday (29 April) for the second day in a row, for talks aimed at bringing peace to Lebanon. Lebanese President Elias Sarkis and visiting Syrian Foreign Minister Abdel-Halim Khaddam heard the views of the leftist leaders, after having met the previous day with rightist leaders and a team representing moderate Moslems -- four former Lebanese Prime Ministers, who all uttered some optimism about prospects of success. Political analysts in Beirut say the latest fighting flared up because Syria is worried about forestalling a joint attack or its western flank by Israelis and their Christian allies.
REPORTER: DON DICKSON
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: INTRODUCTION: International leaders have become increasingly concerned about the gravity of the renewed fighting in Lebanon. In Washington on Wednesday (29 April), the United States Secretary of State, Mr. Alexander Haig, called upon the Soviet Union to help defuse what he called a "very worrisome' situation in Lebanon. Egypt's Deputy Foreign Minister Boutros Boutros Ghali, in London the same day, condemned the latest Israeli activity in Lebanon as a threat to peace progress in the Middle East. He said Egypt's defence commitments to its fellow Arab states continued to take priority over the terms of the Camp David agreements between Israel and Egypt. In Jerusalem, a Foreign Ministry spokesman said on Wednesday (29 April) his government would week clarification of Dr. Ghali's remarks. It these remarks were correct, the spokesman said, they were a violation of the Camp David agreements. Israeli planes shot down two Syrian military helicopters over central Lebanon on Tuesday (28 April), but the Israeli Prime Minister, Mr. Menachem Begin, said on television the same evening this action was not a declaration of war. The Israelis have accused the Syrians of trying to liquidate all Christians in Lebanon.
SYNOPSIS: Mr. Begin spoke separately with Don Dickson of Visnews.
Christian wounded are being treated at this hospital in West Beirut. The rightwing Lebanese Falangist Party militia and the mainly Syrian troops of the Arab Deterrent Force (ADF) have been locked in heavy combat for the past four weeks.
On Tuesday (28 April), rival factions exchanged heavy artillery fire in the capital. The offices of the Palestinian News Agency WAFA were seriously damaged. Residents of West Beirut said it suffered its worst shelling since the civil war ended five years ago.
Israeli aircraft have bombed the coastal town of Abbasieh, between Sidon and Tyre. Mr. Begin has said that Christian communities would be wiped out if the Syrians took Jounieh, but Israel could not permit this to happen.