Lebanon reverses decisions that angered Hezbollah
Dave Keating | May 15, 2008 at 03:01 amby
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The Lebanese government late Wednesday formally rescinded decisions that sparked days of violence in the country, a move aimed at easing tensions between American- and Iranian-backed political camps vying for power in the country.
During a visit by mediating Arab foreign ministers, Lebanon's information minister said the government would back off on decisions announced last week to declare illegal the Shiite Muslim militia Hezbollah's private fiber-optic telecommunications network and to fire the pro-Hezbollah head of security at Beirut's international airport.
"Since the government is greatly concerned with the higher interest, the government decided to approve the rescinding of the two decisions," Ghazi Aridi, the minister, said in a televised appearance.
Supporters of the Hezbollah-led opposition responded to the 11 p.m. announcement by firing automatic weapons into the air in celebration throughout the country.
Lebanon has been mired in a deepening political crisis since a late-2006 dispute between the Western-leaning government and the opposition over power sharing. The deadlock has left the country without a president since November.
Hezbollah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah warned May 8 that the decisions announced two days earlier amounted to a serious provocation that challenged the group's self-proclaimed status as leader of the resistance to Israeli and American plans for the region.
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