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Bellemare Wants to Delay Trials in Absentia Pending New Indictment

Leidschendam, Naharnet Exclusive: Special Tribunal for Lebanon Prosecutor Daniel Bellemare is preparing for a new surprise that he hinted in a document he submitted to the court last week ahead of a hearing on Friday on whether proceedings in absentia against four Hizbullah members were appropriate.

The four members - Salim Ayyash, Mustafa Badreddine, Hussein Oneissi, and Assad Sabra - are wanted for the Feb. 2005 assassination of ex-Premier Rafik Hariri and 22 others.

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Estonian Delegation in Beirut to Inquire About Kidnapping Probe

An Estonian delegation arrived on Tuesday in Lebanon to follow up the investigations carried out by the Lebanese authorities with Wael Abbas, the top suspect in the kidnapping of seven Estonians, al-Joumhouria newspaper reported.

The daily said on Wednesday that the delegation has previously investigated the kidnapping of the seven Estonian tourists who were abducted for 113 days in March.

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Ashton to Miqati: Lebanon should Continue to Implement International Resolutions

EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton stressed during talks with PM Najib Miqati the importance of implementing U.N. Security Council resolutions.

Lebanon “should continue to implement international resolutions,” Ashton told Miqati during talks in London on Tuesday.

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Embassies Warn against Assassinations as Charbel Says Situation Under Control

Embassies and diplomats are hinting that the assassinations wave and bombings will return to Lebanon, fearing that the turmoil in the region will affect Lebanon, An Nahar newspaper reported on Wednesday.

An official told the daily that the assassinations and bombings rumors are not based on reliable information but on hints from embassies and diplomats.

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U.S. Warns Lebanon to Beware of Syrian Attempts to Evade Sanctions

A senior U.S. official was in Beirut on Wednesday to inquire about the role of the Lebanese banking sector in the alleged transfer of Syrian money to Lebanon to escape sanctions imposed on Damascus by the United States and the European Union.

Deputy Assistant Secretary for Terrorist Financing and Financial Crimes in the Department of Treasury Daniel Glaser will hold talks with top officials to stress the need for Lebanese authorities to remain vigilant against attempts by the Syrian regime to evade the U.S. and EU sanctions (by resorting) to the Lebanese financial sector,” As Safir daily quoted U.S. sources as saying.

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Berri Meets Suleiman, Reiterates Importance of All-Party Talks

Speaker Nabih Berri held a meeting on Wednesday with President Michel Suleiman at Baabda palace to discuss the possibility of the resumption of the dialogue between the Lebanese foes.

A presidential statement said Suleiman and Berri discussed the latest developments and ways to restart the all-party talks.

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Suleiman Stresses Separation between Lebanon’s Commitment to STL and its Work

President Michel Suleiman stressed on Wednesday the need to draw a separation line between Lebanon’s commitment to the Special Tribunal for Lebanon and its work.

In remarks to al-Liwaa daily, Suleiman said: “If there has been any flaw or mistake as happened with the case of the arrest of the four generals, then Lebanon should work on fixing that flaw.”

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Hariri Refuses to Respond to Aoun: We Need a Strong Army, Not a Strong Party to Protect Us

Former Prime Minister Saad Hariri on Tuesday refused to respond to FPM leader MP Michel Aoun's statement, relaying that he does not want to "waste time."

Aoun had said in his weekly statement that Hariri "can say whatever he wants. Who asked him not to return? There is another type of one-way ticket if he wants to return to Lebanon and he knows it.”

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Bellemare Demands Lebanese Authorities to be Heard in the Trial Chamber

Special Tribunal for Lebanon prosecutor Daniel Bellemare said Tuesday it was premature to begin a trial in absentia against the accused Hizbullah members, demanding the Lebanese authorities to be heard in the Trial Chamber.

Lebanon's government has so far failed to arrest Salim Ayyash, Mustafa Badreddine, Hussein Oneissi, and Assad Sabra, wanted for the February 2005 murder of Hariri and 22 others.

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France Complains of Lebanese Leaderships’ Lack of Vision on Iranian, Syrian Developments

Naharnet Exclusive Report - Paris

High-ranking French officials have complained that the Lebanese leaderships have not devised a clear way to deal with the repercussions the Iranian and Syrian developments may have on the internal Lebanese scene.

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