BEIRUT — The army today set up a checkpoint outside the French Embassy, where defeated Christian Maj. Gen. Michel Aoun has taken refuge, heightening Lebanon's diplomatic quarrel with France over Aoun's fate.
Government bulldozers continued removing mines and mounds of earth along the five-mile Green Line that divides Beirut into Christian and Muslim sections. Workers on Monday opened one key intersection, the Galerie Semaan crossing, and motorists honked horns in jubilation as they drove through.
Several Cabinet ministers today compared the planned dismantling of the Green Line to the removal of the Berlin Wall.
The unification of the war-torn Lebanese capital is the next step to follow Saturday's end to Aoun's 11-month mutiny, when his troops were crushed in a Syrian-led assault.
France granted Aoun asylum Saturday, and French President Francois Mitterrand on Monday called the decision "a matter of honor."
But Lebanese Agriculture Minister Mohsen Dalloul said the government is determined to bring Aoun to trial and have asked the French to turn him over.