Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri speaks at his summer house in Msaileh, Lebanon, Wednesday, April 11, 2012. (The Daily Star/Mohammed Zaatari)
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The Future Movement and Hezbollah made "serious progress" Monday in a second round of talks to defuse sectarian tensions exacerbated by the conflict in Syria, officials from the two rival factions said.Discussions between senior officials from the Future Movement and Hezbollah centered on a main item: defusing sectarian tensions, according to an official statement issued following a four-hour meeting hosted by Speaker Nabih Berri at his Ain al-Tineh residence.Berri, the sponsor of the Future-Hezbollah dialogue, did not attend Monday's session.Hezbollah was represented by Hussein Khalil, a political aide to Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah, Industry Minister Hussein Hajj Hasan and MP Hasan Fadlallah.Last month's meeting was the first face-to-face encounter between Future and Hezbollah officials in four years since the Hezbollah-led March 8 alliance toppled Hariri's national unity government in January 2011 .Prime Minister Tammam Salam as well as Future MPs and rival politicians have voiced hopes that the Future-Hezbollah dialogue would help break the 7-month-old presidential deadlock. Machnouk sounded optimistic about the outcome of the Future-Hezbollah dialogue.
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