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Page last updated at 17:41 GMT, Monday, 10 November 2008

Lebanon and Syria mend new fences

Syrian Interior Minister Bassam Abdul Majid, right, receives his Lebanese counterpart Ziad Baroud, second right, in Damascus
It is the first interior minister level trip since the killing of ex-PM Rafik Hariri

Lebanese and Syrian interior ministers meeting in Damascus have agreed to co-ordinate efforts to fight terrorism and crime and control their joint border.

Their talks came less than a month after the establishment diplomatic relations, and weeks after bomb attacks in Syria and northern Lebanon.

After the attacks top political figures on each side traded accusations about the other's alleged support for terror.

Lebanon's Ziad Baroud voiced optimism the talks would lead to improved ties.

A statement released after Mr Baroud's meeting with his Syrian counterpart, Lt Gen Bassam Abdul Majid, said the two sides agreed to form a committee to discuss anti-terrorism cooperation and better border control.

The meeting comes days after Syrian state TV showed what it said were confessions by 11 militants behind a car bombing in Damascus which left 17 people dead.

One confession was by Abdul Baqi al-Hussein, described as being responsible for security for Fatah al-Islam, a Sunni Islamist group that has been active in Lebanon.

The suspects claimed links to Lebanon's main pro-Western Sunni Muslim political movement, Future, headed by Saad Hariri.

On Monday, a statement from Mr Hariri described the televised confessions as "a bad movie". He and his anti-Syrian allies have said Fatah al-Islam was created by Syrian intelligence in order to destabilise Lebanon.

They also blame Syria for the killing of Mr Hariri's father, former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, in a bombing in Beirut in 2005, and subsequent political assassinations.



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