Rival Lebanese factions meet to defuse tensions

September 24, 2008 18:09


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Lebanon's state-run news agency says rival Lebanese factions have met to defuse sectarian tensions in the country. The tensions spiked with fighting in May between Shi'ite Hizbullah guerillas and Sunni loyalists that killed 81 people and nearly plunged Lebanon into another civil war. An Arab-brokered deal defused the crisis and installed a power-sharing government. Wednesday's meeting between pro-Western parliament majority leader Saad Hariri and five Hizbullah lawmakers was the first face-to-face encounter between the factions since the 2006 Hizbullah-Israel war, when all Lebanese rallied behind the guerilla group. It sought to set the stage for a landmark reconciliation between Hariri and Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah.

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