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Hizbullah Hits Back at Hariri: His Stances are in Line with U.S. Plot to Sow Discord among Region States

Hizbullah snapped back Thursday at caretaker premier Saad Hariri, who earlier in the day accused Tehran of trying to turn Lebanon and Gulf states into Iranian protectorates.

Hariri’s “provocative stances sincerely echoed U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates’ latest remarks about the Iranian role in the region,” read a statement released by Hizbullah's media relations department.

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French Army Saves Lebanese Expats in Abidjan

"We saw a helicopter in the sky, we called for help and the soldiers picked us up" in Ivory Coast's embattled economic capital Abidjan, a rescued Lebanese woman said after being flown to Senegal.

The woman, who declined to give her name, said that she and seven rescued members of her family had been trapped by heavy fighting and also at the mercy of looters.

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Hariri Orders Formation of Committee to Aid Lebanese Expatriates in Ivory Coast

Caretaker Prime Minister Saad Hariri ordered the formation of a committee to support and aid the Lebanese expatriates in the Ivory Coast based on recommendations of the Higher Relief Commission’s latest meeting.

The committee will be place a plan to help evacuate expatriates seeking to flee the African country, as well as provide their basic needs through the cooperation of ministries, public administrations, security forces, and the Lebanese Embassy in the Ivory Coast.

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Abidjan Gangs Demand Ransom to Free Lebanese Families as Official Delegation Heads to Accra

Thirty Lebanese families are besieged at a factory in Abidjan and the gangs are demanding 60,000 dollars to release them, Lebanon’s ambassador to the Ivory Coast told As Safir daily published Thursday.

U.N. troops “have promised to help us today,” Ambassador Ali Ajami said.

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Pietton: No Travel Warning for Lebanon, But We Advise Citizens Not to Visit Certain Areas

French Ambassador to Lebanon Denis Pietton on Wednesday said his country was not worried over the delay in forming a new Lebanese cabinet, noting that Saad Hariri's cabinet took five months in the making.

In an interview with Al-Jadeed television, Pietton said premier-designate Najib Miqati's mission was being hindered by the "conflicting demands" of the political parties.

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U.N.: Surrender Talks Still Ongoing with Ivory Coast's Gbagbo

Ivory Coast strongman Laurent Gbagbo is still in contact with international representatives about a possible surrender even though his residence is under attack, a U.N. spokesman said Wednesday.

"Discussions continue with the U.N. using its good offices to the fullest extent possible," U.N. peacekeeping department spokesman Nick Birnback told Agence France Presse.

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First Ivory Coast Evacuees Arrive in Beirut from Ghana

The first Middle East Airlines plane carrying Lebanese who have escaped the violence in Ivory Coast arrived at Beirut airport on Wednesday.

The National News Agency said around 136 Abidjan residents flew to Beirut from Ghana. They were transported by French authorities from the Ivory Coast to Mali and then to Ghana, it said.

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Paris: Ivory Coast's Gbagbo Negotiating His Surrender, Crisis May End within Hours

Ivory Coast strongman Laurent Gbagbo hunkered down in a bunker at his home Tuesday after being cornered by his arch rival's followers, as his own forces silenced their weapons and asked for a ceasefire.

Having resisted calls to cede power to internationally recognized president Alassane Ouattara for four months, Gbagbo was now trying to strike a deal to quit, according to the former colonial power France.

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Higher Defense Council Calls for Providing Best Means for Evacuating Lebanese in Ivory Coast

The Higher Defense Council held an emergency meeting Tuesday in the Baabda Palace to address the situation of Lebanese expatriates in the Ivory Coast.

The meeting, headed by President Michel Suleiman, stressed the need to place a plan to help the expatriates in the African country and provide the best means to evacuate those seeking to leave through the cooperation of the Lebanese Embassy, United Nations, and Ivory Coast authorities.

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Pietton Meets Hariri: It’s Not Possible to Protect All Expatriates in Ivory Coast

Caretaker Prime Minister Saad Hariri held talks on Tuesday with French Ambassador to Lebanon Denis Pietton on French troops’ efforts in helping protect Lebanese expatriates in the Ivory Coast.

Pietton said after the meeting that he informed the PM that 650 expatriates have been placed under the French troops’ protection, noting however that no civilian was able to reach Abidjan airport even though air traffic has been restored.

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