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Suleiman Hopes for Cooperation Among Officials to Form Cabinet Capable of Confronting Challenges

President Michel Suleiman hoped on Saturday that Lebanese officials would cooperate with Premier-designate Najib Miqati to form a cabinet that would face administrative, economic and security challenges.

The government should be formed “based on the democratic principles that distinguish Lebanon,” Suleiman said.

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2 Lebanese Killed in Sulaimaniyah Plane Crash

Two Lebanese were among seven people killed in the crash of a small private jet in the northern Iraqi city of Sulaimaniyah on Friday, the National News Agency reported.

Among the dead were three members of the flight crew, including the two Lebanese – Stephanie Louqa from the coastal town of Batroun and Abdullah Lahoud, NNA said Saturday.

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Christian Representation Hinders Cabinet Formation Process Amid Conflicting Demands

Prime Minister-designate Najib Miqati on Saturday continued to face obstacles to his cabinet formation process over the Christian representation, a scenario that Lebanese governments have witnessed since 2005.

Pan-Arab daily al-Hayat quoted sources following up contacts to form the government as saying that Free Patriotic Movement leader Michel Aoun is rejecting to give shares to President Michel Suleiman and wants a homogenous 30-member cabinet that only includes the March 8 forces.

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Arslan Rejects Categorizing Sects as 1st Degree and 2nd Degree Confessions

Lebanese Democratic Party leader Talal Arslan criticized the alleged categorization of sects as first degree or second degree confessions, calling for unity among the Lebanese to confront challenges.

“With all respect to all confessions, there is nothing called monopoly of ministries by any sect,” Arslan told As Safir daily in remarks published Saturday.

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Report: U.S. Warships Disrupt Lebanon’s Internet Services

The movement of U.S. warships in the Mediterranean sea has been disrupting Lebanon’s internet services in the past three weeks, An Nahar daily reported Saturday.

The newspaper said that the problems which began when former Premier Saad Hariri’s government collapsed are not the result of operations conducted by UNIFIL’s naval force.

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Diplomats: International Community Adopts Wait-and-See Approach on Miqati Cabinet

Diplomats at the United Nations said they have “taken notice” of Premier-designate Najib Miqati’s vows to remain committed to international resolutions, including the resolution that established the Special Tribunal for Lebanon.

The diplomats, who refused to be identified, told An Nahar daily that “until now” Lebanese institutions “are working correctly.”

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Miqati Sends Sfeir Message, Patriarch Stresses Importance of PM-President Harmony

Prime Minister-designate Najib Miqati sent a message to Maronite Patriarch Nasrallah Sfeir, Miqati’s advisor Joe Issa al-Khoury told reporters in Bkirki on Friday.

Following talks with Sfeir, al-Khoury refused to unveil details of the message that he delivered to the patriarch.

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Lebanese-German Sues Macedonia over Alleged CIA Kidnapping

A Lebanese-German man who says he was snatched by the CIA in Macedonia and tortured at a secret prison after being mistaken for a terrorism suspect, will begin a legal battle against Macedonia Friday to demand official recognition of his ordeal.

Khaled el-Masri is seeking €50,000 ($69,000) in compensation — and an apology — from the government in Macedonia, where he says he was abducted while on a trip in 2003. His action follows failed attempts to have his case heard in court in the United States and Germany.

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Gemayel: We are Still in the Stage of Discussing General Principles

Phalange party leader Amin Gemayel threw the ball of the cabinet formation process in the March 8 court saying the alliance should facilitate the mission of Premier-designate Najib Miqati.

In his turn, Miqati should make proposals that lead to partnership and consensus on how to deal with controversial issues, Gemayel told As Safir daily in remarks published Friday.

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Franjieh Insists on 2 Portfolios, Says Country Needs Scoundrels not Technocrats

Marada movement leader Suleiman Franjieh has stressed he would participate in the cabinet only if he gets two portfolios and said the country needs “tough men” and not technocrats.

“If they don’t give me (2 portfolios) I will say thank you and won’t participate,” in the government, Franjieh told Marcel Ghanem’s Kalam al-Nass talk show on LBC TV network.

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