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Jumblat: Chances Dim to Form Govt. Soon, Unless Hariri Pulls a Surprise

In light of anticipations that a breakthrough in Lebanon’s government formation could be nearing, Progressive Socialist Party leader ex-MP Walid Jumblat said hopes are "dim" unless Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri pulls out a surprise.

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Lazzarini: Lebanon-Israel Border Most Stable in Region

Philippe Lazzarini, Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Lebanon, said the Lebanese border with occupied Palestine is one of the “most stable” in the Middle East in recent years, and stressed that Lebanon and Israel “do not want war,” Asharq al-Awsat newspaper reported on Thursday.

The security situation on Lebanon’s southern border deteriorated in December after Israel launched operation “Northern Shield” aimed at destroying Hizbullah tunnels. This prompted a military alert on both sides of the border, followed by the resumption of Israeli forces building a concrete wall at conservative border points, which increased the tensions in the region.

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Reports: Bassil Gives Up 11th Minister, Strikes Deal with Hizbullah, Mrad

Free Patriotic Movement chief MP Jebran Bassil has agreed to give up the one-third-plus-one veto power in the new government as part of a deal reached with Hizbullah, media reports said on Wednesday.

“Bassil has given up the 11-minister share in return for getting the environment portfolio,” MTV reported.

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Kardel Meets Hariri, Says Formation of Unity Govt. 'Essential'

Acting U.N. Special Coordinator Pernille Dahler Kardel held talks Wednesday with Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri and described the formation of the new government as “essential both for the stability and continuity of the country’s state institutions.”

“I just had a meeting with His Excellency Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri and as always it is a great honor to meet him. Today was my last meeting with him where I bid him farewell before I finish my tour in Lebanon very soon. I expressed my deepest appreciation for the partnership that he and Lebanon have shown me and how I have been helped and supported as I have been implementing my mandate during the 14 months I have been here,” Kardel said after the meeting.

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Ferzli Says Govt. Nearing Formation as Berri Says 'Little Issue' Being Resolved

Speaker Nabih Berri said Wednesday that the government formation talks are focusing on two points: “how to represent the Consultative Gathering and some final touches on some portfolios.”

“A little issue is still being resolved, which is the political alignment of the Consultative Gathering's representative,” MP Ali Bazzi quoted Berri as saying during the weekly Ain el-Tineh meeting.

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Israel Breaches Technical Fence in Wazzani, Combs Area

Israeli infantry troops crossed the technical fence along the border with Lebanon in the Wazzani district in Marjayoun area, the National News Agency reported on Wednesday.

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Italian PM to Visit Lebanon Next Week

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte will visit Lebanon next week for talks with the country's top leaders, Lebanon's state-run National News Agency said.

The Italian foreign ministry told NNA that the new Italian government will continue to support Lebanon and that there is no change in policy towards it.

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Berri Says Delay in Forming Govt. is ‘Shameful’

Speaker Nabih Berri criticized the stalled efforts to form Lebanon’s government and described them as “shameful and a real farce,” but nevertheless affirmed “ongoing” negotiations with the Consultative Gathering group in order to find the “appropriate” format.

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American Envoy Meets Senior Lebanese Officials

Assistant U.S. Treasury Secretary for Terrorist Financing, Marshall Billingslea, is scheduled to meet with senior Lebanese officials during his official visit to Lebanon that began Wednesday with President Michel Aoun, al-Joumhouria daily reported.

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Reports Say Govt. in 'Next 2 Days' as March 8 Sunni MPs Meet Hizbullah

The new government is expected to be formed on Wednesday or Thursday, media reports said on Tuesday.

“Baabda and Hizbullah expect the government to be formed in the next two days,” al-Jadeed television reported.

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