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Miqati Holds 'Ice-Breaker Meeting' with Bassil, Two Khalils

Prime Minister-designate Najib Miqati held a meeting Wednesday evening with caretaker Energy and Water Minister Jebran Bassil, Speaker Nabih Berri’s political aide MP Ali Hassan Khalil and Hizbullah chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah’s Political Assistant Hussein Khalil, LBC television reported.

Earlier Wednesday, a meeting was held at the parliament between Miqati, Speaker Berri, Progressive Socialist Party leader MP Walid Jumblat, Free Patriotic Movement leader MP Michel Aoun and Marada Movement leader MP Suleiman Franjieh.

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Credit Libanais Bank Robber Arrested

Internal security forces in the Bekaa succeeded on Wednesday in arresting the head of a five-member gang responsible for the theft of LL 230 million from a Credit Libanais Bank vehicle less than 48 hours ago.

The arrest was made after the security forces raided the suspect’s home town of Hour Taala.

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Kabbara: We Will Not Stand Idly by as Syrian People are Massacred

Mustaqbal bloc MP Mohammed Kabbara voiced on Wednesday his support for the Syrian people and their plight against the ruling regime.

He said in a statement: “We will not stand idly by as the Syrian people are massacred and say that we will remain neutral.”

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March 14: President Must Cease Searching for Futile Settlements with March 8 Camp

The March General Secretariat called on Wednesday President Michel Suleiman to halt his efforts to reach “futile” settlements with the March 8 camp seeing as Hizbullah and its allies have sought take over Lebanon by force since the Cedar Revolution in 2005.

It said in a statement after its weekly meeting: “The President should cease cooperating with the camp that staged a coup against the previous government and force all political parties to assume their responsibilities.”

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Berri: We Oppose Monopoly of Power, Govt.’s Resignation Expands Parliament’s Authority

Speaker Nabih Berri stressed on Wednesday his ongoing respect for the Taef Accord and parliament’s internal system, stating that his call for a parliament session was constitutional.

He said during a press conference at parliament: “We oppose the monopoly of power and as parliament speaker, I cannot stand idly by as the constitution is being neglected.”

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Miqati Holds ‘Ice-Breaking’ Talks with Aoun, Says Parliament Should Stay Symbol for all Lebanese

Premier-designate Najib Miqati unveiled on Wednesday that he agreed with Free Patriotic Movement leader Michel Aoun on the need to take the necessary steps to facilitate the cabinet formation process.

Miqati told reporters in parliament that he held with Aoun closed-door talks during which they “reached an understanding on the next steps to facilitate the task of the prime minister-designate as part his constitutional authorities.”

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Jumblat Confirms his Alliance with March 8, Meeting at Parliament was ‘Nice Coincidence’

National Struggle Front bloc leader Walid Jumblat said Wednesday that he confirmed his alliance with Speaker Nabih Berri and Premier-designate Najib Miqati during talks they held along with several MPs at parliament.

The Druze chief told al-Jadeed TV that the meeting he held with Miqati, Berri and MPs Michel Aoun, Suleiman Franjieh, Mohammed Raad, Talal Arslan and Assaad Hardan, all members of the March 8 forces, was a “nice coincidence.”

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Controversial Parliamentary Session Postponed to June 15 over Lack of Quorum

Speaker Nabih Berri postponed on Wednesday a parliamentary session to June 15 over lack of quorum which came following the rejection of Walid Jumblat’s seven-member National Struggle Front bloc to attend.

Beirut newspapers had already expected the session not to be held over lack of quorum. Premier-designate Najib Miqati and his Tripoli allies, MPs Ahmed Karami and Mohammed Safadi, confirmed last week that they will not attend the session which had 49 items on its agenda, among them the renewal of Central Bank governor Riyad Salameh’s mandate.

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Cabinet Deadlock Continues to Take its Toll on Political Stability

The new dispute between Free Patriotic Movement leader Michel Aoun and President Michel Suleiman on the sixth Maronite minister in the new cabinet began to take its toll on the country’s political stability.

Consultations aimed at forming the government have lately hit the new snag of the sixth Maronite minister, whom Aoun refuses to be from Jbeil or Kesrouan to avoid being marginalized in the 2013 parliamentary elections.

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Report: Suleiman, Hariri Support Cabinet Session to Renew Salameh’s Mandate

President Michel Suleiman and Caretaker Premier Saad Hariri have given their consent to a proposal to hold an extraordinary cabinet session to renew the mandate of Central Bank governor Riyad Salameh, An Nahar daily said Wednesday.

The newspaper reported that Suleiman and Hariri accepted such a proposal as an alternative to Speaker Nabih Berri’s call to hold a parliamentary session that in addition to the mandate’s renewal has 48 other items on the agenda.

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