News In Brief

Lebanese sitting down to draft peace agenda

National reconciliation talks to cement the cease-fire among Lebanon's warring factions will begin Oct. 20 and a preparatory committee will meet today to draft the agenda, the Lebanese government said.

The government formally asked nine Lebanese political leaders to send representatives to the preparatory meeting at the Healthy Ministry in Beirut. But Druze opposition leader Walid Jumblatt rejected the ministry as a site, sources in his party said. The Shiite Muslim militia Amal also said it might boycott the preparatory session.

Cease-fire violations were reported Wednesday, with Syrian-backed gunners pounding government positions at Souk al Gharb south of Beirut, state-run Beirut radio reported. In Tripoli, northern Lebanon, battles between rival militias left 47 dead, police said.

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