A sixteen member delegation of lack American leaders arrived in Lebanon on Monday (17 September) to get a first hand look at the situation in the country's troubled southern districts.
SV American black delegation dow aircraft steps
CU of member of the U.S. delegation
CU Dr. Joseph Lowery speaking in English
CU congressman Walter Fontroy speaking in English
LOWERY: "We have come to Lebanon at the invitation of Mr. Yasser Arafat, Chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization, and with the encouragement, the blessing and the official welcome of the Lebanese government. We come to continue a dialogue we started on August twentieth at our meeting at the United Nations with Mr. Terzi the PLO observer to the United Nations. We also come with the very high priority of seeking a better understanding of the impact of the Middle East crisis upon the lives of the Lebanese people. From the prospective of face-to-face contact with them and their leaders."
REPORTER: "Do you sense any change in the feeling of the American black community in the in the U.S. towards the PLO in the last few weeks?"
LOWREY: "No, I don't think anything is more powerful than an idea whose time has come. And I think a number of factors and circumstances have converged to make this the time to support peace in the Middle East in a more (indistinct) way. And so we believe that all of those who are involved in this crisis, all of those who have a stake in this trouble, should be represented in the negotiations on peace. We believe that the Palestinian people represent - as they have determined - should be represented in the negotiations for peace. So we support open communication, we support talks by all the persons who are involved, towards unification and that is where we stand in terms of all of those who are involved in the Middle East crisis."
FONTROY: "While I am a member of the Congress of the United States I come with Dr. Lowery to Lebanon as the Chairman of the Board of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) not as a defective diplomat, but as an ambassador of goodwill, committed to a ministry of reconciliation. We come with a deeply rooted determination to appeal to all parties to end the violence and to recognise the human rights of all people as a first step towards achieving a just and lasting peace, throughout this holy region, the Middle East."
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Background: A sixteen member delegation of lack American leaders arrived in Lebanon on Monday (17 September) to get a first hand look at the situation in the country's troubled southern districts. Led by American Congressman Walter Fontroy, the delegation is made up of members of American churches groups and is expected to hold high level meetings with Lebanese President Elias Sarkis, and Prime Minister Salim Al-Hoss.
SYNOPSIS: Included in the sixteen member group is Mr. Joseph Lowery, the head of the U.S. Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) - a powerful voice both in religious and political circles in the United States.