Fatah’s chief in Lebanon said his Palestinian faction would round up weapons from refugee camps amid growing calls for militias in the country to be disbanded.
“We have decided to collect all the weapons we possess, including individual arms, and put them in secure places (inside the camps), in accordance with the wishes of the inter-Lebanese dialogue conference,” said Sultan Abul Aynain.
Leaders from across the political and religious spectrum have been meeting in Beirut to solve such contentious issues as the presence of armed Palestinians outside refugee camps.
There are believed to be 380,000 Palestinians living in Lebanon, many of them in dire conditions in 12 refugee camps.
Parliamentary speaker Nabih Berri said Tuesday that participants in the inter-Lebanese talks supported disarming Palestinians outside the camps in six months and “the state re-establishing its authority on all Lebanese territory”.
A September 2004 UN Security Council Resolution calls on Lebanon to assert sovereignty on all its territory and disarm all militias, including armed Palestinian factions and the armed wing of Lebanese Shiite movement Hezbollah.
Aynain also reasserted the authority of the Palestine Liberation Organisation — of which Fatah is the largest faction — as the only legitimate representative of Palestinians in Lebanon.
The PLO does not include Palestinian Islamist groups such as Hamas, which trounced Fatah in January’s elections, or pro-Syrian groups such as the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command which has been involved in a number of shooting incidents outside Palestinian camps.
The inter-Lebanese dialogue is due to resume on March 22.