France's Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner brought together rival Lebanese leaders for lunch at the French Embassy on Sunday, describing the meeting as a "success" and an encouraging sign.
The meeting came a day after Kouchner warned that Lebanon could face a new civil war if its feuding political chiefs failed to resolve the crisis threatening to tear the country apart.
France, the former colonial power, has encouraged dialogue between the Western-backed government of Fuad Saniora and the Hizbullah-led opposition, which are locked in a fierce power struggle. Kouchner's visit to Beirut is a follow-up to a conference hosted by France earlier this month to restart dialogue among Lebanon's 14 Christian and Muslim feuding factions.
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