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Berri Slams U.S. Stand: What Was Acceptable under Hariri is Now Forbidden under Miqati

Speaker Nabih Berri stressed on Wednesday the need to devise the government’s policy statement saying that the cabinet has internal and external challenges to confront.

He said before MPs during his weekly meeting with them: “The main challenge it faces is being able to succeed.”

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March 14 Holds Suleiman, Miqati Responsible for ‘Sick Aounist Condition’

The March 14 general-secretariat on Wednesday held President Michel Suleiman and Premier Najib Miqati responsible for Free Patriotic Movement leader Michel Aoun’s “illness,” and vowed to unanimously confront the new cabinet.

“Every statement made by MP Michel Aoun confirms the revolutionary nature of the cabinet,” the general-secretariat said following its weekly meeting. Aoun’s verbal attacks “include threats of banishment, imprisonment and murder.”

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Asarta Meets Miqati, Ghosn, Stresses UNIFIL’s Firm Commitment to its Tasks

Prime Minister Najib Miqati stated on Wednesday that the cooperation between the Lebanese army and United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon is the main factor in maintaining the stability of the South, renewing Lebanon’s commitment to the full implementation of U.N. Security Council resolution 1701.

He hoped after holding talks with UNIFIL Commander Major General Alberto Asarta that the international organization would pressure Israel to cease its violations of Lebanon’s sovereignty, allowing a permanent ceasefire and cessation of hostilities to be implemented in line with resolution 1701.

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EU Ambassadors Meet Miqati: Lebanese Govt. Should Respect International Commitments

European Union ambassadors stressed on Wednesday the need for the new Lebanese government to respect its international commitments, especially United Nations Security Council resolutions 1701 and 1757.

It said in a statement after holding talks with Prime Minister Najib Miqati at the Grand Serail that its policy statement should follow up on the Special Tribunal for Lebanon’s functioning without creating obstacles in its way.

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Assad Meets Arslan Amid Effort to Resolve Standoff on State Ministry

Syrian President Bashar Assad on Wednesday held talks with Lebanese Democratic Party leader Talal Arslan, who has resigned from Premier Najib Miqati’s cabinet to protest the ministry of state allotted to him.

Arslan, who was conditioning his particiatpin in the government on getting a portfolio, announced his resignation a few hours after the cabinet formation decree was issued last week.

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Muallem Denies Syria Receiving Military Assistance from Iran, Hizbullah

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem denied on Wednesday that Iran and Hizbullah were providing military support to Damascus, saying they were only backing it politically.

“There is a political support for Syria to overcome the crisis and there is support for the reforms that (President Bashar) Assad announced” on Tuesday, he said in a televised address.

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Nine-Page Govt. Policy Statement Expected as Amendments Made to Some of its Articles

The new government’s policy statement is expected to encompass nine pages, four of which will be dedicated to political issues, while the rest will tackle each ministry’s goals.

The committee drafting the statement held a meeting on Tuesday at the Grand Serail under Prime Minister Najib Miqati during which it finalized the issue of the equation of the army, people, and resistance.

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Jumblat Holds Talks with Connelly on Political Developments

Progressive Socialist Party leader MP Walid Jumblat held talks Tuesday night at his Clemenceau residence with U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon Maura Connelly on current political developments.

The meeting, which included a dinner banquet held in the guests’ honor, was attended by Minister of Transportation and Public Works Ghazi al-Aridi.

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Williams Says Lebanon Faces Security Risks Not Related to Israel

U.N. Special Coordinator for Lebanon Michael Williams expressed fears that the political dispute between the March 14-led opposition and the majority would lead to violence, stressing that Lebanon needs a responsible government and opposition.

“It’s a shame,” he said in an interview with As Safir newspaper on Wednesday.

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Lebanon Bans Screening of Iran Film 'Green Days'

Lebanese authorities have banned screening of the Iranian film "Green Days," which deals with protests against the 2009 re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, an organizer said on Tuesday.

"We received a call yesterday from General Security informing us they had withdrawn the license allowing us to screen the film," Colette Naufal, organizer of the Beirut International Film Festival, told Agence France Presse.

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