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France launches bid to end Lebanon crisis

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France launches bid to end Lebanon crisis


France’s foreign minister Bernard Kouchner has been holding talks with rival factions in Lebanon in a bid to resolve the deepening political crisis threatening to tear the country apart. The foreign minister met with parliament speaker Nabih Berri, a prominent member of the Shi’ite opposition, before having lunch with president Fouad Siniora.

He said there had been progress but added that more effort was needed: “We’re not any closer to resolving the problem and if the Lebanese fail to reach agreement, there will be war again unfortunately.”

Meanwhile, fighting continues between security forces trying to root out Islamist militants from the Palestinian refugee camp of Nahr el-Bared, the country’s second largest.

Two Lebanese soldiers died in overnight clashes.

The 10-week stand-off between the Lebanese army and the Fatah al-Islam fighters has claimed more than 200 lives.

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