Lebanon's two top rightists, Falangist leader Pierre Gemayel and Camille Chamoun, head of the National Liberal Party, met near Beirut on Sunday (20 May) to discuss the security situation in the country.
Lebanon's two top rightists, Falangist leader Pierre Gemayel and Camille Chamoun, head of the National Liberal Party, met near Beirut on Sunday (20 May) to discuss the security situation in the country. But although it was recently decided to link the two parties, sporadic fighting between rival right-wing factions continues. Lebanese government troops needed a bulldozer backed by armoured vehicles on Sunday when they cleared a roadblock set up by right-wing forces on the main Beirut-Tripoli highway.
SYNOPSIS: Traffic on the road between the capital and the major northern city of Tripoli was halted by the roadlock. Lebanese army forces which moved into the area negotiated with the rival rightist groups to reduce the possibility of armed opposition, before bringing in the bulldozer. The Falangist radio in Beirut has reported that government forces also intervened on Sunday (20 May) in Aqoura sixty kilometres (forty miles) north-east of Beirut. The troops moved into the rightist village to separate gunmen after a clash in which three people died.
The army unit deployed to supervise the demolition of the roadblock on the Tabarja-Safra sector of the Beirut-to-Tripoli highway was about fifty strong. Five armoured vehicles supported the bulldozer as it moved into shift the barrier.
Despite the assurances given by the local rightist forces, the Lebanese soldiers remained vigilant as the bulldozer worked. The plan to merge the country's two leading rightist parties came after three days of fighting between their militias. About twenty-five died. Party officials hope that problems that bring fighting and the establishment of road blocks can be settled peacefully as the two sides move towards greater unity.