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Lebanon factions agree to neutralize French sector

Warring factions in Beirut agreed to let a neutral force take over front-line positions being vacated by French troops. Four people were reported killed in clashes in the city Monday as the agreement was being worked out.

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The agreement on the neutral force was reached by the Lebanese Army and the three main militias as the French continued to load equipment onto ships under their plan to withdraw from Beirut by the end of the month.

The Internal Security Forces, a well-armed paramilitary body, will neutralize the area that the French formerly held and ensure safe passage for civilians.

The agreement went some way toward averting a scramble for the French-held sector of the Green Line dividing the capital between the Christian eastern sector and mainly Muslim west Beirut.

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