• Short Summary

    Lebanese Prime Minister Dr. Selim Al-Hoss made a brief visit to the Syrian capital of?

  • Description

    SV INT PAN Lebanese Prime Minister Selim Al-Hoss seated with President Hafez Al-Assad of Syria during talks PAN TO ministers ZOOM IN TO Al-Hoss PAN TO Assad AND ZOOM OUT

    On Sunday (25 December) following Dr. Hoss's return to Lebanon, 3,000 Palestinians marched through Beirut to protest against the peace talks taking place between Israel and Egypt. The marchers belonged to the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP). Syrian troops lined the route. Also in evidence were Palestinian commandos armed with Soviet-made assault rifles. On 11 December hardliners and moderates in the Palestinian movement staged a public reconciliation during a mass rally in the streets of Beirut. Dr. George Habash, head of the extremist Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO) leader Yasser Arafat appeared together. According to Reuters, Israel is now regarded as an active political force in Lebanon. The most obvious evidence of this is in the hills of Southern Lebanon, where a small army of Palestinian guerrillas and their Lebanese leftist allies until recently had regular clashes with Israeli-backed rightists, isolated in enclaves strung along the border. Israel has openly declared its commitment to defending, what it calls, the "beleaguered Maronite Christian minority" in the area from its Civil War enemies.

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    Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved

    Background: Lebanese Prime Minister Dr. Selim Al-Hoss made a brief visit to the Syrian capital of Damascus on Saturday (24 December) for talks with President Hafez Al-Assad. Official sources in Beirut said the two leaders discussed the Middle East problem, the situation in south Lebanon and relations between their two countries. The talks were also attended by the Syrian Prime Minister General Abdel-Rahman Khuleifawi.

    SYNOPSIS: With 30,000 Syrian troops still in Lebanon, President Assad is very much a key figure in Lebanese politics, as are the various Palestinian factions based in the country. The visit of Dr. Hoss to Damascus comes at a time when the Lebanese Government, with Syrian support, is striving to restore peace and stability within its borders. According to the London Times newspaper, Syria's military presence is the most important factor in Lebanon today, and the only guarantee of stability for the foreseeable future. On his return to Beirut Dr. Hoss went straight to the Presidential Palace to report to President Elias Sarkis.

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