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Berri: Policy We Adopted Has Helped Lebanese Avoid Ivory Coast Violence

Speaker Nabih Berri condemned criticism directed against the policy that was used in addressing Lebanese expatriates in the Ivory Coast given the dispute between President Laurent Gbagbo and incumbent President Alassane Outtara.

He told An Nahar in remarks published on Sunday: “Lebanon’s decision to stand by Gbagbo was right because tens of thousands of expatriates in Abidjan live in areas that he controls.”

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U.S. Embassy Employees Attacked by Stones in Sidon

A group of angry Lebanese youths on Saturday threw stones and bottles at a group from the U.S. embassy visiting the southern port city of Sidon, a security official said.

A spokesman for the U.S. mission confirmed there had been "an incident."

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Suleiman: We are Confident in Syria’s Ability to Overcome the Crisis

President Michel Suleiman hoped on Saturday for the return of stability to Syria and expressed his confidence in the Assad regime’s ability to overcome the crisis.

Suleiman made the remark during talks with the Secretary-General of the Lebanese-Syrian Higher Council, Nasri Khoury.

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Qabbani Meets al-Rahi, Suggests Holding Spiritual Summit in Bkirki

Grand Mufti Mohammad Rashid Qabbani said Saturday that he suggested to Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rahi to hold an Islamic-Christian summit in Bkirki.

Qabbani made his remark after visiting al-Rahi at the seat of the Maronite church to congratulate him on his new post.

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Miqati Says he Hasn’t Yet Reached Cabinet Formation Stage

Premier-designate Najib Miqati said Saturday that progress was made on consultations aimed at forming the new government but stressed that he hasn’t yet reached the cabinet formation stage.

“The atmosphere is positive … I will continue to work on overcoming difficulties,” Miqati said during a meeting of the Higher Islamic Council under Grand Mufti Mohammad Rashid Qabbani at Dar al-Fatwa.

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Lebanese Await Evacuation Plane in Abidjan as Fighting Intensifies

A Middle East Airlines plane that was scheduled to evacuate Lebanese from conflict-torn Ivory Coast on Saturday morning was delayed again to guarantee the flight’s safety, Voice of Lebanon radio station reported Saturday.

The MEA flight will now leave on Saturday night rather than 8:00 am, it said after authorities in the African country opened air traffic.

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‘Serious Progress’ in Cabinet Formation Amid Report About Deal on Shares

Contacts aimed at forming the new government made a “serious progress” on the differences over the Sunni representation and the share of Free Patriotic Movement leader Michel Aoun’s Change and Reform bloc, As Safir daily reported Saturday.

An Nahar newspaper also said that intense meetings between Premier-designate Najib Miqati and March 8 officials led to an agreement on the shares of each side but the leaders are staying mum on the issue.

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Report: Fatah al-Islam Members Seeking to Reorganize in Ain el-Hilweh

Head of the Palestinian Armed Struggle Col. Mahmoud Issa has warned that some members of the now defunct Fatah al-Islam militant network are trying to regroup to carry out “suspicious operations.”

In remarks to pan-Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat on Saturday, Issa, who goes by the nom de guerre of al-Lino said that “some parties that have an interest in targeting the security of camps and its vicinities stand behind these operations and attempts to revive Fatah al-Islam.”

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Syria Reportedly Offers Help, Rifi Says No Evidence that Estonians Crossed the Border

Syria has offered Lebanon help to locate seven Estonians who were kidnapped in the Bekaa valley late last month, As Safir newspaper reported on Saturday.

“A Syrian official contacted one of the Lebanese officials” to offer assistance in the case of the abducted Estonians, the daily said.

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International Tribunal: Indictment Will Name Suspects but Not Parties

Acting Special Tribunal for Lebanon Registrar Herman von Hebel has reportedly informed top Lebanese officials that the indictment in ex-Premier Rafik Hariri’s assassination case would include the names of suspects but would not refer to any party or political team.

An Nahar newspaper said Saturday that Von Hebel met with the officials away from the media spotlight.

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