German FM urges Lebanese factions to avoid using arms to settle disputes

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier praised Sunday an Arab League-brokered agreement that ended Lebanon's prolonged political crisis and urged feuding factions to avoid using arms to settle political differences. Steinmeier spoke to reporters in Beirut after holding talks with Lebanese President Michel Suleiman. He was the first high ranking Western official to call on Suleiman at the Presidential Palace in suburban Baabda since the former army commander was elected president and sworn in on May 25. He also held talks with Western-backed Prime Minister Fuad Saniora who has been asked by Suleiman to form a national unity Cabinet in line with the Arab deal signed in Doha, Qatar, on May 21. "We consider the Doha agreement as a first step but a very important step to settle conflicts among the various factions in Lebanon," Steinmeier said.