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Report: ‘Secretive’ Initiative to Resolve ‘Druze Stalemate’ Fails

The Druze representation in the new government, one of the obstacles hampering the formation, “could have been eased” if Druze MP Talal Arslan had accepted a “secretive” formula suggested by Speaker Nabih Berri, al-Joumhouria daily reported on Tuesday.

Well-informed sources told the newspaper that contacts have lately “accelerated between Berri and Druze parties” in a bid to find common ground regarding their representation and ministerial seats, but the efforts have “failed” though.

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Saudi Envoy Says Riyadh Keen on Speedy Govt. Formation

Saudi charge d'affaires in Lebanon Walid al-Bukhari on Monday denied allegations that the kingdom is obstructing the government formation process in Lebanon.

“The practical experience during the election of the parliament is the biggest answer. Some media outlets were betting on (Saudi) interference but it was proved that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was very keen on Lebanon's security and stability,” Bukhari said, in response to a reporter's question about the obstruction claims.

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Aoun Vows to End Akkar's Impoverishment

President Michel Aoun promised Monday to “sponsor efforts to end Akkar's deprivation,” during a meeting with the northern region's MPs and municipal chiefs.

“The Akkar region is cherished by all Lebanese, because it is the reserve of the military institution and because its residents have offered a lot of sacrifices for the sake of Lebanon's sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity,” Aoun said.

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Army Arrests Top Drug Dealer in Airport Road Area

A notorious drug dealer was arrested Monday in the airport road area south of Beirut, the army said.

“As part of the security measures taken across the various Lebanese regions and after surveillance, a patrol from the Intelligence Directorate arrested in the airport road area a man named Mohammed Habib, who is one of the most notorious drug dealers in the aforementioned area,” an army statement said.

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LF Holds Bassil Responsible for Lineup Delay

The Lebanese Forces blamed Foreign Minister, Free Patriotic Movement chief Jebran Bassil for the "entire" obstacles hampering the government formation, mainly the Christian and Druze representation stalemate, al-Joumhouria daily reported.

LF sources told the daily: “It is normal to focus at the current stage on an expected meeting between Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri and Bassil because the actual stalemate lies with Bassil.

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New Batch of Syrian Refugees Return Home from Lebanon

Tens of Syrian refugees in the border villages of Shebaa and al-Arqoub started crossing the border from Lebanon on Monday, the latest group to return to Syria from its western neighbor, the National News Agency reported on Monday.

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Report: Lebanon Cautions Against Street Protests to 'Pressure' Govt. Lineup

Lebanese officials and security leaders “agree to disagree” with resorting to street protests in a bid to solve the hurdle hampering the formation of the government out of “fear things spin out of control,” the Saudi Asharq al-Awsat daily reported on Monday.

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Al-Rahi Slams Officials for 'Seeking Partisan Interests, Heeding Foreign Diktats'

Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rahi on Sunday blasted the country's political leaders for the ongoing delay in the Cabinet formation process.

“Why are things deadlocked in Lebanon? Isn't it because officials are running after their interests and calculations, and perhaps foreign diktats, without giving the least consideration to public welfare, the people or the state's interests?” al-Rahi said in his Sunday Mass sermon.

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Kanaan Sees 'Signs' that Govt. Formation is Near

There are “incomplete signs” that suggest that the government formation crisis is “heading towards a breakthrough,” Strong Lebanon bloc secretary MP Ibrahim Kanaan has said.

There are indications that the government “will be formed soon,” Kanaan added in a TV interview.

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Berri Says 'Shiite Duo' Not Vetoing 'Sovereign Portfolio' for LF

Hizbullah and its Shiite ally AMAL Movement have no “veto” on the possibility of granting the Lebanese Forces a so-called sovereign ministerial portfolio in the new government, Speaker Nabih Berri has said.

“Berri was totally clear in telling (caretaker Information) Minister (Melhem) Riachi (of the LF) that he is helping PM-desingate (Saad) Hariri in his mission and that he has nothing to do whatsoever in the issue of sovereign portfolios that will go to Christians,” An-Nahar newspaper reported Sunday.

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