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Lebanon's Siniora Urges Army to Restore Order

Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Siniora has called on the army to restore order and remove armed militants from the streets, following Hezbollah's takeover of west Beirut this week.

In a televised address to the nation Saturday, Mr. Siniora said the government cannot allow Hezbollah to impose war against the citizens of Lebanon. He said the group and its Shi'ite Muslim fighters have occupied and besieged the Lebanese capital.

He also accused Hezbollah of staging an armed coup against democracy in Lebanon.

Mr. Siniora's remarks are his first on the violence since fighting broke out Wednesday between Hezbollah fighters and militias loyal to Lebanon's U.S.-backed government.

Authorities say two people were killed today after gunmen opened fire on a funeral procession in Beirut.

At least 20 people have been killed in the clashes since Wednesday.

The White House Friday denounced Iran and Syria - Hezbollah's chief patrons - for supporting the group's actions. A spokesman for U.S. President George Bush says the administration will continue to work through diplomatic channels to end the violence.

Mr. Bush will discuss the crisis with Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Siniora during talks in Egypt next week.

Saudi Arabia, which backs the pro-Western Lebanese government, is calling for an emergency meeting of Arab foreign ministers, which could take place as soon as Sunday.

Lebanon has been in a political stalemate since last year, with the ruling coalition and the opposition unable to pick a new head of state and form a unity government.

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