Ghassan Tueni, a personal representative of Lebanese President Amin Gemayel, appealed to the U.N. Security Council today to help promote a cease-fire in his country.
In addition to the cease-fire, a draft resolution circulated to Security Council members by Tueni also called for the withdrawal of "all illegitimate foreign forces" from Lebanon and asked that the truce be monitored by officers of the U.N. Truce Supervision Organization [UNTSO], who are already stationed in the country.
Western diplomats said the appeal was designed to bolster the legitimacy of the Beirut government, and one noted that Tueni "is not really sure what he wants to achieve in the council."
The diplomat said the United States, Britain, France and Italy, which have units in the 5,400-man international peace-keeping force in Lebanon, had not initiated the meeting and felt that it would prove "peripheral to the situation on the ground," but would support the Lebanese position.
The council meeting, convened at Lebanon's request, heard Tueni's statement and then adjourned for consultations, which could take several days.
In his statement, Tueni called the cease-fire a vital first step toward the political reforms protested by Gemayel.
"Surely," he said, "no one can expect us to believe that the issues at stake can best be settled by the carnage that is now taking place." Tueni suggested that "by some somber design, it is division and not unity which is sought," involving "partitioning Lebanon beyond the multiple occupying forces."
He closed by urging support for those working to mediate a cease-fire, "which will enable the Lebanese to resume a national dialogue."