Syrian and Lebanese official teams, led by Foreign Ministers, met in the small Lebanese town of Chtaura on Saturday (August 11) in continuing attempts to seek a solution to the dispute in which the two countries' common border has been closed.
GV's EXTERIOR Park Hotel, Chtaura, Lebanon. (2 shots)
SV Security guards.
CU INT. Cameraman.
CU PAN FROM Syrian Foreign Minister Abdel Halim Khaddam to Lebanese Foreign Minister Faud Naffah.
SV PAN Members of Lebanese delegation.
SV Khaddam and Naffah.
SV PAN Syrian delegation.
Initials VS. 1.53 VS.2.03
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Background: Syrian and Lebanese official teams, led by Foreign Ministers, met in the small Lebanese town of Chtaura on Saturday (August 11) in continuing attempts to seek a solution to the dispute in which the two countries' common border has been closed. The Syrian Government shut the border on May 8 at the height of the fighting between the Lebanese Army and Palestine guerrillas in Beirut, the Lebanese capital. The move, in support for the Palestinians, blocked traditional Lebanese land routes to Arabia. It forced exporters to use more expensive air-freight to get their produce -- much of it perishable citrus fruit -- to customers in Jordan, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states.
Saudi Arabia alone buys 45 per cent of Lebanese exports, while Jordan takes 17 per cent. But one outcome of the dispute may be a permanent Lebanese export route around Syria -- and a cheaper one. For a new plan, reported on Saturday as the talks were continuing, could be cheaper than routes through Syria. It provides for a sea passage to the Egyptian port of Alexandria; an overland haul to the Suez Gulf port of Adabiya, still in Egypt; and a sea passage to the Saudi Arabian port of Jeddah. Although the eight-day journey would add about 420 miles (600 kilometres) to the Syrian route, it could well cost less, claim Lebanese exporters.
According to reports quoters a lebanese economist, the border closure has cost Lebanon seven per cent of its national income.