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Asarta Confirms that UNIFIL Protested to Israel Over Stone Attack

UNIFIL Commander Maj. Gen. Alberto Asarta has confirmed that the peacekeepers protested to Israel’s Northern Command the pelting with stones on international troops from the other side of the border.

The stones thrown at peacekeepers from the Israeli side across the technical fence and the Blue Line on Wednesday and Thursday were “isolated incidents that could happen at any time,” Asarta told As Safir daily in remarks published Friday.

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Berri: No Foreign Obstacle to Cabinet Formation Process

Speaker Nabih Berri has denied that any foreign meddling was delaying the cabinet formation process saying the obstacles were purely local.

In remarks to As Safir daily published Friday, Berri refused to set a date for the formation of the government saying that the actual process began after the March 14 alliance’s rally at the Martyrs Square last Sunday.

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Dispute over Shape and Representation Delays Cabinet Formation

A meeting between Premier-designate Najib Miqati and representatives of the March 8 alliance’s leaders did not make major progress on resolving the cabinet formation deadlock, media reports said Friday.

Miqati met on Thursday with the Free Patriotic Movement leader’s envoy, Caretaker Minister Jebran Bassil, and the assistants of the Hizbullah leader and the speaker, respectively Hussein Khalil and MP Ali Hassan Khalil.

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U.S. Lawmaker Rejects Aiding Lebanese Army if Hizbullah is ‘Calling the Shots’

A high-ranking Republican legislator has said that the U.S. Congress should cut off funding for the Lebanese army if Hizbullah plays “even a minor role” in Premier-designate Najib Miqati’s government.

Representative Steve Chabot of Ohio, chairman of the House of Representatives’ Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia, told The Daily Star in an interview published Friday that Congress should not donate U.S. taxpayer money to Lebanon if the assistance winds up under Hizbullah’s control.

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Jumblat Advises Miqati to Ignore U.S. Pressure, Calls for Calm Dialogue on Hizbullah Arms

Progressive Socialist Party leader Walid Jumblat has urged all Lebanese political parties to use a calmer political rhetoric to prevent any clashes between foes.

He addressed caretaker Prime Minister Saad Hariri in remarks to As Safir daily on Friday, asking him if he sees any solution to the issue of Hizbullah’s arms except for “calm and rational dialogue.”

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Nasrallah to Deliver a Speech on Saturday During Rally in Support of Uprisings

Hizbullah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah will make a speech during a ceremony scheduled to be held on Saturday in support for uprisings in Arab countries, the party’s media office announced.

The statement said late Thursday that Nasrallah will address supporters during the ceremony aimed at sending a message of support for the people of Tunisia, Egypt, Bahrain, Libya and Yemen.

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90 Lebanese Escape Bahrain Violence

Around 90 Lebanese arrived at Beirut airport on Thursday night escaping violence in Bahrain where the government is cracking down on anti-government protesters.

An Nahar daily said Friday that a Middle East Airlines plane landed at Rafik Hariri international airport with 132 people on board. Among them were the 90 Lebanese nationals and several Bahrainis and Syrians.

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Special Tribunal for Lebanon Hosts Representatives of Lebanese NGOs

More than twenty members of non-governmental organizations from Lebanon have visited the Special Tribunal for Lebanon for briefings on the work of the court.

The representatives, who traveled to The Hague for a seminar on the development of international justice, met officials from all the organs in the tribunal.

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Peres: Lebanon, Syria Must Choose between Iran's Ambitions and Peace

Israeli President Shimon Peres revealed on Thursday that former Syrian President Hafez Assad agreed to personally meet him in 1996 to negotiate a peace deal between the two countries, adding that both Syria and Lebanon must choose between Iranian ambitions and a peaceful Middle East, reported Haaretz on Thursday.

Peres said that in 1996, "following the assassination of [former Prime Minister] Yitzhak Rabin, the Americans communicated a message from Assad senior, in which he expressed his desire to renew peace efforts."

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Army Dismantles Israeli Spy System in Shamaa

The army command announced on Thursday that it has dismantled an Israeli spy and surveillance system in the southern town of Shamaa near Tyre.

It said in a statement that the system was placed in a camouflaged rock and that it consisted of a surveillance device, another for sending photographs, a power source, and a cooling system.

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