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Army Frees 3 Abducted Iraqis after Gunfight with Kidnappers in Wadi Khaled

Army troops managed Sunday to liberate three Iraqi nationals abducted on May 20 in the northern border town of al-Bqaiaa after a gunfight with the kidnappers in neighboring Wadi Khaled, the Army Command's Orientation Directorate said in a statement.

"After the army's intelligence directorate acquired information about the disappearance of three Iraqi citizens in the al-Bqaiaa area on May 20, the directorate conducted a series of investigations that led to locating them," the orientation directorate said in its statement.

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Obama Accuses Hizbullah of Exercising 'Political Assassination'

U.S. President Barack Obama on Sunday accused Hizbullah of exercising "political assassination," as he condemned Iran's support for "extremists" in the region.

Speaking at the pro-Israel lobby AIPAC Policy Conference, Obama pointed to Iranian "hypocrisy" in "claiming to support the rights of protesters" in the region "while treating its own people with brutality."

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Al-Rahi Meets Raffarin, Says God would Hold Accountable Oppressors

Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rahi said in his Sunday sermon that officials should be aware that God would hold them accountable if they were derelict in their duties and oppressed the people.

After celebrating mass in Bkirki, al-Rahi met with the visiting French deputy Senate leader, Jean-Pierre Raffarin.

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Hizbullah: Feltman Told Suleiman, Miqati that Cabinet ‘Shouldn’t Witness Light’

Hizbullah MPs have said that U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Jeffrey Feltman has informed President Michel Suleiman and Premier-designate Najib Miqati that the new cabinet should not be formed.

The MPs told pan-Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat in remarks published Sunday that Feltman carried a message to Suleiman and Miqati that the government “should not witness light.”

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March 8: No Cabinet is Looming in Horizon

The March 8 forces have expressed pessimism at solving the cabinet deadlock soon, saying contacts between Premier-designate Najib Miqati and the different parties of the March 8 forces have been in a standstill since last Wednesday.

The circles of the new parliamentary majority told An Nahar daily published Sunday that although Miqati stayed in touch with Hizbullah and Speaker Nabih Berri’s Amal movement, the different sides are not expected to meet with the premier-designate next week.

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Miqati Resumes Consultations on Monday, his Circles Hint about Politicians-Technocrats Cabinet

Premier-designate Najib Miqati held talks with top Lebanese official away from the media spotlight over the weekend in a bid to end the impasse which he claims is the result of lingering by the different parties of the March 8 forces to provide him with the names they suggest for the portfolios that are part of their shares in the new cabinet.

Sources following Miqati’s consultations told An Nahar daily in remarks published Sunday that the premier-designate was still waiting for the list of names that the new parliamentary majority should suggest to him in accordance with the constitution.

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Paris Says Cabinet Deadlock Linked to Syria as West Expresses Readiness to Help

The standstill in the cabinet is the result of the upheaval in Syria, western sources said, stressing they remain adamant that Premier-designate Najib Miqati was nominated after a coup by the new parliamentary majority against Caretaker Premier Saad Hariri’s government.

Paris informed Miqati’s advisor Joe Issa al-Khoury that it insists on its stance that the nomination came after “a forceful coup that toppled the cabinet that had emerged from the Doha accord,” French sources told pan-Arab daily al-Hayat in remarks published Sunday.

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Berri: My Busy Schedule Prevented Me from Meeting Feltman

Speaker Nabih Berri stated on Saturday that his busy schedule prevented him from meeting with U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Jeffrey Feltman on Friday.

He explained to reporters: “I was in the South and it helped me see the clear picture when he visited various officials, whom we all trust.”

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Miqati Meets Shebani, Stresses Importance of Implementing Agreements between Lebanon and Iran

Prime Minister-designate Najib Miqati stressed on Saturday the need to bolster Lebanese-Iranian bilateral ties and implement agreements between the two sides.

He made his statements after holding talks with visiting Iranian deputy Foreign Minister Mohammed Reza Shebani.

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Nasrallah Meets Shebani, to Issue Clear Positions on Syria during Wednesday’s Speech

Hizbullah Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah held talks with visiting Iranian deputy Foreign Minister Mohammed Reza Shebani and his accompanying delegation that included Iranian Ambassador to Lebanon Ghazanfar Rokn-Abadi.

The Hizbullah chief is scheduled to make a television appearance on the occasion of Liberation Day on Wednesday during which he will issue “clear positions” on Syria, informed Lebanese sources told the Saudi Okaz newspaper in remarks published on Saturday.

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