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Aridi: Connelly Didn’t Impose Conditions on Jumblat

Public Works Minister Ghazi Aridi denied that U.S. Ambassador Maura Connelly had imposed any conditions on MP Walid Jumblat or the new cabinet during her meeting with the Druze leader.

In remarks to al-Joumhouria daily on Thursday, Aridi said that Connelly did not impose on Jumblat “conditions or specific demands about the new cabinet, particularly the policy statement.”

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March 14 Plans Large-Scale Meeting, Forms Network to Manage Battle Against Cabinet

The leadership of the March 14-led opposition is planning to hold a large-scale meeting in which former Premier Saad Hariri, who is currently in Paris, would take part ahead of the parliamentary vote of confidence session, al-Liwaa daily reported Thursday.

The newspaper said the meeting would be similar to the Bristol 2 conference and would be aimed at agreeing on the major steps that the opposition would take to confront Premier Najib Miqati’s cabinet in the parliament.

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Berri: Cabinet Formation ‘Shocked’ Washington, Premiership Not ‘Private Property’

Speaker Nabih Berri said on Thursday that the U.S. is targeting PM Najib Miqati because it was seeking to bring someone else to the Grand Serail, knowing that “when Miqati was nominated for the premiership in 2005 no one opposed.”

“The Americans wanted to impose a PM on Lebanon, throwing away the results of the democratic process that brought Miqati to the premiership,” Berri told As Safir newspaper.

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STL Clause Stirs Controversy as Hizbullah, FPM Suggest Replacing it with ‘Justice and Truth’

The controversial issue of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon could be discussed at the national dialogue table if Premier Najib Miqati failed to agree with Hizbullah and the Free Patriotic Movement on how to include a clause on the court in the cabinet’s draft policy statement.

The 12-member ministerial committee that met under Miqati at the Grand Serail on Wednesday did not discuss the tribunal issue but al-Liwaa daily said that the representatives of Hizbullah and FPM chief Michel Aoun have stressed to the premier their rejection to mention the STL in the policy statement.

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Ohio Woman Gets over 3 Years for Funding Hizbullah

An Ohio woman was sentenced to 40 months in prison Wednesday for her role in a conspiracy to ship hundreds of thousands of dollars to Hizbullah.

Amera Akl, 38, of Toledo, Ohio, pleaded guilty last month to one count of conspiracy to provide material support and resources to a designated foreign terrorist organization, the U.S. Department of Justice said.

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Policy Statement Committee Discusses Economic Clauses without Tackling STL

The ministerial committee tasked with drafting the Policy Statement of the new government on Wednesday pursued its discussions and agreed on a host of clauses pertaining to the economic, financial and developmental policies.

The committee, however, did not tackle the controversial clause on the U.N.-backed Special Tribunal for Lebanon.

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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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