Lebanon resume dialogue on Hezbollah arms (AFP) AGENCE FRANCE PRESSE) 06/11/12)
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Lebanon´s rival political leaders on Monday resumed talks aimed at
tackling the thorny issue of Hezbollah´s weapons, against a backdrop
of mounting tension over the turmoil in neighbouring Syria.
The so-called National Dialogue, chaired by President Michel Sleiman,
resumed after an 18 months suspension.
Monday´s session was set to address the arsenal of the Shiite
militant group Hezbollah, considered the most powerful military force
in the country.
However one key member of the opposition, Lebanese Forces leader
Samir Geagea, boycotted the meet on grounds the dialogue was futile
and unlikely to address the weapons of Hezbollah, which is backed by
Iran and Syria.
Other opposition members and local media have also expressed
scepticism, saying the talks were only aimed at defusing mounting
tension in Lebanon over the Syria uprising.
"The dialogue starts with no illusions," said the Arabic-language
daily As-Safir. "This is just a photo-op of the rival leaders to calm
The talks were also to address disarming Palestinian factions outside
Lebanon´s 12 refugee camps. The army does not enter the camps by long-
The National Dialogue was launched in 2006 but has been adjourned
repeatedly because of successive political crises.
Sleiman urged a resumption following deadly sectarian clashes in
recent weeks linked to the uprising in Syria.
Lebanon´s political parties are deeply divided over the 15-month
revolt in Syria, with the Western-backed opposition supporting the
uprising and Hezbollah, which plays a key role in the government,
backing the regime of President Bashar al-Assad.
Hezbollah considers its weapons to be a legitimate defence against
Israel, whereas the opposition believes that the state should have
the monopoly on arms and decisions concerning war and peace.
On Saturday, the opposition said that if the latest round of talks
was not beneficial, it would push for a new government. (Copyright ©
2012 Agence France Presse. 06/11/12)
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