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Parliament to Hold Extraordinary Sessions

A decree was issued on Monday allowing the parliament to hold extraordinary sessions starting August 1.

Speaker Nabih Berri told As Safir newspaper that he will call on holding a parliamentary session next month.

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March 14 Rejects Dialogue Unless Suleiman Provides Guarantees Talks Would be Productive

The March 14-led opposition has said it would be useless to meet with the March 8 forces stressing that President Michel Suleiman should provide guarantees for a productive national dialogue before inviting for all party-talks at the Baabda palace.

High-ranking sources in al-Mustaqbal movement, the pillar of March 14, told As Safir newspaper Monday that the previous experience with dialogue was bad over the non-implementation of any decision reached between the conferees, including the international tribunal, the disarmament of Palestinians outside camps and the demarcation of the border with Syria.

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Berri Supports Dialogue to Evade Disputes

Speaker Nabih Berri said on Monday that he supports President Michel Suleiman’s announcement that he would re-launch the national dialogue, stressing the importance of all-party talks to “avoid all kinds of problems and disputes.”

“I am ready to participate again in the national dialogue… it plays a major role in calming people down and renders communication (between different parties easy),” Berri told As Safir newspaper.

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Report: Wissam al-Hassan to Become Lebanon’s New Ambassador to Riyadh

Police Intelligence chief Col. Wissam al-Hassan could be appointed ambassador to Saudi Arabia to replace Maj. Gen. Marwan Zein, whose mission ends next December, an informed ministerial source told al-Liwaa daily Monday.

The source expected the head of the Internal Security Forces Maj. Gen. Ashraf Rifi to remain in his post.

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Khaireddine Appointed State Minister to Replace Arslan

Baabda palace issued a decree on the appointment of Marwan Khaireddine as minister of state to replace Lebanese Democratic Party chief Talal Arslan on Monday.

The 30-member cabinet of Premier Najib Miqati is now complete with the new appointment.

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Geagea Denies Baabda Palace Rebuke

Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea denied that he had received a phone call from Baabda palace admonishing him for a stance that he had made lately.

In remarks to An Nahar daily from southern France, where he is vacationing with his wife, Geagea said that such a phone conversation did not take place.

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Roux Says Accused Can Participate in Trial in Absentia, Dispatch Lawyers to Court

Francois Roux, the head of the Defense Office of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, noted Sunday that those indicted by the court in the 2005 assassination of ex-PM Rafik Hariri can participate in the trials in absentia by dispatching their lawyers to court’s headquarters in The Hague.

In an interview with Al-Jadeed television, Roux said the Defense Office will not be directly in charge of defending the suspects, noting that he will rather name defense teams that will choose their own strategy and that the office will only aid them in their mission.

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Abu Faour: No Party Can Eliminate Others in this Country

Social Affairs Minister Wael Abu Faour stressed Sunday that “no party can practice hegemony or eliminate the other parties in this country.”

He noted that “governments, elections and alliances … come and go and only this country remains,” calling for preserving Lebanon through “national unity, coexistence, understanding and the spirit of reconciliation.”

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Firefighters Manage to Douse Huge Plastics Depot Blaze in Ouzai

Civil defense firefighters managed to extinguish a huge blaze that broke out Sunday at a large plastics depot in the Beirut southern suburb of Ouzai, near the Beirut Rafik Hariri International Airport, state-run National News Agency reported.

“The fire caused material damage only and the office of the state prosecutor has asked sworn experts to inspect the accident’s site on Monday and provide it with a report in order to take the relevant measures,” NNA added.

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Al-Rahi Celebrates Mass in Annaya on St. Charbel Day

Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rahi celebrated mass in the presence of President Michel Suleiman at the St. Charbel monastery in Annaya on Sunday.

Al-Rahi thanked Suleiman for attending the mass, saying the president’s presence was a confirmation that he was holding onto with the tradition that he started in the first year of his term.

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