Arab Foreign Ministers have been meeting near Beirut, Lebanon to try to find a solution to the crisis in the Lebanon.
GV PULL BACK Meeting place Beiteddin.
GV Delegates arriving as soldiers watch. (3 SHOTS)
SV Other delegates arriving.
SV Delegates leaving, including Lebanese Foreign Minister Faud Boutros.
CU Boutros speaking in French.
GV President Sarkis' motorcade arrives and he enters building. (2 SHOTS)
On Tuesday (17 November), trouble spread to the volatile southern border region when Israeli-backed militias abducted four Lebanese army officers from a UN camp and destroyed a helicopter. A UN spokesman said later that three Israeli army officers had been identified among the militiamen, who had been demanding that the UN force send more troops to the capital to defend their Christian comrades.
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Background: Arab Foreign Ministers have been meeting near Beirut, Lebanon to try to find a solution to the crisis in the Lebanon. On Tuesday (17 October), they completed three days of talks with a call for the authority of the Lebanese government to be strengthened as a basis for resolving the country's prolonged crisis.
SYNOPSIS: The ministers met at the historic palace at Beiteddin. Delegates included the Foreign Ministers of Saudi Arabia, Syria, Kuwait and Lebanon, as well as representatives from Qatar, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the Sudan. As the emergency conference began on Sunday, sporadic shelling and sniping threatened the uneasy truce in Beirut between Christian militias and Syrian troops, who dominate the Arab League Deterrent Force (ADF), the peacekeeping force set up by the Arab States.
The Ministers are expected to the announce urgent measures for tackling the Lebanese crisis. Conference sources reported a mood of cautious optimism as the ministers were winding up their talks.
Delegates, including Lebanese Foreign Minister Faud Boutros, leave the palace.
Monsieur Boutros was not prepared to commit himself further than to say that he hoped the delegates had found a practical and effective solution, and that the way to a lasting peace would not be blocked. He also said that a formal announcement would be made giving details of the outcome conference.
Sources said that Lebanese President Elias Sarkis wants to reduce tension in the battle zones by replacing the Syrians with other ADF or Lebanese army soldiers, but no evidence has emerged that his proposals have been accepted. It is understood that the Syrians are unwilling to lift their siege of militiamen cut off in East Beirut, while other contributing countries are equally reluctant to send their men to the front lines.
President Sarkis also attended several smaller group meetings.