Hundreds of young people turned out to welcome the Bulgarian President, Todor Zhivkov, at a youth rally in Damascus on Wednesday (23 April).
GV President Hafez al-Assad and President Todor Zhivkov Walk into rostrum to applause from delegates and salute (2 shots)
GV Girls wave flags and banners and crowds applaud and boys wave rubber balls (2 shots)
GV President al-Assad and President Zhivkov receive bouquets
GV PAN Youth delegates chanting and waving
SV President al-Assad speaking in Arabic
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Background: Hundreds of young people turned out to welcome the Bulgarian President, Todor Zhivkov, at a youth rally in Damascus on Wednesday (23 April). President Zhivkov, who is on an official visit to Syria, was accompanied b the country's President Hafez al-Assad.
SYNOPSIS: When the two leaders arrived at the rally, there was no sign of the growing tension in Syria over opposition to President al-Assad's Ba?athist government. The President is a member of the Alawite Moslem sect and dissatisfaction at the sect's influence in Government has been evident.
But both President al-Assad and the Bulgarian leader were warmly received by the young people, who presented a colourful display of marching and exercises before a large crowd.
Bulgaria's leader is regarded as one of the Soviet Union's closest allies in eastern Europe. Most of his discussions with President al-Assad involved the problem of Palestinian autonomy and the deadlocked talks between Egypt and Israel.
The Syrian President is a staunch opponent of the peace agreement between Egypt and Israel. But his talks with President Zhivkov also concerned relations between their two countries. The Bulgarian leader's visit follows a recent trip to Damascus by his Deputy Prime Minister to discuss economic affairs. In recent years there has been a decrease in foreign investment in Syria. Prices have soared and inflation has now reached an annual rate of thirty percent. President al-Assad's Government has had to introduce price-fixing legislation, which has aggravated tension between some groups.