In southern Lebanon, thousands of villagers are reported to have fled their homes over the past month as tension in the area increases.
SCU: Lebanese flag ZOOM OUT TO Lebanese Prime Minister, Selim al-Hoss (in centre) speaking in Arabic with Social Affairs Minister, Nazem Kaderi, and Arab League representative Assad PAN TO other delegates at same table.
SV: Audience and delegates listening to speech by al-Hoss
SV: Delegates at conference table
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Background: In southern Lebanon, thousands of villagers are reported to have fled their homes over the past month as tension in the area increases. United Nations officials say they are concerned about alleged attacks on villages by Christian militias under the command of Major Sa'ad Haddad, who controls the territory between the Israeli border and the U.N. peacekeeping forces. The troubles of southern Lebanon were discussed in detail on Monday (21 January) at a meeting in Beirut attended by Arab social affairs ministers from Syria, the United Arab Emirates, Iraq, Qatar, Morocco, as well as Lebanon. Also at the meeting was a representative of the Arab League.
SYNOPSIS: The conference on south Lebanon was opened by Prime Minister, Selim al-Hoss, who discussed ways of strengthening the south against Israeli attacks. Mr. al-Hoss said the question of south Lebanon was a joint Arab cause and Arab solidarity with Lebanon was vital.
Lebanese government figures show that, in the last five years, two hundred and fifty thousand people have been driven from their homes in south Lebanon because of the fighting. Ten thousand homes have been destroyed and ten villages wrecked.
The Lebanese government is giving financial aid to seventy five thousand families in the south. The Arab League has promised Lebanon two billion (U.S.) dollars over the next five years to help in the country's reconstruction.