Lebanon has celebrated 65 years of independence, with a show of force and unity in the capital, Beirut.
President Michel Suleiman, Prime Minister Fouad Siniora and the opposition leader Nabih Berri shared the spotlight, to underline the president’s appeal for the country to stand together.
Suleiman used the occasion to mark Lebanon’s support for Saudi Arabia’s long-time plan for Middle East peace. It was launched in 2002, but is being given a second wind now.
It proposes pan-Arab recognition of Israel, in return for a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital, and the handover of territory such as the West Bank and the Golan Heights. It also calls for the repatriation of Palestinians forced to flee abroad. Israel admits the plan has several positive points, but says it needs further work.
There are some 400,000 Palestinian refugees currently living in Lebanon.