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Charbel Says Security Situation Stable, Indictment Release will Have No Repercussions

Interior Minister Marwan Charbel assured the Lebanese that the security situation is stable and that the release of the indictment by the Special Tribunal for Lebanon will not have any repercussions on the ground.

Charbel told Voice of Lebanon radio station (100.5) that the “indictment is just an indictment and it’s not a final verdict, so why all the fuss about making a security deployment as if something has happened.”

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Cabinet Convenes to Discuss Policy Statement

The cabinet held a session at Baabda palace on Thursday to discuss the policy statement that was adopted a day earlier by a 12-member committee tasked with drafting it.

The cabinet meeting was preceded by closed-door talks between President Michel Suleiman and PM Najib Miqati.

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Hizbullah Says it Succeeded in Absorbing Indictment’s Impact

Hizbullah sources said the Shiite party had succeeded in absorbing the strife-prone impact of the indictment that is expected to be issued by the Special Tribunal for Lebanon.

In remarks to pan-Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat on Thursday, the sources said: “We expect the indictment to be issued any moment but we consider ourselves that we succeeded in absorbing its strife prone impact.”

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Ban Calls Miqati, Praises his Reiteration of Commitment to International Resolutions

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon telephoned Premier Najib Miqati to congratulate him on the formation of the cabinet and stress that the world body was committed to its support for Lebanon.

During their phone conversation on Wednesday night, Ban lauded Miqati for reiterating Lebanon’s respect for international resolutions.

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Saniora from Egypt: No One Can Assert with Certainty Indictment Release Date

Head of the Mustaqbal parliamentary bloc, former premier Fouad Saniora, on Wednesday noted that “no one can assert with certainty the release date of the indictment” of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon in the case of former premier Rafik Hariri’s 2005 assassination.

Asked about reports that the release of the indictment was imminent and the possible impact on the new government, Saniora said he did not believe the reports were aimed at “challenging the current government or embarrassing it regarding the issue of the ministerial Policy Statement.”

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Berri: Intense Efforts Underway to Finalize Policy Statement to Avoid Cabinet’s Resignation

Speaker Nabih Berri stated on Wednesday that intense efforts are being exerted to speed up the drafting of the government policy statement within the next few days.

He said before MPs during his weekly meeting at parliament: “Based on the constitution, 30 days are given for the policy statement to be finalized … and therefore should the committee fail to do so within the deadline, the cabinet will be considered resigned, becoming a caretaker government.”

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March 14: We Will Firmly Confront Any Attempt to Escape International Commitments

The March 14 General Secretariat stated on Wednesday that the ongoing talks, “led by the Syria and Hizbullah,” to draft a government policy statement are aimed at breaking Lebanon’s commitment with the Special Tribunal for Lebanon.

It said in a statement after its weekly meeting: “The March 14 camp stresses that it will firmly confront any attempt to escape Lebanon’s international commitments.”

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Miqati: I Will Take Suitable Constitutional Decision if Policy Statement Not Finalized on Time

Premier Najib Miqati vowed on Wednesday to take the appropriate constitutional decision if a 12-member committee failed to draft the cabinet’s policy statement by the end of the constitutional period.

The prime minister stressed that contacts are ongoing between him and Speaker Nabih Berri, Progressive Socialist Party leader MP Walid Jumblat, and Hizbullah in order to reach an agreement over the policy statement clause on the Special Tribunal for Lebanon and the government’s commitment to international agreements.

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Connelly Meets Aoun: Hizbullah’s Claims against U.S. Attempt to Divert Attention from Tensions in Party

U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon Maura Connelly stated on Wednesday that Hizbullah Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah’s recent statements against the U.S. Embassy in Lebanon are aimed at “deflecting attention away from internal tensions in the party.”

She said after holding talks with Free Patriotic Movement leader MP Michel Aoun: “We discussed the new government and I repeated the U.S. decision which is we will judge the new government by its composition, its ministerial statement, and the actions it takes.”

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Tribunal Indictment Date Continues to Baffle Lebanese

A high-ranking source hinted on Wednesday that the Special Tribunal for Lebanon would issue the indictment at a time when the Lebanese cabinet reached a positive stage by engaging in consultations to draft its policy statement.

“Every time we reach a positive stage, they brandish us with the indictment. This has happened in the past and is taking place today after the formation of the government and the start of consultations on the policy statement,” the source told As Safir.

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