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Iran Speaker Rejects Hariri Tribunal as 'Political'

The U.N.-backed Special Tribunal for Lebanon is "political" and "disreputable" and its indictment against Hizbullah members is of no importance, Iran's parliament speaker Ali Larijani said Saturday.

The Netherlands-based STL investigating the assassination of Rafik Hariri on Thursday charged four members of Hizbullah over the 2005 assassination of the former Lebanese premier.

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Hariri Thanks Ban for Supporting STL

Former Prime Minister Saad Hariri contacted U.N. Chief Ban Ki-moon on Friday, thanking him for his efforts in support of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon in ex-Premier Rafik Hariri’s assassination.

Hariri praised the U.N.’s efforts since the formation of the tribunal and up until the release of the indictment on Thursday.

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Israeli Reports: Maher Assad, Assef Shawkat Suspects in Hariri Assassination

Yediot Ahronot Israeli newspaper reported on Saturday that the international investigation committee in the 2005 assassination of ex-Premiere Rafik Hariri will “introduce a new list of accusations against Syrian security officials.”

The reports said that handing the names of the accused to Damascus has been “postponed due to the Syrian unrest.”

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Miqati: Connelly Called for ‘Respecting’ International Resolutions, a Word March 14 Had Objected to

Prime Minister Najib Miqati’s circles revealed on Saturday that the American administration had called on the Lebanese government to “respect” international resolutions, which is a word the March 14 forces had voiced reservations on.

The forces had criticized Miqati for saying that the government will “respect” resolutions instead of “committing” to them.

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Judicial Police, Not Security Forces, to Conduct ‘Secret’ Search for Hariri Murder Suspects

General Prosecutor Saeed Mirza has referred the arrest warrants issued by the Special Tribunal for Lebanon to the central judicial department, to which he instructed the course of action to be taken in implementing the warrants.

He refused to uncover the specific measures he adopted, telling As Safir newspaper in remarks published on Saturday that these steps cannot be revealed.

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Ban Assesses Cabinet Policy Statement: Lebanon Must Commit to International Resolutions

U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon is currently assessing the policy statement of the Lebanese cabinet, urging Prime Minister Najib Miqati to announce his commitment to Security Council resolution 1757 that established the Special Tribunal for Lebanon.

Ban’s acting deputy spokesman Farhan Haq confirmed to An Nahar newspaper on Saturday that the U.N. chief had contacted Miqati.

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Lebanese Navy, UNIFIL Maritime Task Force Conduct Combined Naval Exercise

The United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon Maritime Task Force (MTF) and the Lebanese Navy conducted a day-long combined exercise on Thursday involving live-firing and other operational activities at sea.

Seven vessels, including three from the Lebanese Navy, participated.

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INTERPOL Asks STL to Authorize Circulation of Suspects Names

The International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL) said Friday it has asked the U.N.-backed Special Tribunal for Lebanon for the names of those wanted for being involved in the assassination of former premier Rafik Hariri.

The STL on Thursday submitted to the Lebanese authorities a sealed indictment and arrest warrants in the case of the 2005 assassination of Hariri and his companions.

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Some 150 Syrians Flee Homs Village into North Lebanon

Around 150 Syrians fleeing unrest in their hometowns arrived Friday in north Lebanon via an illegal border crossing, a cleric working with the displaced told Agence France Presse.

Sheikh Mustafa Hammoud, imam of a mosque in the border village of Kneissi, said the Syrians -- mainly women, children and the elderly -- had made their way from the village of al-Qussair overnight for fear of fresh unrest after Friday Muslim prayers.

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Connelly: Prosperity of Region Growing Increasingly Tied to Political, Economic Reform

U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon Maura Connelly voiced on Friday her country’s support to the movements of democracy in the region, adding that the U.S. is prepared to assist those who step up to solve the problems in Lebanon and the Middle East.

She said during a U.S. Embassy celebration of the U.S. Independence Day: “Independence is something that must be constantly renewed and refreshed to insure that whatever government is elected truly represents the legitimate will of the people it represents.”

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