INTRODUCTION: After being unable to meet for the past ten weeks because of fighting in the streets of Beirut, Lebanon's Parliament reconvened Thursday 918 June) and approved the national budget.
GV Lebanese Parliament and flag. (2 SHOTS)
SV Security men cleaning up streets after latest troubles. (2 SHOTS)
GV Police standing in street talking.
SV Soldiers on street. (2 SHOTS)
GV Cars passing through police checkpoint.
SV Police and soldiers standing in roadway.
GV PAN Police patrol car passing through streets.
GV Police in street. (2 SHOTS)
SV PULL BACK TO GV Damaged Museum.
SV PAN Electricity workmen repairing lines outside damaged building.
SV PULL BACK TO GV Bomb-damaged buildings PAN TO GV deserted streets.
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Background: INTRODUCTION: After being unable to meet for the past ten weeks because of fighting in the streets of Beirut, Lebanon's Parliament reconvened Thursday 918 June) and approved the national budget. Strict security was enforced for the session, with the 63 deputies arriving by a special route. Security was provided by lebanese police, who now control the checkpoints, not Christian Falangists, Palestinians, or Syrians.
SYNOPSIS: Security men and troops occupied buildings overlooking the Parliament, after gunmen of rival factions withdrew.
The fact that parliament was able to meet is regarded as another hopeful sign that the ceasefire that has now more or less held in Lebanon for over two weeks, could become more permanent.
A communique said "all parties involved have pledged to abide by the ceasefire, over the entire territory". But it also indicates no agreement was reached to end the fighting that has erupted periodically in Lebanon since the 1975-76 civil war. The Foreign Ministers of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait an Syria are due to meet in Saudi Arabia next Tuesday (23 June) to prepare another conference next month between Christian President Sarkis and Premier Wazzan, a Moslem.
The Syrian-Christian fighting led to the Israeli-Syrian missile crisis, that threatens a new Arab-Israeli war. Most of the numerous ceasefires over the two and a half months since the Syrians and Christians began fighting have been brief.
Earlier this month, both factions agreed not to shell residential areas. Until then, the people of Beirut had remained indoors, fearing they could fall victim to a tray hell. At least 644 Lebanese have been reported killed in the fighting in Zahle and Beirut. Syria has not announced its casualties.
President Reagan's envoy Philip Habib has made four visits to Beirut in recent weeks on his mission to try to avert conflict over the missile sites. During that time, the U.S. diplomat has toured other parts of Lebanon, Syria, Israel and Saudi Arabia... meeting with leaders in those countries. His quest for peace in the region coincided with renewed Arab efforts to end the prolonged conflict and loss of life.