In Lebanon, President Elias Sarkis began discussions with political leaders on Tuesday (22 May) in an effort to form a new government of national unity, capable of tackling the country's protracted political crisis.
SCU Bechir Gemayel, Commander of Rightist Militia
SCU Walid Jumblatt, leader of Progressive socialist Party speaking in English in Beirut (2 shots)
GEMAYEL: "The government we would like to see is a government able to really lead the country to get out of the nightmare we are facing for almost five years now. I think that what we should ask for and hope to see as a government now in Lebanon is a government with clear ideas, a clear motivation with clean and strong people inside the government who will be able to lead us for the best."
RACHED: "Mr. Walid Jumblatt, the discussions have started today for the formation of the new government, what is your position, the position of your party?"
JUMBLATT: "Well up to now we have not taken any definite, definitive position on this issue. But we think that the problem in Lebanon is not a ministerial crisis, the problem is far more complicated and far more ambiguous than to resolve it in a ministerial ... a new government, a new ministerial government. This is why, I think, in my opinion, the President of the Republic should have proposed a political solution for Lebanon, based on certain basic principles, as the unity of Lebanon, as the sovereignty of Lebanon, independence of Lebanon and at the same time the condemnation, the total condemnation of those who collaborated with Israel."
RACHED: "So in other terms you don't think that those efforts actually will lead to anything?"
JUMBLATT: "Well it might lead to the formation of a new government, I hope so, but it won't solve the basic problem of Lebanon. This is why I'm a little bit pessimistic as usual. It won't solve the problem of the Palestinians in Lebanon, it won't solve the problem of those who are collaborating actually with Israel. This is why a definite stand should be taken by the Presidency, by the authorities now in power."
REPORTER: SOUHEIL RACHED
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Background: In Lebanon, President Elias Sarkis began discussions with political leaders on Tuesday (22 May) in an effort to form a new government of national unity, capable of tackling the country's protracted political crisis. Violent clashes between left and right-wing forces continued and Israel launched a new series of raids on Palestinian strongholds in south-ern Lebanon. The latest formula to end the fighting and inter-party feuding emerged from the summit meeting between President Sarkis and Syrian President Hafez Al-Assad. Prime Minister Selim Al-Hoss resigned following those talks and his cabinet of technocrats is to be replaced by a government representing all of Lebanon's Moslem-leftist and right-wing Christian factions. Bechir Gemayel, the commander of the rightist militia and son of Pierre Gemayel, leader of the Falange Party, expressed a clear idea of what he expected from a new government when he talked to a Visnews reporter in Beirut on Tuesday (22 May). But Walid Jumblatt, the leader of the Progressive Socialist Party, was pessimistic about the chances of the success of the new government.