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Lebanese Opposition Ends Beirut Protest After Deal With Government


Lebanon's opposition has dismantled a protest camp in central Beirut after winning concessions from the government in a deal to end a long-running political crisis.

Opposition activists and municipal workers removed tents and other structures from the site Wednesday, hours after Lebanon's rival factions signed the deal in Qatar. The protest camp had paralyzed the commercial heart of Beirut for almost 18 months. The Lebanese agreement gives the militant group Hezbollah and its allies 11 seats in a 30-member cabinet and the power to block any government decisions. It also does not require Hezbollah to disarm.

Lebanon's opposition and pro-Western government signed the deal in the Qatari capital, Doha, after five days of Arab-mediated talks. U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice welcomed the agreement as a "positive step" toward resolving Lebanon's crisis. The deal calls for the election of a new Lebanese president, the formation of a national unity government and the passage of a new election law.

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