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‘Concerned’ France Expects Lebanese Cabinet to Allow STL to Play its Role

France said Friday it was "concerned" by the Lebanese government's attitude towards the Special Tribunal for Lebanon that will try ex-Premier Rafik Hariri’s suspected assassins.

Foreign ministry spokesman Bernard Valero said France had noted Prime Minister Najib Miqati's promise that the cabinet would continue to cooperate with the STL.

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Parliamentary Majority: Street Action Won’t Topple Government

Street action won’t be able to topple Prime Minister Najib Miqati’s government, “not now, not later,” a parliamentary majority source told As Safir newspaper in remarks published on Friday.

It said that the March 14 camp had nullified the use of such an option when it had previously ignored the massive popular protests that called for the toppling of the government headed by Premier Fouad Saniora.

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Miqati from Serail: I Urge Cooperation between Opposition, Pro-Cabinet Forces to Achieve Nation’s Interest

An official reception was held at the Grand Serail Friday morning in honor of Prime Minister Najib Miqati after his government received the vote of confidence at parliament on Thursday, reported the National News Agency.

He said upon his arrival: “My hand is extended to all sides, the opposition before the pro-government forces, in order to set aside past disputes and start a new chapter of cooperation for the sake of Lebanon.”

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Sources: March 14 Walkout Means Rejection of Cabinet’s ‘Double Standards’

A decision by March 14 MPs to storm out of the parliament hall during the vote of confidence was taken last week and was an expression of discontent with the cabinet’s “double standards,” sources said Friday.

A Mustaqbal bloc source told al-Liwaa daily that the decision to walk out of parliament during Thursday's vote was taken at the large-scale meeting held at the Bristol hotel on Sunday.

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Ashton Concerned Over ‘Absence of Explicit Commitment to STL’

In the first foreign reaction to the vote of confidence that Prime Minister Najib Miqati’s cabinet received on Thursday, EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton expressed concern over the absence in the policy statement of an explicit commitment to the international tribunal.

The confidence vote “will enable Lebanon to respond to the political and economic challenges it is facing,” Ashton said in a statement.

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Tom Fletcher to Replace Guy as British Ambassador

Tom Fletcher is expected to replace Frances Mary Guy as British Ambassador to Lebanon next month after the Lebanese government approved his nomination.

After the announcement of his appointment as Ambassador to Beirut, Fletcher said: "I am thrilled to be coming to Lebanon at such a pivotal period, and will do all I can to support our shared objectives of political and economic stability and protection of democratic and human rights."

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Gemayel: Miqati’s Govt. Actually Got '56 Votes'

In the first comment by an opposition leader on the vote of confidence Premier Najib Miqati’s government won earlier in the day by a 68-vote majority, Phalange Party leader Amin Genayel sarcastically said “Miqati’s government actually got 56 votes.”

Explaining his point of view, Gemayel deducted the 12 votes of the members of Hizbullah’s Loyalty to Resistance bloc, noting that the remarks of MP Mohammed Raad, the head of the bloc, during the debate on the Policy Statement “totally contradict with the Policy Statement’s 14th article,” which stipulates that Lebanon will “respect” the Special Tribunal for Lebanon.

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Feltman May Visit Lebanon to Determine Exact U.S. Position on Government

An American administration official may visit Beirut next week in order to hold talks with Lebanese officials to determine the United States’ position on the new cabinet, reported the Central News Agency on Thursday.

The official, likely to be U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Jeffery Feltman, will hold talks with President Michel Suleiman and Prime Minister Najib Miqati and a number of other figures.

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UNTSO: International Investigation Computers are Still in Our Possession

The head of the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO) office in Beirut Richard Hauser stated on Thursday that the transportation of 97 computers by the United Nations International Independent Investigation Commission (UNIIIC) to Israel from Naqoura in southern Lebanon is a normal procedure adopted by the U.N.

His statements came as a response to Hizbullah chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah’s reveal of a UNTSO document stating that the computers belong to the UNIIIC and they were in fact moved to Israel.

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Miqati: I Am Not Abusing the STL to Remain in Power

Prime Minister Najib Miqati criticized on Thursday some of the statements issued by MPs during their discussions of the government policy statement at parliament during the past three days, saying that some of their remarks were unrealistic and illogical.

He said at the end of the discussions: “We welcome constructive criticism but some of the statements were irresponsible and violated my principles.”

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