United States Secretary of State, Cyrus Vance, is continuing his current tour of the Middle East.
SV Vance sitting with Sarkis and Butros.
GV Vance arriving at Damascus Airport. (3 shots)
SV Vance entering hotel with Khaddam.
GV Khaddam and Vance sitting talking.
Initials VS 4.00
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: United States Secretary of State, Cyrus Vance, is continuing his current tour of the Middle East. His twelve day tour is aimed at gaining agreement of both Arabs and Israelis on the form of agenda for a resumption of Peace talks in Geneva.
SYNOPSIS: Mr. Vance stopped off briefly in Lebanon where he held talks with President Sarkis and Foreign Minister, mr. Fuad Butros. Earlier, President Sadat of Egypt and Mr. Vance had issued a joint statement agreeing on the setting up of a working group of Middle East Foreign Ministers to prepare an agenda for the peace conference. Mr. Vance stressed that the working group would consist of only what he termed "the confrontation states, "in the Arab-Israeli conflict. This would exclude the Palestinian Liberation Organisation, the PLO. The presence of the PLO at the peace conference has been a major stumbling block towards the resumption of the talks. However, Mr. Vance said the PLO question was still open to discussion.
After leaving Beirut, Mr. Vance flew to Damascus to face possible the most critical stop of his six- nation tour. Mr. Vance needs the approval of Syrian President, Mr. Hafaz Al-Assad, to decide the success or failure of the proposed preparatory foreign ministers' peace consultations.
The attitude of the Syrian President is expected to influence the decision of Jordan's King Hussein.
On his arrival in Damascus Mr. Vance was immediately taken to a meeting with Syrian Foreign Minister, Abdul-Halim Khaddam. The Foreign Minister reiterated to Mr. Vance President Assad's attitude to the Middle East situation. This was that Syria would not give up a single inch of the Arab territories taken by Israel during the 1967 war nor would it surrender any of the rights of the Palestinian Arab people. Mr. Vance later held closed talks with President Assad.