French FM: Roots of Lebanon crisis remain
French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said in Jerusalem on Friday that the accord reached by Lebanon's rival leaders fails to tackle the roots of the crisis, though it was a first step. "It goes in the right direction, but none of the essence (of the crisis) appears to have been resolved. Yet, it is better to have a president and a (functioning) government," Kouchner told a news conference.
"It would probably have been better to get to this point without Hizbullah having to seize half of Beirut in order to make themselves heard."
Meanwhile, Hizbullah deputy secretary general Sheikh Naim Qassem on Friday welcomed as an "important achievement" the deal reached by the Lebanese factions. "This accord is an important achievement for all the Lebanese and a key step toward ending a difficult phase that lasted for 18 months," Qassem told the Shiite group's radio station Al-Nour.
According to AFP, he added that he wished the deal had been reached more than a year ago. Qassem said the next challenge for the ruling bloc and the Hizbullah-led opposition will be the formation of a national unity government. "If both sides are positive, we can form a national unity government and find solutions to everything," he said.