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Ferzli Says Berri May Meet Assad Soon

Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri could soon meet with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Deputy Speaker Elie Ferzli has said.

“A meeting between Speaker Nabih Berri and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is possible at any given moment,” Ferzli said in an interview with al-Mayadeen television.

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Hariri Offers Geagea '5 Seats', to Meet Jumblat, Bassil

Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri and Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea discussed the possibility of granting the LF five ministerial seats during their meeting Wednesday evening, media reports said.

Under the reported solution, the LF would give up its demand get the deputy PM post and its demand to get a so-called sovereign ministerial portfolio in return for getting five instead of four seats, highly informed sources told al-Liwaa newspaper in remarks published Thursday.

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No Regional 'Green Light' but Hariri to Present Line-Up 'within 24 Hours'

Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri will present a draft Cabinet line-up to President Michel Aoun within 24 hours although the formation of the new government has not yet received the needed “regional green light,” media reports said.

“Hariri will submit a government line-up to the president in the next 24 hours, but this line-up won't necessarily be the solution, but rather a draft solution, seeing as the current period is for resolving the (domestic) obstacles pending a regional green light that would lead to the formation of the Cabinet,” informed sources told al-Joumhouria daily in remarks published Thursday.

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Berri Says Parliament to Conduct Necessary Legislation if No Govt. Soon

Speaker Nabih Berri announced Wednesday that Parliament would resort to so-called “legislation of necessity” should the government take too long to be formed.

“The beginning of solutions is the presence of a national unity government that answers all questions and works to confront the challenges,” Berri told lawmakers during the weekly Ain el-Tineh meeting.

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Othman Slams 'Inaccuracy' after Reports Say Top Officer 'Facilitating Prostitution'

Internal Security Forces chief Maj. Gen. Imad Othman lamented Wednesday what he called “inaccuracy,” after media reports said the head of the ISF's Bureau for Combating Morality Crimes had been detained on charges of “involvement in running prostitution rings.”

“What is being circulated lacks the least requirements of accuracy and can be labeled as repugnant defamation,” Othman said in a statement.

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MPs Loyal to Aoun, Hariri Trade Jabs over Government

Lawmakers from the blocs of President Michel Aoun and Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri on Wednesday exchanged tirades over the delay in the Cabinet formation process.

“Dear PM-designate, it is true that the Constitution does not stipulate a deadline, but what's more correct is that it is not written due to the simple fact that it is linked to the regularity of the state's functions,” Strong Lebanon bloc MP Ziad Aswad tweeted, adding that the current government should not continue acting in caretaker capacity indefinitely.

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Russia Uses Softer Touch in Lebanon to Win Influence

In a dimly-lit classroom in a Lebanese mountain town, students of all ages pore over Cyrillic workbooks and repeat carefully after their blonde instructor.

"Privet. Kak dela?" -- "Hello, how are you?"

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Al-Sayyed to Hariri: Formation of Govts. Needs Statesmen

MP Jamil al-Sayyed lashed out Wednesday at Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri, noting that he is “not a statesman.”

“More than two weeks ago, I said that foreign forces were forbidding Hariri from forming the government, and I mentioned in the tweet that I would apologize to Hariri should he form the government within two weeks! The time has passed and he has not dared to form it,” al-Sayyed tweeted.

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Aoun Refuses to Bow to Jumblat's 'Moodiness', Geagea's 'Conditions'

President Michel Aoun is refusing to bow to Progressive Socialist Party chief Walid Jumblat's “moodiness” or to Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea's “conditions,” despite his enthusiasm to see the new government formed soon, media reports said.

“Aoun is among those most keen on the formation of the government, but strictly according to the results of the parliamentary elections without any deviation,” al-Joumhouria newspaper quoted “credible” sources as saying in remarks published Wednesday.

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New Government May be Delayed to Early 2019

The Cabinet formation process has witnessed no positive developments and the current complications are threatening to delay the creation of the new government until early 2019, media reports said.

“New hurdles are surfacing everyday and the parties concerned are not announcing their true stances,” al-Joumhouria newspaper reported Wednesday.

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