National Dialogue talks resume in Beirut after six-day break
Negotiations resumed on Monday between rival Lebanese factions to discuss the status of the Israeli-occupied Shebaa Farms area, one of the greatest points of contention currently amongst Lebanon's leaders.
The National Dialogue Conference, had been suspended six days earlier following disagreements over whether or not the Shebaa Farms lie on Lebanese or Syrian soil, according to Al Jazeera and Agencies.
Participants also discussed other disputed topics, including the possible disarmament of Hizbullah forces in southern Lebanon as called for by the United Nations, and the fate of pro-Syrian Lebanese President Emile Lahoud.
Leaders included Druze MP Walid Jumblatt, who maintained that the Shabaa Farms belong to Syria, while Hizbullah chief Hassan Nasrallah, also present at the meeting, insisted that the land belongs to Lebanon and thus needs to be rid of Israeli occupation by his followers.
Despite disagreements, the parties succeeded in reaching an initial agreement in which Palestinian fighters outside of the 12 Palestinian refugee camps in southern Lebanon would disarm. Working towards the establishment of full diplomatic ties with Syria was also agreed upon.
A text is reportedly being drafted for the leaders to sign and announce on Tuesday.
"The issue of Lebanon's relations with Syria is already behind our backs now," one political source told Reuters.
Stressing the importance of the talks, parliamentary Speaker Nabih Berri told As-Safir daily, "We must use all our potential to prevent the dialogue from collapsing."