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Mustaqbal: Bekaa Developments Aimed at Returning Lebanon to Dark Period of its Past

The Mustaqbal bloc condemned on Tuesday the recent security developments in Lebanon, especially the kidnapping of seven Estonians in the Bekaa, which it said “are aimed at returning Lebanon to a dark period of its past.”

It added after its weekly meeting in Qoreitem headed by former Prime Minister Fouad Saniora: “Malicious powers are behind these incidents that are aimed at targeting mutual coexistence and destabilizing Lebanon.”

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Aoun: We Don’t Oppose Baroud’s Reappointment as Long as it’s Not to the Interior Ministry

Free Patriotic Movement leader MP Michel Aoun stated on Tuesday that no progress has been achieved in the government formation, stressing that the FPM is not obstructing the process.

He said after the movement’s weekly meeting: “The movement is seeking to regain central rights that have been lost.”

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Lebanese in Ivory Coast under Threat as Lebanon’s Ambassador Assures Plane Tickets and Aid Being Provided

The Lebanese Ambassador to the Ivory Coast Ali Ajami stressed on Tuesday that the situation in the African country is “getting more complicated as the political and security situations are unstable.”

He added to Voice of Lebanon radio on Tuesday that the Lebanese expatriates are being robbed, saying that several of them have already left the country.

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Al-Rahi Heads to the Vatican April 11 to Meet with the Pope, Celebrate Mass

Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rahi will travel to the Vatican on April 11 to meet with Pope Benedict XVI and celebrate mass there at St. Peter’s Basilica, the deputy chief of the Episcopal committee on the media announced Tuesday.

Father Elie Madi said during a press conference that the patriarch would visit the Vatican April 11-16 during which he would thank the pope for the letter he sent to al-Rahi the day he was elected.

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Mario Aoun: I Didn’t Say al-Rahi’s Remark on Baroud was ‘Irresponsible’

Former minister Mario Aoun stressed on Tuesday that he described Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rahi’s remark on Caretaker Interior Minister Ziad Baroud as “unprecedented” but not “irresponsible.”

“I didn’t say it was irresponsible,” Aoun told Voice of Lebanon radio station. “It is unprecedented … We haven’t gotten used to such remarks from a high religious authority.”

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No Progress in Probe on Church Blast Amid Plan to Put Cameras at Zahle Entrances

The blast at the Syriac Orthodox church in Zahle went off after a call was made to a mobile phone attached to the detonation fuse, the first time a bomb has been detonated via cell phone in Lebanon, An Nahar daily reported Tuesday.

The newspaper said the investigation into the bombing on Sunday revealed that the culprits linked the detonation fuse of the 2 kilogram-TNT device to a phone that has a SIM card. Its remains were found near the church.

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Cabinet Deadlock Expands over Demands for Faisal Karami’s Representation

Premier-designate Najib Miqati is expected to visit President Michel Suleiman on Tuesday and propose to him a de facto cabinet lineup, former Prime Minister Omar Karami’s sources told As Safir daily.

They said the draft lineup does not include the name of Faisal Omar Karami. According to the sources, Free Patriotic Movement leader Michel Aoun is not aware of it and Hizbullah has already informed Miqati that it rejects a cabinet that doesn’t include Karami.

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Nasrallah, Jumblat Discuss Cabinet Formation Efforts

Hizbullah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah and Progressive Socialist Party chief Walid Jumblat discussed the latest developments and cabinet formation efforts, a Hizbullah statement said Monday.

The statement said that Caretaker Minister Ghazi Aridi and Wafiq Safa attended the meeting at an undisclosed location. It did not say when the meeting took place.

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Jumblat Urges Hariri to Return to Dialogue Table in 1st Phone Conversation in 2 Months

Progressive Socialist Party leader Walid Jumblat has reportedly held a telephone conversation with Caretaker Premier Saad Hariri, the first contact between the two men since the Druze leader named Najib Miqati as premier-designate more than two months ago.

Pan-Arab daily al-Hayat quoted informed sources as saying on Tuesday that Jumblat called Hariri and stressed to him the need to return to the national dialogue table.

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Syria Releases Two Lebanese Reuters Journalists

Two Reuters journalists who went missing at the weekend while covering the recent unrest in Syria have been released by authorities and have returned to Beirut, the news agency said Monday.

Reuters editor-in-chief Stephen Adler was quoted as saying that television producer Ayat Basma and cameraman Ezzat Baltaji were back in their home base in Beirut and were doing well.

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