Page last updated at 10:10 GMT, Tuesday, 27 May 2008 11:10 UK

Lebanese voices on agreement

BBC news website readers in Lebanon assess the prospects for peace after their parliament's election of a new president on Sunday.

All political sides agreed to back army chief General Michel Suleiman after agreement was reached between the Western-backed government and opposition groups led by Hezbollah. It's hoped the appointment will end a political crisis that's taken Lebanon close to civil war in recent weeks.


MAZEN FAKIH, STUDENT, AMERICAN UNIVERSITY OF BERUIT

Mazen Fakih

It's a very good that the leaders could sit down and agree on the future of this country. Without the agreement everything would have collapsed and fighting would have resumed.

I reckon that had they come back empty handed, the people would have blocked their exit from the airport and none of them would have survived their ride home. The people have had enough!

I'm not very happy that General Michel Suleiman will be the new President because he comes from a military background. But as someone from the military his record is not very bad.

It's inevitable that Hezbollah will become part of the mainstream. They have been protecting the country from Israel. As a result there has not been an attack from Israel in the past two years.

YARA SAAB, RESEARCHER IN INTERNATIONAL LAW, BEIRUT

Yara Saab

Though the fact that various parties were able to reach an accord is already a sign of hope, I don't think the agreement is enough to protect civilians from Hezbollah weapons.

They promised to limit their use of their arsenal to "resistance", but what we lived last week is a prime indication of their readiness to use violence in order to achieve political gains.

From my office I can see the tents being brought down, ending the occupation of Beirut, but it will take much more than that to rebuild trust between various political parties and communities.

To reach an equitable society embracing diversity, and sustainable peace, Hezbollah's weapons have to go.

I disagree with the argument that they need weapons to protect the country from Israeli attacks; that's the role of the army, not of a militia like Hezbollah.

ELIE EL HAJ, SCIENTIFIC RESEARCHER, BEIRUT

Elie El Haj

There have been plenty of accords, agreements and then everything breaks loose again! So I'm sceptical about this deal.

Rival factions are a disgrace to my country and this apathetic attitude from the politicians will bring about a complete disaster.

What we want is a permanent resolution to the core issue, which is Hezbollah. We can't solve it unless there's an agreement with Iran.

The role of the West in Lebanon is smaller to that of Iran which needs to be recognised as a regional power.

EDWARD KHOURY, SCHOOL ADMINISTRATOR, BEIRUT

Ed Khoury

At long last the so-called politicians in Lebanon engaged their brains and agreed on this deal.

Lebanese are used to waiting; my generation has not seen any peace.

For over 30 years we have always been waiting for something! A flare up, then we wait for a ceasefire; an assassination, then wait for recovery! Devastating "divine victory" war, then wait for its repercussions!

Lebanon has been used by other powerful countries in their proxy wars. Lebanon has also allowed itself to be used for that role with devastating consequences.

We have had many agreements before, but this one somehow is more hopeful! All Lebanese need to give it their best to make it succeed! That is the only way ahead! Or else we can kiss Lebanon as we know it and the whole of the Middle East goodbye!

But I'm more hopeful this time as the region is going through a change. Syria and Israel are talking; it should have a positive impact on Lebanon.

The readers' panel has been selected from as wide a cross-section of people as possible and may not be representative of wider Lebanese public opinion.


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