French FM talks with leaders of Lebanese factions

French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner began talks Friday with Lebanon's rival factions as part of a French bid to end the deepening political crisis that threatens to rip the country apart, a government official reported. Kouchner's visit is a follow-up to a conference France hosted this month of Lebanon's 14 Christian and Muslim feuding factions, the official said. The foreign minister said at the time that the conference "broke the ice" but failed to produce any breakthrough in the eight-month deadlock between the Western-backed government and the Hizbullah-led opposition.