The United States' Sixth Fleet has arrived off the Lebanese coast near Beirut ready to evacuate an estimated 6,000 Palestinian guerrillas from the city.
(SOUND) GV U.S. Sixth Fleet off coast of Beirut. (5 SHOTS)
GV More US ships. (2 SHOTS)
(MUTE) Jerusalem: GV Military leaders arriving at Knesset.
(SOUND): SV INTERIOR Prime Minister Begin walks across room and talks to reporter (English SOT).
Vatican City: SV Pope John Paul speaking (Italian SOT) to general audience.
TRANSCRIPT: REPORTER: (SEQ 5) "Are you optimistic about agreement now?"
BEGIN: "We are always optimistic, born an optimist."
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: The United States' Sixth Fleet has arrived off the Lebanese coast near Beirut ready to evacuate an estimated 6,000 Palestinian guerrillas from the city. The Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) forces are understood to have accepted the inevitability of leaving the city as they are surrounded by Israeli troops. But PLO leader Yasser Arafat has refused to use the US Fleet to carry out the withdrawal. The United States is also willing to send marines to form part of a peacekeeping force in the area. But the Soviet Union has warned President Reagan against landing US troops on Lebanese soil. Meanwhile Prime Minister Menachem Begin is insisting that the PLO must retain no political or military presence in Beirut. On July 7, Mr. Begin met military leaders in Jerusalem and told reporters afterwards that he was optimistic about a peaceful settlement. Such hopes were also reflected in a general audience given by Pope John Paul in the Vatican City on July 7. The Pontiff prayed for peace in Lebanon and urged pilgrims and tourists at the weekly audience to pray for a speedy end to the conflict. The Pope said the Lebanese should be able to regain and consolidate their national unity, there should be justice for the Palestinians and security and peace for all interested parties.