DOHA (AFP)-17/5/2008: Lebanon’s politicians asked Qatar on Saturday to come up with a proposal on the thorny issue of Hezbollah’s weapons during Arab-brokered talks aimed at ending a feud that drove their country to the brink of a new civil war.
Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassem bin Jabor al-Thani "offered to come up with a proposal on the Hezbollah weaponry issue and present it to the two parties," a pro-government delegate told AFP.
Host Qatar made the offer after leaders of the ruling parliamentary majority initially insisted without success on including the arms question on the agenda, said the delegate, requesting anonymity.
Another delegate from the group later said it has succeeded in including on the agenda a "demand for guarantees against resorting again to arms."
The two sides agreed on Thursday to a national dialogue aimed at breaking an impasse over electing a new president and forming a unity government.
The Qatari hosts will be working against the backdrop of two United Nations Security Council resolutions calling for the disarmament of all militias in Lebanon.
Meanwhile, the delegates agreed to form a joint committee to address the issue of a new electoral law for parliamentary polls due next year.
In addition to the electoral law, the leaders are expected to discuss a proposed unity government.
Both sides have already agreed on army chief Michel Sleiman to succeed outgoing Emile Lahoud, who stepped down as president in November at the end of his term.
Parliament has failed to convene to elect a successor, exacerbating a crisis that began in late 2006 when six pro-Syrian ministers quit the cabinet of Prime Minister Fuad Senior.
On June 10, it is due for the 20th time to meet to elect a president.
Hopes of a Lebanon deal rose on Wednesday after Senior’s government cancelled measures against Hezbollah that had triggered the unrest.
"This is a defining moment; it’s a moment that requires us to stand strongly with the Senior government and to support the Senior government."
Meeting were believed to be going on behind closed doors on Saturday night, and there was no indication of when another formal session might be held