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Russia hails formation of Lebanon unity government

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Russia welcomes the formation of a new unity government in Lebanon, which has ended a long-running political crisis, the Foreign Ministry said on Saturday.
MOSCOW, July 12 (RIA Novosti) - Russia welcomes the formation of a new unity government in Lebanon, which has ended a long-running political crisis, the Foreign Ministry said on Saturday.

The new government led by Prime Minister Fuad Saniora was formed on Friday, and gives veto powers to Islamic group Hezbollah. The government faces major challenges in curbing sectarian tensions to prevent further violence in the country.

"Moscow sincerely welcomes this outcome. We are sure that this is a very important and necessary step toward fully implementing the agreements reached by the Lebanese sides in Doha in May this year, with mediation from Qatar and the Arab League," the ministry quoted spokesman Andrei Nesterenko as saying.

The United States, while welcoming the formation of the new government, has said it will not deal with Hezbollah, which it and some other Western nations consider a terrorist group. The EU has also backed the new cabinet.

The Russian statement said the formation of the new cabinet should "provide a boost for further progress in resolving the remaining outstanding issues on the national agenda."

"Russia will continue to do all it can to help resolve Lebanon's problems through peaceful means, based on internal Lebanese dialogue and agreements, without outside interference in Lebanon's affairs."

The power-sharing deal is likely to give Syria, Hezbollah's key backer, greater influence in Lebanese politics. Damascus pulled its troops out of the country in 2005.

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