In Lebanon, the commander of the United Nations peace-keeping force and a senior U.N. representative?
In Lebanon, the commander of the United Nations peace-keeping force and a senior U.N. representative have been meeting with the country's government ministers to discuss the latest outbreak of fighting in the south. Four members of UNIFIL -- the United Nations Interim Forces in Lebanon -- were killed on Sunday (4 February) when their helicopter was brought down by ground-fire, and two others died in separate incidents.
SYNOPSIS: General Emmanuel Erskine, commander of U.N. forces in Lebanon, was welcomed to the meeting in Sidon by the Governor, Halim Fayyad. The meeting was called on Tuesday (6 February) to discuss the incident which was the culmination of a weekend of clashes between United Nations troops and Palestinian guerrillas.
The Sidon governor also received Interior Minister Salah Salman who arrived for the round-table discussion. A measure of the seriousness with which the United Nations views the incidents was the presence of U.N. Secretary General Kurt Waldheim's personal representative, John Saunders.
The United Nations representatives, seated on the right, had just received the official report on the helicopter incident in which four Norwegian U.N. soldiers died. The soldiers, two helicopter crewmen and two medical officers, were on their way to pick up a Fijian U.N troope??? who had been wounded in a battle in which two of his comrades were killed.
After the meeting the Interior Minister, Salah Salman, spoke to reporters in Arabic.
He talked of the U.N's concern over the flare-up of violence in South Lebanon but added that the "misunderstandings" were outside his particular sphere as Interior Minister.
He did say, however, that the Lebanese government has now taken steps to restore government authority to the area.
That means, he said, that the people of South Lebanon can look forward to the restoration of their disrupted health services, water and electricity supplies.
The government also hopes to re-open those schools that have closed and to make sure the civil police resume their duties.