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Paris Rejects Political Exploitation of Tribunal, Says Not Enough Support for 'Contact Group' Yet

Paris urged all Lebanese parties to respect the independent work of the international tribunal and expressed regret that attempts to establish a "contact group" on Lebanon haven't so far garnered enough support.

"France reiterates its continued commitment to international justice and the battle against impunity," said Foreign Ministry spokesman Bernard Valero.

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Bellemare Probing 'Recent Unauthorized Broadcasts of Confidential Material'

Special Tribunal for Lebanon Prosecutor Daniel Bellemare is "very concerned with the recent unauthorized broadcasts on some Lebanese TV channels of what appear to be interviews conducted by officials of the United Nations International Independent Investigation Commission (UNIIIC)," the Office of the Prosecutor announced Tuesday in a statement.

"This material is confidential and protected information and was made public in breach of the law. The Prosecutor is exploring all possible avenues, in The Hague and in Lebanon, to determine how this confidential information came into the public domain and to prevent any further unauthorized disclosure," said the statement.

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Washington: We Are Encouraging Syria to Respect Lebanon's Sovereignty

The U.S. said it supports French President Nicolas Sarkozy's suggestion to form a contact group on Lebanon and stressed that it was urging Syria to respect the country's sovereignty.

"We are supporting this process. But as to when diplomats get together, I can't project at this point," State Department spokesman Philip Crowley said in his briefing on Tuesday about the French proposal.

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Nasrallah Meets Turkish, Qatari FMs after They Held 4-Hour Talks with Hariri

The foreign ministers of Turkey and Qatar met overnight Hizbullah chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah following four hours of talks with caretaker Prime Minister Saad Hariri to find ways to resolve the tribunal crisis.

A statement issued by Hizbullah on Wednesday said talks late Tuesday with Nasrallah focused on "proposed solutions" to the political crisis.

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Ahmadinejad to the U.S., Israel: Lebanese Will Cut your Nasty Hand

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Wednesday warned Iran's arch foes Israel, the United States and some European nations to stop their "sedition" in Lebanon or the Lebanese people would "chop" their hands.

"You are on a rough downhill path that will take you into a deep valley and your actions show that your decline is on a fast track," Ahmadinejad, referring to the U.S., Israel and unspecified European nations, told a cheering crowd in the city of Yazd in a speech broadcast live on state television.

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March 14 Vows to Defend Lebanon Against Coup to Turn Lebanon into Iranian Base

The March 14 general-secretariat on Wednesday described the resignation of March 8 ministers as an "escape from their national responsibilities," and accused Hizbullah and its allies of seeking to turn Lebanon into an Iranian base.

In a statement following an extraordinary meeting, the general-secretariat said the resignations were proof that the opposition wasn't seeking for the success of the Syrian-Saudi initiative aimed at helping Lebanon contain the repercussions of the indictment of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon.

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Jumblat Doubts Credibility of Tribunal, Says Bellemare Underestimating the People

Progressive Socialist Party leader Walid Jumblat on Wednesday doubted the credibility of the international tribunal and said Prosecutor Daniel Bellemare's decision to launch a probe into the latest unauthorized broadcasts was an underestimation of the Lebanese.

"We wonder whether the tribunal is credible after the latest broadcasts" on al-Jadid TV of interviews conducted by international investigators with Caretaker PM Saad Hariri, said Jumblat.

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Riyadh Describes Lebanon Situation as 'Dangerous,' Announces End of Mediation

Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal said Wednesday that Riyadh has abandoned mediation efforts in Lebanon, where he described the situation as "dangerous."

Saudi King Abdullah and Syrian President Bashar Assad had been in contact "with commitment to end the whole Lebanon problem," said the foreign minister in an interview with Arab satellite TV network al-Arabiya.

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S&P Revises Lebanon Outlook to Stable

Global credit ratings agency Standard and Poor's on Tuesday revised its outlook for Lebanon to stable from positive despite a deepening political crisis in the Mediterranean country.

"The stable outlook reflects our view that while the government's control over the economic and political agenda has been diminished, outbreaks of civil unrest in the country will be avoided," the agency said in a statement.

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Najjar Expects Indictment to be Released Monday

Caretaker Justice Minister Ibrahim Najjar expected the prosecutor of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon to refer the indictment in ex-Premier Rafik Hariri's assassination case to the pre-trial judge on Monday.

"Prosecutor (Daniel) Bellemare could refer the indictment to Judge (Daniel) Fransen today," Najjar said following talks with Maronite Patriarch Nasrallah Sfeir in Bkirki.

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