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4 Dec, 2006 05:25

New wave of tension in Lebanon

New wave of tension in Lebanon

Tensions are running high in Lebanon's capital Beirut. Anti-government protesters have been staging a sit-in aimed at forcing Prime Minister Fouad Siniora to resign. Siniora accuses Syria and Hezbollah of being behind the demonstrations.

One man has been killed after violent clashes between Shiite and Sunni Muslims in a West Beirut neighbourhood. Security officials have said fighting broke out in the Lebanese capital after around 100 Shiites broke into a Sunni cemetery. They also smashed the windows of shops and cars in a separate incident. 

The Lebanese Prime Minister said the escalation of violence has led the country to a stalemate. “We must understand, once again, a fundamental fact that this will lead nowhere, and everyone knows that this will lead nowhere, on the contrary, unless there is a particular foreign power that wants Lebanon once again to get into a major and serious situation,” the Lebanese Prime Minister declared. 

Earlier Fouad Siniora, who has vowed to stand firm, met Arab League Secretary-General Amr Musa to discuss the situation. Siniora has urged the Arab world to help diffuse the tension. 

Mr Musa pledged the Arab League was ready to help resolve the conflict and assured him it would stick to peaceful means. “We hope that it won't escalate. Our job is to work with all the parties on the basis of retrieving the national unity in Lebanon. And we believe that only when these are in the same boat, and we in the Arab world are so concerned about Lebanon, we are ready to help maintain a peaceful national unity.”