'Deal reached' on Lebanon impasse

Negotiators hope to ease tensions between government and Hezbollah-led opposition.

    The Qatari foreign minister, left, proposed further talks to be held in Qatar [AFP]
    "The Arab League mission opens a window for a solution," a senior Lebanese political source said.
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    Lebanon's Al-Akhbar newspaper, which is close to the opposition, called the mission the "last chance for compromise or chaos".

    Further talks planned

    Al Jazeera's Rula Amin, reporting from Beirut, said that the opposition will back down completely from its standoff with the government when the decisions are revoked.

    She said: "These are the conditions they have made, and they will stick by them."

    The Qatari foreign minister, Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabr Al-Thani, also suggested that he host a round-table discussion in which all parties can be discuss their grievances in Qatar.

    Hezbollah and its allies last week routed government supporters and briefly seized control of large parts of Beirut, before handing them over to the army.
    The Lebanese army continued to patrol throughout the country on Wednesday with orders to use force to restore security if necessary, security officials said.
    Amin also reported that opposition bulldozers had partially opened the road to the airport to allow the delegation through.
    "There is some optimism that their visit will bring a literal end to this crisis," she said.
    "A deal had been finalised and what we are waiting for now is for the government to meet today and revoke their decisions and when they do that, the opposition is going to fully open the road to the airport."
    The Arab League delegation was led by Sheikh Hamad and Amr Moussa, the secretary-general of the Arab League.
    Street battles
    A decision by the government to ban Hezbollah's private communications network and a move to fire Beirut airport's security chief, who is close to the group, sparked the violence last week, the worst in Lebanon since the 1975-90 civil war.
    Six days of fighting left at least 65 people dead and around 200 people wounded.
    Opposition fighters pulled back after the army reversed the government decisions.
    Senior US security officials said Washington plans to intensify its pressure on Syria and Iran over their alleged support for Hezbollah's moves against the Lebanese government.
    George Bush, the US president, who arrived in Israel on Wednesday, warned Iran and Syria on the eve of his trip that world powers would not allow Lebanon to fall under foreign domination and vowed to shore up the Lebanese military.
    Washington also said it was expecting the UN Security Council to take action next week over the unrest.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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