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Miqati Proposes New Cabinet Formula Amid Continued Bickering Over Interior Portfolio

A cabinet formula was proposed by Premier-designate Najib Miqati during a meeting between Caretaker Energy Minister Jebran Bassil and the advisors of Speaker Nabih Berri and Hizbullah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, An Nahar daily said Wednesday.

The newspaper said the proposed 30 seats in the new cabinet are divided as follows:

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Report: Lebanese-Canadian Bank to be Sold for $500-600 Million

The Lebanese-Canadian Bank will be sold soon following U.S. accusations that LCB was laundering hundreds of millions of dollars in drug profits for a cocaine smuggling organization with ties to Hizbullah, An Nahar daily reported Wednesday.

The newspaper said that the Central Bank’s assurance of finding a solution to the crisis will be interpreted in the sale of the bank for 500-600 million dollars.

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Berri from Baabda: Government Formation Process Entered New Phase, Obstacles Can Be Overcome

House Speaker Nabih Berri stated on Wednesday that there are no problems in the government formation process.

He said after his weekly meeting with President Michel Suleiman: “The problem lies in the media, but this does not mean that there are no obstacles and I believe that Prime Minister-designate still has time to tackle these hardships.”

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Mustaqbal: Only STL Can Fulfill Justice, Hizbullah Arms Have Proved to be Illegitimate

The Mustaqbal parliamentary bloc on Tuesday stressed that Hizbullah’s arsenal of weapons “has proved, on more than one occasion, to be illegitimate and pointed at the chests of the Lebanese.”

In a statement issued after its weekly meeting in Qureitem under ex-PM Fouad Saniora, the bloc added that the Shiite party’s arms have become a means to “influence citizens’ political opinions.”

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Aoun: Corruptors Won’t Return to Power, Government to Be Formed Based on New Majority’s Policies

Free Patriotic Movement leader MP Michel Aoun stated on Tuesday that the constitution does not grant the president a certain stake in the distribution of government portfolios.

He said after the movement’s weekly meeting: “When the president takes sides in a dispute, then he no longer retains the characteristics of the president as stipulated in the constitution.”

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Hizbullah Facilitating Formation of Cabinet: Hariri’s Statements are Rejected

Hizbullah sources refused on Tuesday to comment on Caretaker Prime Minister Saad Hariri’s statements on Monday on the party’s possession of arms.

“Hariri’s statements are completely rejected because they are based on discrepancies aimed at misleading the public,” they told Akhbar al-Yawm news agency.

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Aoun’s Allies Intensify Meetings with him to Soften Demands, Study Solutions

Prime Minister-designate Najib Miqati is seeking to intensify his contacts and consultations over the formation of the new government in light of the March 14 camp’s official announcement that it will not take part in it.

The main obstacle in the formation process lies in Free Patriotic Movement leader MP Michel Aoun’s demands, which he seems more attached to than ever, reported Al-Akhbar on Tuesday.

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March 14 Mulling to Hold Cedar Revolution Anniversary on March 13

Caretaker Minister Michel Pharaon did not confirm a media report on Tuesday that the March 14 forces would celebrate the sixth anniversary of the Cedar Revolution on March 13.

Until now, no decision has been made if the anniversary of March 14 would be held on the 14th or the 13th of March, Pharaon told Voice of Lebanon radio station.

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The Netherlands: No Guesses over Release of Indictment or Who Will be Accused

Dutch Ambassador to Lebanon Hero de Boer stressed that justice must take its course on the national and international scenes regarding the Special Tribunal for Lebanon.

He told the daily An Nahar in remarks published on Tuesday that the Netherlands cannot “make guesses over the release date of the indictment” in the investigation into the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri or over who will be accused in the crime “as these are matters that would severely affect our credibility.”

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Berri Defends Hizbullah’s Arms and Challenges Hariri

Speaker Nabih Berri snapped back at Caretaker Premier Saad Hariri saying a country’s “capital would collapse if there is no presence of strong arms on its border.”

“This is exactly what happened in 1982,” Berri told As Safir daily in remarks published Tuesday. “Hadn’t the resistance planted its seeds in the infamous Khalde battle, Israel wouldn’t have gradually pulled out.”

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