North Lebanon reconciliation struck through joint efforts 2008-09-09 20:05:07   Print

Special report: Palestine-Israel Relations

    by Suzan Haidamous

    BEIRUT, Sept. 9 (Xinhua) -- Efforts carried out by Lebanese leaders have ended a long time tension and fighting which have haunted the Lebanese northern city of Tripoli and the surrounding region between Sunni and Alawite sects since 1979, Khodor Talib, apolitical analyst said in As-Safir daily on Tuesday.

    "In one hour, a new page was turned, ending 80 days of bloody clashes in Tripoli," Talib was quoted as saying.

    Leaders of Sunni and Alawite sects signed a reconciliation agreement Monday night in Tripoli, following recent sectarian fighting in which at least 23 people died.

    Clashes between the two sects have been reported since 1975-1990 civil war in Lebanon.

    The Muslim Sunni community in the northern region supports the ruling majority headed by MP Saad Hariri and the government of Fouad Seniora, while the Alawite, an offshoot of the Shiite Muslim, keeps close ties with Syria, whose President Bashar al-Assad is an Alawite as well.

    Saad Hariri, himself a Sunni, has been in Tripoli since Saturday, trying to reconcile the city's feuding two sects.

    Hariri accused Syria on Friday of using the instability in Tripoli as means to interfere in Lebanon.

    The Syrians "want to use the situation in Tripoli as a pretext to involve themselves in Lebanese affairs and use it as a means for their military and security return to Lebanon," Hariri said.

    But the Syrian president said last week that he had asked the Lebanese President Michel Suleiman to urgently send more troops to northern Lebanon to combat "Extremism".

    Meanwhile, Shiite Hezbollah Chief Hasan Nasrallah, who is a strong ally to Syria, said in a televised speech on Sunday that he fully supported Hariri's efforts to calm tension in Tripoli.

    "We back all efforts to put the tension in Tripoli behind us, the most important is to stop the bloodshed," Nasrallah said.

    Nasrallah also announced that he is ready to meet with Sunni leader Hariri in order to deal with the aftermath of the deadly clashes between supporters of the two leaders in May, which was later ended by Doha Accord signed between rival Lebanese factions on May 21.

    The Tripoli reconciliation agreement was welcomed by most Lebanese leaders, while the Lebanese people want such a step to be applied to all Lebanese areas to achieve real national reconciliation, local Lebanese media said.


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