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World Council for the Cedars Revolution

Mar 04th
Home arrow News Content arrow Blog arrow Blog Items arrow Extremism In Lebanon arrow Doha Dialogue Talks - Day 2 - May 18, 2008 - Hezbollah Arms Main Issue
Doha Dialogue Talks - Day 2 - May 18, 2008 - Hezbollah Arms Main Issue PDF Print E-mail
Written by CRNews   
Sunday, 18 May 2008

Christian Lebanese Forces party leader Samir Geagea attends a roundtable meeting with other Lebanese leaders in Doha. Bickering Lebanese politicians postponed the thorny issue of Hezbollah's weapons on Saturday at talks in Qatar aimed at ending a feud that drove their country to the brink of a new civil war. (AFP/Marwan Naamani)
Christian Lebanese Forces party leader Samir Geagea attends a roundtable meeting with other Lebanese leaders in Doha. Bickering Lebanese politicians postponed the thorny issue of Hezbollah's weapons on Saturday at talks in Qatar aimed at ending a feud that drove their country to the brink of a new civil war. (AFP/Marwan Naamani)

Doha Talks: Progress in Election Law, Difficulties in New Government, Slow Down in Hizbullah Arms

On their second day in Qatar, rival Lebanese leaders agreed to form a joint committee to address the issue of a new electoral law as difficulties in the formation of a new government have reportedly popped up with the question of Hizbullah arms slowing down.

The daily An Nahar on Sunday said a six-member committee was tasked with tackling the elections law.

It said that the committee, which has held three sessions already, agreed to adopt the Qadaa-based elections law while re-considering the policy on the distribution of constituency seats in accordance with the 2005 law.

The committee was expected to complete its mission on Sunday, according to An Nahar.

It said discussions will continue until agreement on a national unity government has been reached between the pro-government ruling March 14 coalition and the Hizbullah-led opposition.

Meanwhile, bickering politicians asked Qatar to come up with a proposal on the thorny issue of Hizbullah arms during Arab-brokered talks aimed at ending the long-running political crisis that drove the country to the brink of a new civil war.

Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassem bin Jabr al-Thani "offered to come up with a proposal on the Hizbullah weaponry issue and present it to the two parties," a pro-government delegate told AFP.

"The two sides have agreed to that," he added following the first session of Arab-mediated talks by 14 leaders or representatives of the pro-Western government and the Hizbullah-led opposition, backed by Syria and Iran.

Host Qatar made the offer after leaders of the ruling parliamentary majority initially insisted without success on including the arms question on the agenda, said the delegate, requesting anonymity.

Another delegate from the group later said it has succeeded in including on the agenda a "demand for guarantees against resorting again to arms."

He told AFP the bloc "insists on debating the issue of arms in two stages."

The first stage should include "guarantees not to use arms (against other Lebanese parties) for whatever reason," while the "future of Hizbullah arms to be dealt with in the second stage, after electing a president."

After 65 people were killed in nearly a week of fighting and Hizbullah and its allies temporarily took control of a large part of west Beirut, the two sides agreed on Thursday to a national dialogue aimed at breaking an impasse over electing a new president and forming a unity government.

The Qatari hosts will be working against the backdrop of two United Nations Security Council resolutions calling for the disarmament of all militias in Lebanon.

Resolution 1559, adopted in 2004 called, among other things, for the "disbanding and disarmament of all Lebanese and non-Lebanese militias."

Resolution 1701, which brought an end to the 2006 war between Israel and Hizbullah, called for there to be "no weapons or authority in Lebanon other than that of the Lebanese state."

Both sides have already agreed on army chief Michel Suleiman to succeed Damascus protégé Emile Lahoud, who stepped down as president in November at the end of his term.

Parliament has failed to convene to elect a successor, exacerbating a crisis that began in late 2006 when six pro-Syrian ministers quit the cabinet of Prime Minister Fouad Saniora.

On June 10, it is due for the 20th time to meet to elect a president.

Among those attending the meeting are Saniora, parliamentary majority leader Saad Hariri and a key government ally, Druze leader Walid Jumblat.

Hizbullah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah is not attending, reportedly because of security concerns, and is represented by Hizbullah MP Mohammed Raad. Also attending on behalf of the opposition are parliament speaker Nabih Berri and Free Patriotic Movement leader Michel Aoun.

Hopes of a Lebanon deal rose on Wednesday after Saniora's government cancelled measures against Hizbullah that had triggered the unrest.

It rescinded plans to probe a private Hizbullah telecommunications network and reassign the head of airport security over allegations he was close to the group.

Meetings were believed to be going on behind closed doors on Saturday night, and there was no indication of when another formal session might be held.(Naharnet-AFP) 

Beirut, 18 May 08, 07:48


Live Coverage

Live Coverage   Lebanese Dialogue in Doha Enters Third Day
11:15 Qatar proposed to participants in the Doha Dialogue postponing tackling the election law topic till after the presidential election.
9:35 Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa said the Doha dialogue is based on the Arab Initiative.
9:33 MP Ali Hassan Khalil said Progress has been achieved, but refused to disclose further details.
9:30 Hariri said after the meeting with the Emir of Qatar that the distuation is "good." He refused to elaborate.
8:50 FPM leader Michel Aoun said the Doha talks agenda priorities were altered during the meeting between Emir of Qatar and Leaders of the opposition and majority.
8:06 MP Hagop Pakradonian said he and the Christian factions of the oppositions voiced reservations over the proposed elections law.
8:04 LBC reported that the Emir of Qatar May announce a declaration of principles later in the evening if the opposition and majority agreed to his proposals.
7:12 Mustaqbal Movement leader Saad Hariri and Premier Saniora joined the meeting presided over by the Emir of Qatar.
6:30 The Emir of Qatar meets Berri, Aoun and Raad.
4:22 Ex-President Amin Gemayel warned against reaching an agreement with Hizbullah similar to the 1969 Cairo Accord with the Palestine Liberation Organization.

4:07 MP Hiussein Hajj Hassan told al-Manar television the majority is trying to present an election law that guarantees its success in the 2009 elections.
3:15pm Gemayel to LBCI: Hizbullah is trying to invest its latest armed venture in Doha talks and this will have dangerous consequences.
3:05pm New TV: Qatari Premier Hamad bin Jassem holds separate meetings with all Lebanese leaders.
3:00pm OTV: A meeting was held between ex- president Gemayel and Hizbullah MP Hussein Haj Hassan.
2:22pm NNA: A second dialogue session hasn't been appointed yet in Doha and behind the scenes meetings are underway to try to reach an agreement over the parliamentary elections law.
2:07pm Moussa said he will visit Damascus after the Doha conference concludes its discussions.
12:55pm OTV: A meeting grouping MP Aoun, Qatari Premier Hammad bin Jassem, Arab league Secretary General Amr Moussa, and Speaker Nabih Berri is underway in the latter's suit in Sheraton Hotel in Doha.
12:30pm Free Patriotic Movement Leader MP Michel Aoun is meeting MP Michel Murr.
12:05pm MP Atef Majdalani: if illegal arms issue was not tackled during the Doha conference, armed clashes would continue after a short truce.
12:00am Al-Arabia TV: Hizbullah arms is the main obstacle in the thorny discussions among the Lebanese feuding parties in Doha.
 11:10am Minister Marwan Hemade said a progress has been achieved in discussing an election law based on adopting the province as an electoral constituency.
 11:00am MP Samir Frangieh said Hizbullah maintaintenance of its arms is tantamount to the termination of the Lebanese State.
 10:38am MP Nabil de Friege: Aoun bears the biggest share of responsibilty for the current political crisis.
 10:35am Minister Ahmad Fatfat to al-Mustaqbal: Hizbullah arms and media campaigns are being discussed thoroughly during the dialogue sessions.
 10:30am Hizbullah MP Mohammed Raad to Manar TV: We haven’t reached an agreement concerning the government formula yet.
 10:00am Al-Jazeera TV: A legislative Parliamentary Committee is expected in Doha today to help write down the election law.


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