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Cabinet ‘Identity’ to be Unveiled as Soon as March 14 Announces its Decision to Miqati

Prime Minister-designate Najib Miqati is expected to hold a “very important meeting” with a high-ranking March 14 official on Friday, An Nahar newspaper reported.

The cabinet’s structure and “identity” would be decided after Friday’s meeting in the aftermath of days of consultations with several March 14 members, the daily said.

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Jumblat Meets Miqati, Calls for Forming National Unity Govt

Progressive Socialist Party leader MP Walid Jumblat on Thursday held talks with Prime Minister-designate Najib Miqati in Verdun, in the presence of acting public works and transport minister Ghazi Aridi.

Jumblat declined to make a statement after the meeting. However, MTV reported that talks between the two men did not tackle the distribution of portfolios in the new cabinet.

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Aoun after Meeting Miqati: We're Still Studying Cabinet Formation to Determine Distribution of Portfolios

Free Patriotic Movement leader MP Michel Aoun stressed on Thursday after meeting Prime Minister-designate Najib Miqati that "the phase of making an agreement over the distribution of portfolios in the new government has not been reached."

He instead said that the discussions over the formation of the Cabinet are still underway.

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Police, Protesters Clash at Egyptian Embassy in Beirut

More than 100 demonstrators briefly clashed with police outside the Egyptian embassy in Beirut on Thursday after they tried to break through the security cordon around the diplomatic mission, a security official said.

"Police intervened to push back the demonstrators after they tried to break through the barbed wire in order to enter the embassy," the official told Agence France Presse, speaking on condition of anonymity.

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Israel Constructs Fence around Ghajar, Talk of its Withdrawal Come to an End

Israeli troops began constructing a barbed wire fence around the southern village of Ghajar on Thursday.

A high-ranking United Nations Interim Force officer inspected the site, while a source from the international force told the Central News Agency that the issue of Ghajar is very difficult and complicated, adding that it needs time to be resolved.

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Harb: Miqati Seeks Participation of All Powers in Cabinet, He Will Face Challenges from those Who Nominated him

Caretaker Labor Minister Butros Harb stated on Thursday that Prime Minister-designate Najib Miqati is attempting to allow the participation of all political powers in the new government, including the March 14 forces.

He told the Central News Agency that the March 14 camp may take part in Cabinet if Miqati respects the issue of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon and Hizbullah’s arms possession, and if he ensures that the March 14 forces would be able to play an effective role in preventing decisions that would harm Lebanon.

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Gemayel: Those Who Voted for Miqati Should Cooperate with him, Not Set Obstacles in his Path

Phalange Party leader Amin Gemayel stressed on Thursday that Prime Minister-designate Najib Miqati’s allies should facilitate his mission of forming a new government.

He said after holding talks with British Ambassador to Lebanon Francis Mary Guy that the March 14 camp has done all it could, met Miqati, and informed him of its readiness to maintain Lebanon’s interest.

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Lebanon Economy to Weather Political Storm

Lebanon's economy should be able to survive the political turmoil that has seen the appointment of a Hizbullah-backed premier due to the strength of the country's banking system and replete foreign currency reserves, analysts say.

"The financial defense lines are currently the strongest in Lebanon's history," said Marwan Barakat, chief economist at Bank Audi, one of the leading banks in the country.

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Aoun Denies Naming Miqati to Avenge Hariri: He Thinks Lebanon is One of his Private Companies

Free Patriotic Movement leader Michel Aoun has denied that he nominated Najib Miqati as premier to take revenge on Saad Hariri for shunning him from the presidency.

In an interview with the Qatari al-Watan newspaper published Thursday, Aoun said he named Miqati because he had a problem with Hariri’s internal policies.

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Lebanon's Egyptians Anxiously Eye Cairo Upheaval

Egyptians in Lebanon are anxiously watching developments in their strife-torn homeland, fearing that their country is sliding into an unending cycle of chaos and political turmoil.

"All I can think, watching the protests, is that we are going to be the next Lebanon or even the next Iraq," said Shahta al-Masri, a Beirut gas station attendant who hails from Al-Mahalla Al-Kubra in the Nile Delta.

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