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Lebanese Canadian Bank to Merge with SGBL

The Lebanese Canadian Bank (LCB) accused by the U.S. of money laundering and links to Hizbullah will be merged with Societe Generale, Central Bank Governor Riad Salameh announced.

Four banks had sought to acquire LCB but Societe General (SGBL) made the best offer, Salameh said late Thursday in an interview with LBCI television network.

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Jumblat Warns Against ‘Destructive Calculation’ of Resolution Under Chapter 7

Progressive Socialist Party leader Walid Jumblat has warned that efforts by some Lebanese parties to resort to Chapter 7 of the U.N. charter would have dangerous consequences on Lebanon.

“This is a destructive calculation,” he said about Premier-designate Najib Miqati’s allegation that some Lebanese were seeking for a U.N. Security Council resolution on Lebanon under Chapter 7.

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Hariri Rejects Partnership with ‘Arms Put in the Face of Lebanese’

Caretaker Premier Saad Hariri reiterated that he rejects to become a partner with Hizbullah’s arms that have allegedly turned against the Lebanese.

“Former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri and I preserved the resistance,” Saad Hariri told An Nahar daily in an interview published Friday but said he would no longer defend it “after it put arms in the face of the Lebanese.”

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France and Britain: Lebanon Should Cooperate with STL Investigators

The French and British foreign ministers have stressed that the Special Tribunal for Lebanon should continue to operate despite rejections by the March 8 forces to cooperate with the court.

"France has clearly stated that the STL should continue its work, and Lebanon should keep on cooperating with investigators” in ex-Premier Rafik Hariri’s assassination case, French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said during a press conference he held with his British counterpart William Hague in Paris on Thursday.

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Sfeir Slams Hizbullah’s Arms and Denies Accusations of Bias

Outgoing Maronite Patriarch Nasrallah Sfeir denied that he had been biased during his 25-year tenure and reiterated that only the Lebanese army should carry arms.

“I support things that I see beneficial to the sect and the nation,” Sfeir told An Nahar daily in an interview published Friday. “I am neither with them nor against them,” he said about the different factions in the country.

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Miqati Surprised by Bellemare's Requests after Draft Indictment Submittal

Premier-designate Najib Miqati said Thursday he had information suggesting that some parties were urging world powers to issue a U.N. Security Council resolution under Chapter 7, after four Lebanese ministers turned down requests from the Special Tribunal for Lebanon prosecutor to provide information and documents, Al-Manar TV reported.

Al-Manar quoted Miqati as saying that he was surprised by STL Prosecutor Daniel Bellemare's recent requests given that a draft indictment had been already submitted by Bellemare to STL Pre-Trial Judge Daniel Fransen on January 17.

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Williams after Meeting Bassil: Demarcating Maritime Border Should Stand as Obstacle for Drilling for Oil

U.N. Special Coordinator for Lebanon Michael Williams revealed on Thursday that the international organization is currently studying the best way to assist Lebanon in drilling for petroleum in the Mediterranean and demarcating its maritime border.

He made his statements after holding talks with Caretaker Energy Minister Jebran Bassil on the political situation in Lebanon and the economic challenges facing it, as well as the government formation process.

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Pietton after Meeting Berri: We Hope New Government Will Respect International Agreements

French Ambassador to Lebanon Denis Pietton hoped on Thursday that the new government would be formed as soon as possible “because Lebanon is in need of its institutions.”

He said after holding talks with House Speaker Nabih Berri that the new government should also respect international agreements and maintain Lebanese unity.

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Geagea: Lebanese Army Better Equipped and Trained than Hizbullah

Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea criticized on Thursday Hizbullah’s possession of arms, saying that if this issue is not resolved, then any side attempting to constructive governmental functioning will fail.

He told France 24 and Radio Monte Carlo: “Its arms can be used to obstruct the democratic process in Lebanon or take it off its course, similar to what happened a month an a half ago.”

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Gemayel Says Situation Delicate, Warns Over Return of Hegemony Era

Phalange Party leader Amin Gemayel warned on Wednesday over the return to the era of hegemony under the reign of Premier-designate Najib Miqati’s government.

Describing the current political situation as “delicate,” Gemayel said following talks with Maronite Patriarch Nasrallah Sfeir in Bkirki that “there are fears over the return … of hegemony and repression.”

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