Lebanon is avoiding confrontation with fighters in pro-Syrian Palestinian camps which the Lebanese army surrounded last week. Lebanese forces are now loosening their grip around these bases, favoring talks.
Lebanon’s Prime Minister Fouad Siniora said he prefers to solve the issue with dialogue rather than through confrontation. However, he stressed that Lebanon will not tolerate armed Palestinians outside the camps.
Last week the Lebanese army began a siege around Palestinian camps aimed at tracking down the people responsible for killing a civilian army contractor.
A United Nations report has charged that the presence of armed Palestinians in Lebanon violates a September 2004 Security Council resolution.
Lebanon’s Defense Minister Elias Murr said the army is still present around the camps in order to maintain security and combat “troublemakers.”
Meanwhile, a representative of the Fatah Intifada movement in Lebanon, which operates five of the surrounded camps, has pledged not to use weapons against Lebanese soldiers or civilians.
But Ahmad Jibril, head of the Damascus-based Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine – Central Command, which operates two of the camps, said the group will not disarm while Israel still controls Palestinian territories.
The international community is concerned about recent satellite pictures which show Syrian forces beefing up presence on the Syrian-Lebanese border. Syrian forces are supposedly helping transfer weapons and ammunition to pro-Syrian Palestinian factions inside Lebanon.
Syria ended a 29-year presence in Lebanon in April 2005.