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Lahoud under pressure from Lebanese opposition

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Lahoud under pressure from Lebanese opposition

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The funeral of a victim of the Beirut bombing over two weeks ago has turned into another anti-government rally. The man’s body was only discovered this week, leaving his grieving family to claim he could have been saved. He died along with 17 others in the assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafik al-Hariri, a key political figure who had become increasingly critical of Syria’s presence in Lebanon.

The current climate of uncertainty has focused attention on Lebanese President Emile Lahoud, who is backed by Damascus. With the pro-Syrian prime minister having resigned this week the head of state is under mounting pressure from the opposition. They say they will only join talks on forming a new administration if Lahoud joins their appeal for Syrian troops to withdraw from Lebanon and Syrian-backed Lebanese security chiefs to resign. Moscow, a traditional ally of Damascus, has now joined the chorus of international voices demanding the 14,000-strong Syrian force pull out in accordance with a UN Security Council resolution. The US accuses Syria of sponsoring terrorism in the Middle East region.