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Official: Qahwaji Had No Political Intention in his Mediation Effort

Army chief Gen. Jean Qahwaji had no personal interest or intentions when he sought to mediate to solve the interior ministry deadlock, a military official told As Safir newspaper.

Sources close to the cabinet formation process have said that Qahwaji has proposed Brig. Paul Matar as a possible consensus candidate for the interior ministry portfolio.

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WikiLeaks: Hariri Called for Immediate U.S. Assistance to Confront Hizbullah During May 7 Events

Caretaker Premier Saad Hariri has reportedly said during the May 7, 2008 events that the U.S. should provide immediate assistance to the March 14 forces.

In a WikiLeaks cable dated May 12, 2008, Hariri told former U.S. Ambassador Michele Sison that Washington should provide support to al-Mustaqbal movement in the next 24 hours to confront Hizbullah which controlled large parts of Sunni West Beirut.

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WikiLeaks: Geagea Wanted to Arm LF and PSP

Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea has reportedly declared that he was trying to provide his party and the Progressive Socialist Party, led by Walid Jumblat, with arms and ammunition.

In a WikiLeaks cable dated May 12, 2008 published in al-Akhbar newspaper on Tuesday, Geagea said that he was “working with Internal Security Forces chief Maj-Gen. Ashraf Rifi to buy ammunition for his militia and PSP fighters.”

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Miqati Meets Suleiman, Says Blocs Have a Lot of Demands as De Facto Cabinet Looms in Horizon

Prime Minister-designate Najib Miqati held talks with President Michel Suleiman on Wednesday on the ongoing efforts to form a new government, reported Voice of Lebanon Radio.

The meeting focused on maintaining contacts to ease various sides’ demands in the government formation, while a final structure for the Cabinet is expected soon.

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Berri: Absence of State Encouraged Public Property Violations

Speaker Nabih Berri said Wednesday that he was the first to ask for holding accountable those responsible of public property violations and restraining all illegal building on those properties.

MPs quoted Berri as saying after his weekly meeting with lawmakers that “the absence of the state, and the incapability of security forces to carry out their tasks and responsibilities encouraged people” to go ahead with the violations.

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Mustaqbal: March 8 Failure in Forming New Govt Led to Security Chaos, Economic Recession

The Mustaqbal parliamentary bloc on Tuesday noted that "the failure of the March 8 forces in forming a new cabinet – due to wrangling over the distribution of portfolios – has caused a political crisis whose repercussions have affected the security, economic and social situations.

"The thing that has led to a security chaos that involves the violation of public and private property, as well as to economic recession," the bloc said in a statement issued after its weekly meeting.

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Ex-Hizbullah Chief Tufayli Mourns Death of bin Laden

A former Hizbullah leader on Tuesday mourned the death of Osama bin Laden, whom he hailed as having "fought to defend Islam and its people."

Sheikh Sobhi al-Tufayli, the Iranian-backed group's first secretary general, lamented the death of a "great man, courageous, sincere in his faith, loyal to his convictions" in a statement eulogizing bin Laden.

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Phalange: Gemayel’s Proposal of National Salvation Government Most Suitable Solution to Current Crisis

The Phalange Party criticized on Tuesday the ongoing governmental vacuum in Lebanon, calling on officials to speed up the formation process and asserting that party leader Amin Gemayel’s suggestion to form a national salvation Cabinet is the best solution for Lebanon in this current phase.

It said after its weekly politburo meeting: “All excuses some sides had presented to avoid this proposal are baseless because the country is in need of leaders who can confront the repercussions regional developments may have on Lebanon.”

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Hamadeh Urges Suleiman and Miqati to ‘Liberate Themselves’ from Cheap Political Blackmail

MP Marwan Hamadeh called on President Michel Suleiman and Prime Minister-designate Najib Miqati to “liberate themselves from the cheap blackmail” that is forcing them to form a weak government that would be a failure on the Lebanese, Arab, and international scenes.

He said in a statement from parliament on Tuesday: “The silence of four months can no longer be maintained over the coup against the prime minister … as representatives of the popular majority that still stands on the Lebanese scene, we should make a few points clear before the collapse of the last of the constitutional institutions.”

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Suleiman: Bin Laden’s Killing Should Pave Way to Pressuring Israel to Reach Middle East Peace

President Michel Suleiman hoped on Tuesday that al-Qaida chief Osama bin Laden’s death would help pave the way for comprehensive peace in the Middle East.

He hoped that Israel would be pressured to this end and in order to settle the Palestinian crisis.

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