• Short Summary

    INTRODUCTION: American and Soviet diplomats were increasing their efforts on Thursday (7 May) to resolve the crisis between Syria and Israel.

  • Description

    GV Troops patrolling hills (3 shots)

    LV Troops walking on hills

    SV Soldiers stacking rocks for machinegun emplacements (3 shots)

    GV PAN TO SV Soldiers placing machinegun on rocks, soldier lies down behind rocks

    SV PAN AROUND Soldiers with machineguns behind rocks

    Initials BB


    Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved

    Background: INTRODUCTION: American and Soviet diplomats were increasing their efforts on Thursday (7 May) to resolve the crisis between Syria and Israel. At the same time, the Damascus government remained defiant about the deployment of its anti-aircraft missiles in Lebanon's eastern Bekaa Valley. The Syrian government newspaper, Tishrin, said Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin had made provocative statements about Syria, threatening attacks against Lebanon on the eve of a U.S. envoy's arrival in the area. Before the crisis started, a peace plan was drawn up by the Syrians, Lebanon's government and the Lebanese Christian militia. The plan would loosen the Syrian hold on Zahle, but leave its troops controlling most of the Bekaa Valley. The Christian militia would withdraw from Zahle, with Lebanese regular troops moving into the vacuum.

    SYNOPSIS: Since then, Lebanon army units have been reinforcing their positions in the mountains near Zahle. A senior officer said on Wednesday (6 May) the force would be moving forward to new positions within a few days.

    While these manoeuvres took place, Israel was demanding the removal of the SAM-6 ground-to-air missiles set up by Syrian peacekeeping forces in the Bekaa Valley. The rockets were sent there after Israel shot down two Syrian helicopters in the region. The Israeli government described the missiles as a provocation, and hinted at sending jet fighters to destroy them unless diplomatic efforts were successful. Reports from Beirut say Syrian had reinforced its 30,000 troops in Lebanon and achieved a state of readiness.

    Both the United States and the Soviet Union have begun talks aimed at preventing a major clash between Israel and Syria. Soviet First Deputy Foreign Minister Georgy Korniyenko started his talks in Damascus on Thursday (7 May) with Syria's Foreign Minister Abdel-Halem Khaddam, and was due to meet President Hafez al-Assad. Washington's envoy, Philip Habib, was due to begin his talks on Friday (8 May) with Lebanese government leaders and heads of political parties. Although the Damascus government says Mr. Habib is welcome to come to hear the Syrian viewpoint, the country's newspapers have accused the United States of backing the Israelis in the dispute. Meanwhile, tension continues, with Israeli jets breaking the sound barrier over Beirut on Thursday (7 May) and flying over the Bekaa Valley.

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    Media URN:
    Reuters - Source to be Verified
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