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Lebanese Leaders Fail to Agree on Lahoud's Political Future


Lebanese lawmakers say they have failed to agree on whether to force President Emile Lahoud to step down before his term ends in 2007.

The politicians met in Beirut Tuesday for the latest round of talks on the pro-Syrian Mr. Lahoud. Anti-Syrian politicians have been demanding that he resign since Syria withdrew its forces from Lebanon last year. But anti-Syrian lawmakers do not have enough seats in parliament to force him out.

Parliament speaker Nabih Berri says the lawmakers will meet again on June 8 for talks on another key issue - the disarming of the militant group Hezbollah.

A 2004 United Nations Security Council resolution demanded the disbanding of militias in Lebanon, including Hezbollah. But the group says it needs to be able to defend Lebanon against Israel.

Until last year, Syria dominated Lebanon both militarily and politically. After the 2005 assassination of Lebanon's former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, Syria withdrew its troops from the country. But Lebanese politicians say Damascus still wields strong influence over the government in Beirut.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.
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