INTRODUCTION: Palestinian moderates have scored a clear victory over hard-liners opposed to a peaceful settlement of the Middle East crisis.
GV PAN DOWN EXTERIOR Arab League Head Quarters in Cairo.
SV: Arafat and Palestinian leaders welcoming Sadat.
SV PAN: people watching PAN TO flag.
GV PAN ROUND INTERIOR: delegates standing in reference hall.
SV ZOOM IN: Arafat and Sadat sit.
SV: delegates seated.
GV EXTERIOR: building league Head quarters.
SV: Farouk Kaddoumi and Said Kamal of the PLO enter.
SV PAN: Zohier Mohsen leader of Saaka arrives.
SV: Mahmoud El-Labadi.
CU: El-Labadi speaks in English and Arabic.
SV EXTERIOR: Congress President Khaled El-Fahoum leaves.
TRANSCRIPT: SEQ. 11: MAHMOUD EL-LABADI: "We are not optimistic because the Zionists are not willing to make any peace concessions and they are not willing to withdraw from the occupied territories because they are still arming themselves with the most sophisticated weapons from the western world and especially from the United States."
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: INTRODUCTION: Palestinian moderates have scored a clear victory over hard-liners opposed to a peaceful settlement of the Middle East crisis.
SYNOPSIS: The voting came at the first full session of the first full session of the Palestinian National Council - which opened at the headquarters of the Arab League in Cairo.
The council is the Palestinian's Parliament-in-exile, and it is meeting for the first time since 1974. PLO President Yasser Arafat and other Palestinian leaders welcomed Egypt's President Sadat, who spoke at the opening of the council. During its meetings the 300 delegates will have to decide whether the Palestinians are in favour of attending a summit conference on the Middle East in Switzerland later this year.
The moderate section of the delegates have already scored a clear victory over the 'rejection front' members of the council. They managed to re-elect Mr. Khaled Fahoum as speaker against hardline opposition by 172 votes to 69.
The result was a victory for Yasser Arafat - although the size of the hardline vote came as a surprise to observe. The "rejection front" oppose any peaceful solution of the conflict with Israel. In his speech, President Sadat told the council to explore every method they could to achieve their aims - while taking advantage of any chance for a settlement.
The main question facing the PLO leaders is their reaction to proposals for the creation of a Palestinian stage alongside Israel. President Sadat and others have urged them to create a state on the West Bank of the River Jordan and the Gaza strip, areas occupied by Israel since 1967.
The Council's spokesman, Mahmoud El-Labadi, was asked if he was hopeful about the settlement.
During the opening session, hardline members of the Council called on other delegates to stop talking about a peaceful settlement and instead step up the military operations against Israel. They circulated a memorandum saying the Palestinians should also work for the overthrow of Jordan's King Hussein and the government of Syria.
The council's President, Khaled El Faroum and other leaders will be trying to move the Palestinians closer to a peaceful settlement while still maintaining a united front to the outside world.