INTRODUCTION: President Hafez al-Assad of Syria has been conferring with his Middle East neighbours on the eve of a visit to the Soviet Union to discuss the international peace proposals for an Arab-Israeli final settlement.
SV INTERIOR: crown Prince Hassan of Jordan (left) talking to President Hafez al-Assad of Syria at Foreign Ministry, Damascus, Syria.
LV INTERIOR: al-Assad (left) seated with Lebanese Foreign Minister Fuad Butros of Lebanon (centre) and Syrian Foreign Minister Abdul-Halim Khaddam (right)
SV: Butros and Assad talking PAN TO Khaddam watching
CU EXTERIOR: Egyptian Vice-President Hosni Mubarak out of aircraft and greeted.
SVs: Mubarak (left) and Syrian official on reviewing stand and Mubarak reviewing guard of honour. (5 shots)
CU: Mubarak shaking hands with officials.
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: INTRODUCTION: President Hafez al-Assad of Syria has been conferring with his Middle East neighbours on the eve of a visit to the Soviet Union to discuss the international peace proposals for an Arab-Israeli final settlement. Before leaving, he saw high-level delegations from Jordan, Syria and Egypt.
SYNOPSIS: The first visitor, was the bearded Crown Prince Hassan, heir to the Jordanian throne. The prince had come to Damascus on a three-day visit at the head of a senior delegation. His talks underscored how Jordan and Syria appear to have developed a smoother relationship on the subject of Palestine. During his visit, Prince Hassan said that the old issue of Jordanian-Palestinian contacts did not affect the current peace moves. Jordan, he said, supported the Palestine Liberation Organisation in advocating Palestinians' rights to their land.
The following day President Assad met Lebanese Foreign Minister Faud Butros (in the centre), and Syrian Foreign Minister Abdul-Halim Khaddam. Their discussions included an appraisal of ways to defuse the dangers in southern Lebanon. Just before Mr Butros's visit, fighting broke out again in the region, and the Israelis warned they would not tolerate the presence of the largely Syrian peacekeeping force there. The leaders also spoke at length on ways to speed up the search for a political foundation in Lebanon on which the civil war factions could get together. Mr. Butros said a return to normal life there was vital.
On Thursday Egyptian Vice-President Hosni Mubarak touched down in Damascus -- the first stop in his tour of twelve Arab countries and Iran. President Anwar Sadat of Egypt has charged him with the job of briefing leaders in all the interested countries on the outcome of the President's recent talks in West Germany, France and the United States on the Middle East crisis. President Sadat's Washington visit was the first in a series of top level contacts this month between Israel's Arab neighbours and the two superpowers -- the Soviet Union and the United States.
Mr Mubarak was among the last of the Arab delegates to confer with Mr Assad before the Syrian president's departure from Moscow on Monday (18 April).