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Lebanon first stop for new French foreign minister

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Lebanon first stop for new French foreign minister


For 30 minutes on Thursday the two-day ceasefire at the Nahr al-Bared Palestinian refugee camp north of Tripoli collapsed in heavy fighting between the Lebanese army and Fatah al-Islam militants. And then it stopped, as suddenly as it had started. The reasons for the flare-up were unclear, but a steady flow of refugees out of the camp to escape the violence continues. Some 20 000 people remain.

Lebanese prime minister Fouad Siniora, speaking on television called Fatah al-Islam a “terrorist organisation that claims to be Islamic and defend Palestine” …but was “trying to ride on the suffering of the Palestinian people and their struggle”.

He later met the new French foreign minister in Beirut. On his first trip abroad Bernard Kouchner then visited the son of the murdered former prime minister Rafik al-Hariri, Saad. He informed him of progress at the UN towards the setting up of a special tribunal to investigate and prosecute his killers

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