Lebanese Foreign Minister Fuad Butros returned to Beirut on Wednesday (1 March) after a 24 hour visit to Syria.
SV PAN Lebanese Foreign Minister Fuad Butors entering Syrian Foreign Ministry building in Damascus
CU PAN FROM Syrian Foreign minister Abdel Halim Khaddam TO Butros
GV ZOOM IN Flag flying on building
SV Syrian President Hafez al-Assad seated with Butros PAN TO Syrian Defence Minister Naji Jamil seated on right
SV Left to right Khaddam, Assad, Butros and Jamil seated talking
Leaders of the right-wing Lebanese Front held a meeting in Beirut on Tuesday to discuss their attitude to retaining the peacekeeping force. Among those who attended were former President Suleiman Franjieh, former Minister of Foreign Affairs and Defence Camille Chamoun and Phalangist leader Pierre Gemayel.
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Background: Lebanese Foreign Minister Fuad Butros returned to Beirut on Wednesday (1 March) after a 24 hour visit to Syria.
SYNOPSIS: On Tuesday (28 February) Mr. Butros went to the Foreign Ministry headquarters in Damascus for talks with his Syrian opposite number, Abdel Halim Khaddam. Observers in Beirut say the talks were seen as paving the way for a meeting between Syrian President Hafez al-Assad and Lebanese President Elias Sarkis. Another topic on the agenda was the renewal of the Syrian peace-keeping mandate in Lebanon.
Later on Tuesday the two foreign Ministers were joined by President Assad and Syrian Defence Minister General Naji Jamil. According to Reuters news agency Mr. Butros gave President Assad a message from President Sarkis, to which the Syrian leader replied. President Assad is reported to have stated that he will leave the decision on renewing the largely-Syrian Arab peace-keeping force in Lebanon entirely in the hands of President Sarkis. The 30,000 strong force entered the country 15 months ago. It mandate expires next month.