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WikiLeaks: Saniora Predicted that Hizbullah Would Vanish from South

Former Premier Fouad Saniora expected Hizbullah to disappear from the south, saying it couldn’t lie “in the same bed with the Lebanese army and UNIIFL,” said a WikiLeaks cable published by al-Akhbar daily on Monday.

According to the cable, Saniora told ambassadors of the permanent members of the U.N. Security Council on August 14, 2006 that he had given Hizbullah a chance “to disarm immediately or after the Israeli withdrawal or hand over its arms to the Lebanese army.”

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WikiLeaks: Jumblat and Hamadeh Lamented Israel’s Weakness in 2006 War

Progressive Socialist Party leader Walid Jumblat and MP Marwan Hamadeh have reportedly warned that Hizbullah would continue to attack Israel even if both parties reached a ceasefire.

According to a WikiLeaks cable published by al-Akhbar daily, Jumblat and Hamadeh told U.S. diplomats during a dinner on August 6, 2006 that Speaker Nabih Berri and Hizbullah should be pressured into accepting a ceasefire.

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Decisive Week on Cabinet as Hizbullah Seeks Only to Find Common Ground on Aoun’s Demands

The delay in the formation of the government does not amount to a political crisis, well-informed sources told As Safir daily as sources close to Premier-designate Najib Miqati and Speaker Nabih Berri confirmed that this week will be decisive.

The sources of Miqati and Berri told pan-Arab daily al-Hayat in remarks published Monday that optimism on a possible cabinet formation this week was linked to the level of mediation by Miqati’s allies to solve the deadlock created by Free Patriotic Movement leader Michel Aoun’s demands.

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Berri Promises to Fight Confessionalism

Speaker Nabih Berri has reiterated that he would refer a draft law proposed by the civil society on the transition to a secular state to involved parliamentary committees.

In remarks to An Nahar daily published Monday, Berri said: “My stance from the abolishment of political confessionalism has been clear for years.”

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Jumblat Denies Remarks on Banking Sector, Salameh Confirms Banks Not Targeted

Progressive Socialist Party leader Walid Jumblat has denied that he had said Premier-designate Najib Miqati was being pressured by the U.S. through the Lebanese banking sector.

“I haven’t talked about any pressure over the banking issue” or other sectors, Jumblat told An Nahar daily in remarks published Monday after Hizbullah’s al-Manar TV quoted him as saying that Washington was pressuring Miqati by threatening to target banks in which he has shares.

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Miqati Says Cabinet Formation Making ‘Slow Progress,’ Syria Not Meddling

Premier-designate Najib Miqati has stressed that Syria wasn’t interfering in the cabinet formation process and said his efforts were making a “slow progress.”

“Syria has never interfered,” Miqati told An Nahar daily in remarks published Monday.

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Bahrain: Nasrallah's Remarks Harm Ties with Lebanon and its Interests in Gulf

Bahrain held the Lebanese government responsible for Hizbullah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah's latest remarks on the Gulf Kingdom, saying the statements would have a negative impact on ties between the two countries.

Bahrain condemns Nasrallah's "lies and allegations over the events in the kingdom aimed at serving foreign interests," said a foreign ministry statement on Sunday.

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Aridi: ‘Political Decision’ Preventing Army’s Consolidation

Caretaker Minister Ghazi Aridi said Sunday that a “political decision” was preventing the arming of the Lebanese military with weapons that consolidate it and help it confront Israel.

While Aridi did not say who had taken such a political decision, he stressed that Lebanese leaders should take a “unified stance” that says “no to using arms locally by any side or any team.”

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Thousands Rally against Confessional System

Thousands of Lebanese held a protest in Beirut on Sunday, the third in less than a month, to demand an end to the country's confessional system.

Men and women of all ages set off with children on a march from the residential neighborhood of Ashrafiyeh to the interior ministry demanding "the fall of the confessional regime."

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Raad Calls March 14 Officials ‘Filthy,’ Hints Cabinet Formation Waiting for Regional Developments

Hizbullah MP Mohammed Raad said Sunday that cables released by WikiLeaks on the alleged conspiracy of March 14 officials against the resistance would further unveil their “filthiness.”

During the opening of a conferences hall and a public library in the town of Nabatiyeh in the south, Raad said: “The upcoming leaks would probably show more filthiness from them.”

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