The Arab world is currently trying to take urgent action to solve a major rift which threatens its unity -- the dispute between Syria and Iraq over sharing the life-giving waters of the River Euphrates.
LV ZOOM INTO GV Euphrates
LV ZOOM INTO GV AND MV Water buffalo at pools of water in river bed (2 shots)
GV Part of river showing sandbanks and low water level
LV Dried up bed ZOOM TO Buffalo and people in water
LV PAN AND MV FROM Dried bed to trickle of water beneath bridge (2 shots)
GV PULL BACK Dried up river ZOOM TO ditto showing stranded boats (2 shots)
GV PAN Irrigation channels
GV ZOOM TO SV AND PAN People queueing at water tanker (2 shots)
Initials CL/2000 CL/2030
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Background: The Arab world is currently trying to take urgent action to solve a major rift which threatens its unity -- the dispute between Syria and Iraq over sharing the life-giving waters of the River Euphrates.
This week, the matter's been under discussion in Cairo, where Foreign Ministers making up the Arab League Council met to try and hammer out a solution to the dispute.
As a result, a six-nation technical committee has been formed to look into the counter-accusations flowing between the two countries. But the Cairo meeting did little to lessen the acrimony between Syria and Iraq.
Iraqi Foreign Minister Saadoun Hammadi said at once that the new committee's chance of success was almost nil, since its findings were not binding on the two countries.
Earlier, both disputing sides accused each other of using the Euphrates issue for political ends. Syria claimed Iraq was collaborating with "American imperialism" to exert pressure on Damascus. Iraq counter-charged that Syria was inciting the three million disgruntled Iraqis living around the Euphrates to rise against their government.
During the Cairo meeting, the Arab League Council appealed to both sides to end their present propaganda war against each other. And in view of this, Editors should note that this official film from Baghdad shows only the Iraqi side of the dispute.
Iraq claims that Syria is withholding the necessary flow of water down the Euphrates, now that the river is harnessed by the Tabqa Dam in Syria. Supplies are now so low in the Euphrates basin, says Baghdad, that farmers in the area are having to be supplied by water tanker.