Bint Jbeil (Lebanon): Qatar`s emir on Saturday
made a high-profile visit to south Lebanon, a Hezbollah
stronghold destroyed in a 2006 war with Israel and whose
rebuilding the emirate is helping finance.
"Lebanon is still facing many challenges, primarily
the choice of its citizens to maintain the nationalism and
Arabism of Lebanon," said the emir, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa
Lebanon is "a nation that is home to people of all
confessions, both Muslim and Christian," the emir noted at the
town of Bint Jbeil, which witnessed some of the fiercest
fighting in the deadly war between Israel and Hezbollah.
Accompanied by President Michel Sleiman, Prime Minister
Saad Hariri and Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri, the emir was
greeted by Hezbollah officials in southern Lebanon, a
stronghold of the Shiite militant party.
Sheikh Hamad arrived in Lebanon for a three-day visit
on Friday, the same day that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad
and Saudi King Abdullah made an unprecedented joint visit
aimed at defusing political tensions.
Fears of renewed conflict in Lebanon rose in July after
Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah revealed he knew the UN
tribunal probing ex-premier Rafiq Hariri`s murder was poised
to indict members of his party, which is backed by Syria and
In May 2008, a government bid to curb Hezbollah`s power
brought Lebanon close to a new civil war when a week of
sectarian clashes killed more than 100 people as opposition
militants led by Hezbollah seized large swathes of Sunni
areas in Beirut.
Qatar, which had pledged massive aid to help rebuild
the south after Israel`s devastating war with Hezbollah, also
played a key role in ending the 2008 crisis, brokering a deal
for the formation of a national unity government.