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Report: U.S. to Intensify Efforts to End Presidential Vacuum

U.S. Charge d'Affaires Richard Jones had held talks on Friday with Marada Movement chief MP Suleiman Franjieh in what An Nahar daily said on Saturday was the beginning of efforts by Washington to resolve the presidential vacuum.

The diplomatic efforts will continue after Monday as part of a series of meetings that will examine “guarantees” linked to the elections, said An Nahar.

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Geagea: March 14 Must Not Make Any Step unless It Serves March 14's Principles, Objectives

Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea stressed Friday that the March 14 coalition “must not make any step unless it serves the principles and objectives of March 14.”

“We are the Lebanese Resistance, the Cedar Revolution and March 14,” Geagea told LF members during a party ceremony in Maarab.

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Reports Say Servicemen Release Imminent as Ibrahim Says Case Hasn't Reached 'Final Phase'

A number of captive Lebanese servicemen are expected to be freed in a swap deal with the captors in the coming hours, reports said on Friday, as the General Security urged an end to media speculation.

“The Lebanese servicemen held by the Islamic State and al-Nusra Front will be freed tomorrow as part of a swap deal,” al-Mayadeen TV quoted a ministerial source as saying.

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Kataeb Delegation Meets Aoun, Urges 'Common Approach' on Electoral Law

A delegation from the Kataeb Party held talks Friday with Change and Reform bloc chief MP Michel Aoun in Rabieh, stressing that the main Christian political parties must reach a “common approach” on the thorny issue of the electoral law.

The delegation comprised Kataeb deputy chief Salim al-Sayegh and politburo member Albert Kostanian and the meeting was held in the presence of Change and Reform bloc secretary MP Ibrahim Kanaan.

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Salam Backs 'Any Rapprochement', Says Priority Must be for Electing President

Prime Minister Tammam Salam declared Friday his support for “any rapprochement” between the country's political forces, while stressing that the priority must be the election of a new president.

“We back any rapprochement or openness between political forces and we stress that the top priority in any discussion or settlement proposal must be for the election of a president,” Salam said in a speech at the opening of the Beirut International Arab Book Fair at BIEL.

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Army Arrests Nusra Member who Executed Soldier in 2014

The Army Intelligence arrested al-Qaida linked al-Nusra Front member, Ali Ahmed al-Lakkis, who had executed soldier Mohammed Hamiyeh in the wake of the Arsal clashes in 2014, the LBCI said on Friday.

Lakkis, an expert at preparing explosives and close to the so-called emir of al-Nusra Front in Qalamoun Abu Malik al-Talli, was caught with a fake Syrian passport at the Rafik Hariri International Airport, LBCI added.

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Iran to Run Tests to Uncover Cause of Abadi's Death in Saudi

Iran will conduct medical tests to establish if a high-ranking diplomat died of suffocation at this year's hajj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia, following widely contrasting accounts about his demise.

Suspicion has surrounded the case of Ghazanfar Roknabadi, 49, a former ambassador to Lebanon, with senior officials suggesting as late as two weeks ago that he was alive and being held hostage.

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Report: Lebanon Incurring $16 Billion in Losses from Refugee Crisis

Prime Minister Tammam Salam chaired on Thursday a meeting of the committee tasked with addressing the case of Syrian refugees in Lebanon, reported al-Joumhouria newspaper on Friday.

Sources from talks told the daily that Lebanon has incurred in the past year 16 billion dollars in losses as a result of the crisis.

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Report: Franjieh Met with Nasrallah ahead of Hariri Meeting

Marada Movement chief MP Suleiman Franjieh had held talks with Hizbullah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah prior to his talks with Mustaqbal Movement head MP Saad Hariri last week, reported al-Liwaa newspaper on Friday.

Concerned sources told the daily that the MP had informed Nasrallah of the details of his expected talks with Hariri.

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Electoral Committee Holds First Meeting on Monday

The parliamentary committee tasked with devising a new electoral law will hold its first meeting on Monday, reported An Nahar daily on Friday.

It said that the committee was scheduled to meet on Tuesday, but it decided to hold it on Monday instead.

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