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Arab League Envoys in Lebanon to Mediate End to Crisis


A high-level Arab League delegation has arrived in Lebanon to help mediate an end to fighting between Hezbollah militants and pro-government militias.

The delegation is meeting with government leaders and members of the Hezbollah-led opposition Wednesday in Beirut, where Hezbollah fighters last week sparked the worst sectarian violence to hit Lebanon in nearly two decades.

Lebanon's government and the United States blame Iran and Syria for supporting Hezbollah's uprising.

U.S. National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley said Tuesday that Washington plans to intensify pressure on Syria and Iran, and is calling on other Middle Eastern countries to do the same. Hadley said the United States also is looking to the U.N. Security Council to address the unrest in Lebanon next week.

Lebanon's army announced plans Tuesday to intervene in the fighting for the first time since the violence erupted last week.

Earlier Tuesday, Saudi Arabia's foreign minister Saud al-Faisal condemned Iran for carrying out what he called a "coup attempt" in Lebanon. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad denied the charge, and said Iran is the only country not interfering in Lebanon.

Lebanese parliamentary majority leader Saad al-Hariri vowed never to surrender to Hezbollah or its backers.

Hezbollah fighters swept across Beirut on May seventh, after the government declared their telecommunications network illegal and fired an airport security chief for his alleged ties to Hezbollah.

The fighting has killed at least 62 people and wounded at least 200 others.

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