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Report: France Dubs Russian Refugees Initiative as ‘Mere Talk’

A Russian initiative aiming to help Syrian refugees return from Lebanon and other states back to their homeland is “mere empty talk,” Saudi al-Hayat daily reported on Thursday.

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Nasrallah: Iran Can Give Army Air Defense, Solve Electricity Problem

Hizbullah chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah announced Wednesday that he is willing to ask Iran to provide the Lebanese Army with weapons and air defense systems, while noting that Tehran can “easily” solve Lebanon's chronic electricity problem.

“Will the Lebanese government dare to accept the Iranian proposals? Why should Lebanon remain afraid to cooperate with Iran?” Nasrallah said in a televised address marking the 40th anniversary of Iran's Islamic revolution.

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Chidiac Says Bassil Shouldn't be Allowed to Voice Own Stance on Syria Abroad

State Minister for Administrative Development Affairs May Chidiac on Wednesday said that Foreign Minister Jebran Bassil should not be allowed to voice his own stances on the Syrian issue when representing Lebanon abroad.

“We cannot accept that Foreign Minister Jebran Bassil be allowed to express foreign policy stances at international forums without the presence of consensus on them” in Lebanon, Chidiac said after the meeting of a ministerial panel drafting the new Cabinet's Policy Statement.

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Ministerial Panel Finalizes Policy Statement amid LF Reservations

A ministerial panel tasked with drafting the Policy Statement of the new government finalized the text on Wednesday after a final reading session.

“Things were calm and the atmosphere was very positive,” Information Minister Jamal al-Jarrah said after the meeting.

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Al-Hassan Becomes 1st Female Arab Minister in Charge of Security

Lebanon's new interior minister Raya al-Hassan has taken office, becoming the country's and the Arab world's first female official in charge of powerful security agencies.

Al-Hassan welcomed the challenge, saying Prime Minister Saad Hariri put his trust in her and gave her "this big responsibility."

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PSP Delegation Says Keen on 'Accord' with Aoun, 'Pacification' with Hariri

A delegation from the Progressive Socialist Party held talks Wednesday with President Michel Aoun, in the wake of fiery stances that were voiced by PSP chief Walid Jumblat after the formation of the new government.

“Over the past period, Walid Jumblat made several visits to Baabda and we believe, on our part, that an accord was established between us. Today we reiterated Jumblat's keenness on it and we heard keenness from President Aoun on this consensus,” Industry Minister Wael Abu Faour of the PSP said.

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Berri: Confidence Sessions to be Held Tuesday, Wednesday

Speaker Nabih Berri announced Wednesday that Parliament will convene on Tuesday and Wednesday next week to discuss the cabinet's Policy Statement and vote on confidence in the new government.

Speaking to MPs during the weekly Ain el-Tineh meeting, Berri said he will call for morning and evening sessions on Tuesday and Wednesday and, if necessary, an afternoon session on Friday.

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Aoun: All Indications Suggest that Lebanon Will Rise

President Michel Aoun on Wednesday reassured citizens that “all indications suggest that Lebanon will rise.”

“Crises have become behind us, the financial situation is improving and interest rates are expected to start decreasing soon,” Aoun said.

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Hassan Says Interior Ministry Post ‘Challenging,’ Vows Strict Law Enforcement

Interior Minister Raya al-Hassan, at the handover process where she received the ministry from her predecessor Nouhad al-Mashnouq, said the new post constitutes a “challenge” for her as the first female interior minister, as she vowed strict enforcement of laws.

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Mashnouq Says Acted on 'al-Hassan's Instructions' in Removing Blocks

Former interior minister Nouhad al-Mashnouq announced Wednesday that concrete blocks protecting the interior ministry were removed at the request of the new interior minister, Rayya al-Hassan.

“To answer everyone's question: I have implemented the instructions of Minister Rayya al-Hassan in the removal of the blocks,” Mashnouq said at a handover ceremony at the ministry.

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