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Syrian Green Light Turns Orange but Miqati Stresses Obstacles are Local

The Syrian green light for the quick formation of the new government in Lebanon began receding, An Nahar daily said Saturday despite insistence by Premier-designate Najib Miqati that he wasn’t being pressured by foreign parties.

Sources following up the formation of the cabinet said that the green light received from Damascus succeeded in finding a solution to the interior ministry deadlock but later brought the cabinet formation crisis to a standstill after flashing orange.

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Suleiman: Interior Minister Should Stand at an Equal Distance from All Sides

President Michel Suleiman praised on Friday the Christian-Islamic summit held at Bkirki on Thursday saying that it should bolster dialogue and coexistence among Lebanese.

He said during the inauguration of a hall at St. Joseph University in Beirut: “While we fear the consequences the Arab developments may have on their own people, we are satisfied that reforms in these countries are leading to the drafting of laws that Lebanon had adopted since its formation.”

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50 Syrian Families Flee Unrest into Lebanon's Wadi Khaled

Syrian families fearing fresh violence during anti-regime protests on Friday fled into the area of Wadi Khaled in northern Lebanon, a local official told Agence France Presse.

"Around 50 Syrian families from Homs, Tall Kalakh and Bab al-Sebaa entered Wadi Khaled via the illegal Naoura crossing," Fayez Abdullah, mayor of the village of Amayer in Wadi Khaled, told AFP.

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Eight Cluster Bombs End up in Man’s Garden in the South

The house of a southerner was damaged on Friday after demining experts disposed of eight cluster bombs in the town of Deir Qanoun-Ras al-Ain in Tyre, the National News Agency said.

NNA said that Hussein Hammoud discovered a cluster bomb at his home’s garden and informed deminers about it. When they searched the area, they found 7 other bombs.

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Higher Islamic Shiite Council Objects to 'State’s Right to Liberate its Land'

The Higher Islamic Shiite Council’s objections against the Christian-Islamic summit’s closing statement reflected the turbulent political situation in Lebanon and raised questions over the possibility of holding another summit in the future, reported As Safir on Friday.

“Should the summit have been held without an agreement being reached or was it better that it not be held at all?” it asked.

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Dispute Over 6 Maronite Ministers: Aoun Wants 5 while Suleiman Wants 2

A solution to the stalemate of the interior ministry portfolio gave rise to a dispute between President Michel Suleiman and Free Patriotic Movement chief Michel Aoun on the Maronite ministers.

An Nahar daily said that after Suleiman approved Aoun’s suggestion to name retired Internal Security Forces Maj. Gen. Marwan Charbel for the interior ministry post, he asked for a second Maronite minister to be part of his share in the new cabinet given that the FPM chief has claimed that Charbel is a consensual candidate and should not represent the president alone.

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Conflicting Reports on Whether Meeting Between Miqati and Envoys of Berri, Nasrallah, Aoun was Held

There were conflicting reports on Friday on whether a meeting between Premier-designate Najib Miqati and the envoys of Speaker Nabih Berri, Hizbullah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah and Free Patriotic Movement chief Michel Aoun was held the day before.

An Nahar daily quoted March 8 sources as saying that the meeting that was scheduled to be held between Miqati, MP Ali Hassan Khalil, Hussein Khalil and Jebran Bassil on Thursday afternoon was postponed in a sign that the three envoys haven’t yet prepared answers to some specific points.

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Syria Informed Jumblat about its Frustration over Cabinet Deadlock

Progressive Socialist Party leader Walid Jumblat expressed the Syrian officials’ annoyance over the delay in the Lebanese cabinet formation, after his return from Damascus Thursday night.

“The Syrian officials are aware of the true reasons behind the delay in the government formation,” according to information obtained by al-Liwaa newspaper on Friday.

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No Plans for Imminent Visit by Feltman to Beirut

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Jeffrey Feltman has no plans to visit Beirut, informed diplomatic sources told An-Nahar daily.

They denied that the former U.S ambassador to Lebanon is to arrive to Lebanon soon.

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Obstacles of Telecom, Energy and Justice Ministries Begin Appearing

Premier-designate Najib Miqati and Free Patriotic Movement leader Michel Aoun are at loggerheads over several portfolios despite a solution to the interior ministry which the FPM chief and President Michel Suleiman were bickering over for the past several months.

Al-Liwaa daily said Friday that Miqati and Aoun are competing over the telecommunications portfolio which is part of the latter’s share in the caretaking cabinet.

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