Deal Brings Lebanon Thaw, Promise to Talk

Opposition clears roadblocks; Beirut airport reopens
By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted May 15, 2008 3:15 PM CDT
Qatari Prime Minister Sheik Hamad bin Jassem Al Thani.   (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)
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(Newser) – As Beirut International Airport welcomed the first commercial flights in a week, the Arab League announced today a deal that would end the worst fighting in Lebanon since the civil war and lead to talks aimed at ending the 18-month political crisis, Reuters reports. The talks, set for tomorrow in Qatar, will continue “until agreement is reached," the Qatari prime minister said.

The deal appears to be along the lines of what Hezbollah, the militant opposition, wanted in the first place. The opening of the airport (and the withdrawal of militia fighters) comes after the US-backed government backed down from anti-Hezbollah legislation. The Syrian- and Iranian-backed political/military organization had also demanded talks of the type the Arab League is sponsoring.