"We have to wait for regional circumstances to be favorable for an independent Lebanon," Jumblatt ( pictured right) , a prominent supporter of Prime Minister Fouad Siniora's government.

Asked about prospects for a conference of rival Lebanese politicians in Paris next week, he said:

"If the French, with their contacts with the Iranians, can fix up a Lebanese dialogue in Paris, and somewhere behind the scenes the regional actors agree to stabilize Lebanon, why not?"

France hopes the meeting will promote renewed dialogue between the bitterly divided Lebanese camps and pave the way for agreement on a new president, due to be elected later this year.

But the 57-year-old politician gave no hint of optimism during an interview at his home in Beirut, accusing Syria, Iran and their Shi'ite Hezbollah allies of fomenting chaos in Lebanon