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AMAL Responds to WikiLeaks: Claims are Part of Conspiratorial Political Campaign against Party, Berri

The AMAL party condemned on Thursday the recent WikiLeaks report that focused on a meeting between party leader Speaker Nabih Berri and former U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon Jeffrey Feltman, which it said was part of a “political campaign aimed at eliminating AMAL and tarnishing it reputation.”

The cable is part of a conspiratorial political plan that has failed before and will fail again, the party said in a statement.

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Suleiman Discusses Prison File with Najjar, Rifi: Prisons Will Be Priority for New Government

President Michel Suleiman stressed on Thursday that the prison file will be a priority for the new government where it will implement “radical solutions to its chronic problems.”

He made his statements during a meeting with caretaker Justice Minister Ibrahim Najjar, Internal Security Forces chief Ashraf Rifi, and acting gendarmerie chief Salah Jebran on the prison file.

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Hariri Orders Formation of Committee to Aid Lebanese Expatriates in Ivory Coast

Caretaker Prime Minister Saad Hariri ordered the formation of a committee to support and aid the Lebanese expatriates in the Ivory Coast based on recommendations of the Higher Relief Commission’s latest meeting.

The committee will be place a plan to help evacuate expatriates seeking to flee the African country, as well as provide their basic needs through the cooperation of ministries, public administrations, security forces, and the Lebanese Embassy in the Ivory Coast.

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Geagea: Magical Equation of Army-People-Resistance Does Not Exist

Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea criticized on Thursday the equation of the army-people-Resistance, saying that the idea of a state and Resistance cannot exist at the same time.

He stated: “The other camp’s statements indicate that their idea of a nation is the resistance, while the nation we are seeking to establish is insignificant to them.”

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Williams Meets al-Rahi, Miqati: We Look Forward to the Early Government Formation

U.N. Special Coordinator for Lebanon Michael Williams held talks on Thursday with Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rahi, during which he welcomed his calls for openness and dialogue with other religions and other countries.

He said after the meeting: “I told him that the slogan of ‘Partnership and Love’ he has chosen was very timely and essential in this period of turbulence in the Arab region.”

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WikiLeaks: Feltman Says Berri Hates Hizbullah More than March 14 Politicians Do

A leaked U.S. Embassy cable published exclusively in Al-Akhbar on Thursday revealed that Speaker Nabih Berri believed that Hizbullah underestimated Israel’s response to the party’s kidnapping of two Israeli soldiers that sparked the July 2006 war.

He made his statements to former U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon Jeffrey Feltman, who also reported him as saying that Berri is definitely Iran and Syria’s ally … but it would be wrong to look at him as a milder copy of Hizbullah.

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Hariri: Iranian Intervention Biggest Challenge Facing Arabs

Caretaker Premier Saad Hariri stressed on Thursday that the biggest challenge facing the Arab world is “Iran’s persistent violations,” rejecting the Iranian intervention in the internal affairs of Arab countries.

Hariri accused the Iranian authorities of trying to turn Lebanon and other Gulf states into an Iranian protectorate.

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WikiLeaks: Mohammed Jawad Khalife Warned that Hizbullah Would ‘Turn Our Life Into Hell’

Caretaker Health Minister Mohammed Jawad Khalife has warned that Hizbullah would “turn our life into hell politically” if Syria failed to reach an agreement with the U.N. commission investigating ex-Premier Rafik Hariri’s assassination.

During a meeting with then U.S. Ambassador Jeffrey Feltman on September 28, 2006, and according to a WikiLeaks cable, Khalife said car bombings and “terrorist attacks” would resume in Lebanon if Damascus failed to strike a deal with the U.N. investigators.

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WikiLeaks: Salloukh Offered to Mediate between U.S. and Hizbullah

Former Foreign Minister Fawzi Salloukh has reportedly told ex-U.S. Ambassador Jeffrey Feltman that he was ready to mediate between the diplomat and Hizbullah.

However, Feltman rejected the offer saying “we don’t send messages to Hizbullah” which the U.S. considers a terrorist organization.

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U.S. Embassy Official Denies Lebanese Bank 'Watch List'

The U.S. is not targeting Lebanese banks and will not look to levy “eminent punitive actions” against any bank, a senior economic adviser at the U.S. embassy told The Daily Star.

“The U.S. Treasury Department is not and will not levy charges against a single Lebanese bank,” the source said in remarks published Thursday, denying claims of the existence of a watch list of Lebanese banks.

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