U.S. President Jimmy Carter and Syrian President Hafez Al-Assad explored the possibility of creating demilitarised?
GV Carter's motorcade arrives at meeting place in Geneva and Carter enters lobby. (2 shots)
SV PAN Carter and Assad walking into news conference.
GV Carter and Assad on rostrum.
CU Carter speaking while Assad listens. (5 shots)
SV Journalists watching as Assad speaks. (2 shots)
CU & SV Assad speaking as Carter listens. (3 shots)
CARTER: "President Assad has a great role to play because of his experience, the greatness of his country, his interest in and sensitivity about world affairs outside his region and because of his ability to bring together different people who have in the past been unfriendly towards one another and at odds. This is a year when we are blessed with strong and moderate leaders in the Middle Eastern region. I believe that it is a year of hope for substantial progress but it can only be achieved with close consultation, open minds and a determination to succeed in spite of very difficult obstacles."
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Background: U.S. President Jimmy Carter and Syrian President Hafez Al-Assad explored the possibility of creating demilitarised zones in the Middle East during talks in Geneva, on Monday (9 May). This would be as a means of protecting an eventual peace settlement between Israel and the Arab countries.
SYNOPSIS: Mr. Carter flew to Switzerland from London where he attended a seven-nation summit and a big-four meeting on Berlin. It is the first time that Mr. Carter and the Syrian leader have met. Both leaders expressed guarded optimism regarding progress about a Middle East peace agreement. But while President Carter is calling for flexibility and pinning his hopes for conciliation on what he calls "strong and moderate leaders in the Middle East" President Assad seems to be placing his faith in hopes that Mr. Carter will try to persuade Israel to make concessions to the Arabs. Mr. Carter's one-day meeting with President Assad is the fourth he has held with a Middle East leader since taking office in January. The two leaders addressed a news conference before their discussions began.
The journalists then heard a speech in Arabic from President Assad. He said in spite of difficulties in the past, Mr. Carter's expressions on Middle East peace had created an atmosphere of faith and an encouraging atmosphere of optimism. But later in his speech, Mr. Assad launched an attack on Israel. He said renewed war is threatened in the Middle East unless Israel withdraws its forces from occupied Arab territory and recognises the rights of the Palestinian people. President Carter also renewed his call for a homeland for Palestinians. However, he has not specified its precise form and has never spoken about a Palestinian "state".