BEIRUT — Hassan Nasrallah, head of Lebanon’s opposition movement Hezbollah, and Walid Jumblatt from the Western-backed majority on Saturday urged the formation of a unity government "as soon as possible."

"Both sides agreed on the need to overcome as soon as possible the obstacles hindering the formation of a new government," they said in a joint statement after a rare meeting on Friday night.

The two leaders last met on June 19, their first encounter for three years.

Militants from the Shiite movement Hezbollah and supporters of Jumblatt’s Progressive Socialist Party (PSP) fought deadly clashes in the Druze mountains in May 2008 during nationwide strife between the majority and minority blocs.

Druze leader Jumblatt announced in August that he was "leaving the majority" in parliament, but changed his mind 24 hours later.

Analysts say his action complicated efforts by prime minister-designate Saad Hariri to form a government.

Hariri has tried without success to form a national unity government since June, when his US- and Saudi-backed coalition clinched victory in a general election over a Hezbollah-led alliance backed by Syria and Iran.

The plea for unity by Nasrallah and Jumblatt comes after Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Saudi King Abdullah buried the hatchet over Lebanon on Thursday and called for a unity government.

At the end of a landmark two-day visit to Damascus by the Saudi monarch, the leaders stressed "the importance of the agreement amongst the Lebanese, who (are likely to) find common ground to form a government of national unity," Syria’s state news agency SANA reported.