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Lebanon resume dialogue on Hezbollah arms (AFP) AGENCE FRANCE PRESSE) 06/11/12)Source: http://news.yahoo.com/lebanon-resume-dialogue-hezbollah-arms-144316249.html;_ylt=AqQ0AWmkVfNBgJt5btQA0l61qHQA;_ylu=X3oDMTQ4dDgyOTV2BG1pdANUb3BTdG9yeSBXb3JsZFNGIE1pZGRsZUVhc3RTU0YEcGtnAzRhNmVlOTM4LTIyNmMtM2EzNy1hN2Y5LWYxYzA0NzYxMDAyZgRwb3MDOQRzZWMDdG9wX3N0 AFP} Agence France Presse AFP} Agence France Presse Articles-Index-TopPublishers-Index-Top
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 tensions."

The talks were also to address disarming Palestinian factions outside Lebanon´s 12 refugee camps. The army does not enter the camps by long- standing convention.

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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