Lebanon's Aoun seeks ex-foe's release

Lebanese Christian opposition leader General Michel Aoun has called for the immediate release of his one-time foe, jailed Christian leader Samir Geagea.

    Opposition leader Michel Aoun visited Samir Geagea in jail

    Aoun's call on Wednesday came after he paid a visit to Geagea in his cell at the Defence Ministry.

    "Keeping him in prison is an injustice ... I declare my solidarity with him until he is released," Aoun told reporters after the one-hour meeting.

    "The visit lays the foundations for a new relationship within the democratic process we are witnessing today, and within the framework of letting go of the past which is now part of history," Aoun said at a news conference later on Wednesday.

    He described the meeting with Geagea as "cheerful" and positive.

    Aoun and Geagea, former leader of the now-defunct Lebanese Forces militia, fought a savage war for control of the Christian heartland in the final days of the 1975-90 civil war in which about 800 people were killed.

    Aoun, who returned from 14 years of exile in Paris this month, said the meeting symbolised a new beginning.

    The meeting, their first in more than 15 years, highlights the substantial changes in Lebanon's politics since the 14 February assassination of former prime minister Rafik al-Hariri and 20 others in a massive bombing in Beirut.



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