Right-wing Christian Falangists on Tuesday (14 October) told the newly formed Lebanese Committee for National Dialogue that it should concentrate on restoring security before it tackled political and social reforms.
GV Government House.
SV Kamal Junblatt arriving at conference room.
SC Pierre Gemayel arrives.
SV Abdallah Yafi arrives.
SV Raymond Edde arrives.
SV Saeb Salam arrives.
SV Ghassan Tweini arrives.
SV Premier Karami at news conference and speaks to reporters as they make notes. (5 shots)
Initials VS 16.40 1020/1130
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Background: Right-wing Christian Falangists on Tuesday (14 October) told the newly formed Lebanese Committee for National Dialogue that it should concentrate on restoring security before it tackled political and social reforms.
The Committee, made up of twenty top politicians, was formed to try and iron out the differences between left and right-wing Moslems and Christians.
Bitter fighting between the two groups has left at least 545 people dead in the past six weeks.
After a relatively calm weekend, fighting flared again in the flash points of Beirut and the northern port of Tripoli on Monday.
The Falangists claim that restoring peace must be the Committee's first priority.
But their left-wing opponents, the Moslems, say that factional violence has been sparked by the very lack of social and political reforms and that peace cannot be achieved until reforms are made.
Lebanese Premier Rashid Karami met newsmen after the Committee's meeting and made a plea to his people to "redouble their efforts to achieve what we all want .... peace and security."
And in Cairo, the Arab League's Political Committee also met to try and find a solution to Lebanon's problems.
However, the meeting was boycotted by both Syria and the Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO). They claim the key issue in the Middle-East is the recent peace accord between Egypt and Israel. According to an official Syrian statement, the peace agreement forms "the background to the Lebanese developments."
SYNOPSIS: Government House, Beirut, was the scene of the seventh meeting of Lebanon's newly formed National Dialogue Committee on Tuesday. The Committee is made up of twenty of the country's leading politicians.
Pierre Gemayel, leader of the right-wing Christian Falangist group, was one of the most forceful spokesmen. He insisted that the Committee concentrate on restoring security before they tackled political and social reforms.
Factional violence between Mr. Gemayel's group and their left-wing Moslem opponents has left at least five-hundred-and-forty-five people dead in Lebanon in the past six weeks.
But the Committee meeting, held to try and find a solution to the violence , reached a stalemate when Moslem representatives claimed social and political reforms would have to be effected before the fighting could be stopped.
Lebanese Premier Rashid Karami attended the meeting and later held a news conference.
He made a plea for the Lebanese people to "redouble their efforts to achieve what we all want...peace and security."
He also read a note from the PLO, which claimed the organisation would try and deal with the problems facing Lebanon without the "use of force."