Nasrallah meets Hariri after two years

Meeting between Hizbullah chief, Sunni legislator consolidates Qatari-led agreement between factions.

October 27, 2008 15:41
1 minute read.
Nasrallah meets Hariri after two years

nasrallah hariri lovey dovey 224 88. (photo credit: AP)


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Hizbullah chief Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah and Sunni leader Saad Hariri met for the first time in over two years, according to Hizbullah's al-Manar television station. A statement issued by both parties after the Sunday night meeting stated that "there was an affirmation of national unity and civil peace and the need to take all measures to prevent tension ... and to reinforce dialogue and to avoid strife regardless of political differences." The mutual statement described the meeting, part of which was aired on the Hizbullah TV station, as "honest and open, and added that the two men would be "in mutual contact." Up until Qatari mediation in recent months brought about an agreement between the Lebanese factions, the two men were rivals whose political conflict threatened civil war on the small country. Hariri met with five Hizbullah lawmakers as part of the reconciliation process to ease sectarian strife a month ago, which was seen as a prelude to Sunday's face-to-face meeting. The issue of Hizbullah's weapons is still to be officially discussed in the framework of a national dialogue to be held under the direction of Lebanese President Michel Suleiman. Following government measures taken to curb the group, Hizbullah-led opposition fighters clashed with Sunni loyalists in May this year, and seized control over swaths of West Beirut, in the worst violence in the capital since Lebanon's 1975-1990 civil war. The fighting led to the signing of the Doha Agreement the same month between rival factions, marking the end of an 18-month long political crisis in Lebanon. In early September, rival groups signed an agreement to end sectarian violence between Sunnis and Alawites - an offshoot Shi'ite sect - that killed and wounded scores in recent months in the northern city of Tripoli. Brenda Gazzar and AP contributed to this report.

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