Ta Agreement

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The Taif Agreement (Arabic: “Ittif-Qiyat al-If) (also the national reconciliation agreement or document of the National Agreement) was an agreement that was to “serve as the basis for the end of the civil war and the return to political normality in Lebanon.” [1] It was negotiated in Ta`if, Saudi Arabia, and was to end decades of Lebanese civil war, asserting Lebanese authority in southern Lebanon (then controlled by the South Lebanese army and supported by Israeli troops). Although the agreement establishes a timetable for the military withdrawal from Syria and provided for the Syrians to withdraw within two years, the effective withdrawal did not take place until 2005. It was signed on 22 October 1989 and ratified by the Lebanese parliament on 5 November 1989. [2] The agreement also provided for the disarmament of all national and non-national militias. Hezbollah, as a “resistance force” and not a militia, was allowed to remain armed and fight Israel in the South, a privilege that, according to Swedish academic Magnus Ranstorp, obtained in part by using its influence as the holder of a number of Western hostages. [9] The agreement constituted the principle of “mutual coexistence” () between the various sects of Lebanon and their “correct political representation” () as the main objective of the post-civil war legislative laws. [6] It also restructured the political system of the National Compact in Lebanon by inducing part of the power of the Maronite Christian community, which had obtained privileged status in Lebanon under French rule. Before the agreement, the Sunni Muslim Prime Minister was appointed and held responsible by the Maronite president. Under the Taif agreement, the Prime Minister was accountable to the legislature, as in a traditional parliamentary system. Therefore, the agreement changed the formula of power-sharing, which had favored Christians to a ratio of 50:50 and strengthened the power of the Sunni Prime Minister over that of the Christian president.

[8] Prior to the Taif negotiations, a Maronite Christian, General Michel Aoun, had been appointed Prime Minister by President Amine Gemayel on 22 September 1988. The result was a serious political crisis of the divided mandate, the post being reserved for a Sunni Muslim under the 1943 National Pact and Omar Karami. The Taif agreement helped overcome this crisis by preparing for the election of a new president.

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