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Hand-shake as Lebanese civil war Christian rivals reconcile

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BEIRUT (Reuters) - Christian rivals from the Lebanese civil war Samir Geagea and Suleiman Frangieh shook hands with each other on Wednesday, marking a formal reconciliation to end a more than four decades-long enmity.

Geagea, leader of the Lebanese Forces (LF) political party, and Frangieh, head of the Marada party have been enemies since the early days of the 1975-1990 civil war.

The two parties had armed militias during the war, and fought against each other. The war, which drew in regional powers, included fighting between the country's main sects and rival factions within those sects.

Both Maronite Christians, they met to reconcile at the seat of the Maronite Patriarch Bechara al-Rai in Bkerki, north of Beirut.

The meeting, where the two men shook hands with Rai and then with each other, comes after several failed reconciliation attempts over the years.

Geagea was accused of leading a raid in 1978 on the home of Frangieh's father, Tony Franjieh, a rival Maronite Christian chieftain, who was killed along with his wife, daughter and others. Geagea has said he was wounded before reaching Frangieh's house.

(Reporting by Lisa Barrington and Laila Bassam)

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