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Williams after Meeting Bassil: Demarcating Maritime Border Should Stand as Obstacle for Drilling for Oil

U.N. Special Coordinator for Lebanon Michael Williams revealed on Thursday that the international organization is currently studying the best way to assist Lebanon in drilling for petroleum in the Mediterranean and demarcating its maritime border.

He made his statements after holding talks with Caretaker Energy Minister Jebran Bassil on the political situation in Lebanon and the economic challenges facing it, as well as the government formation process.

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Pietton after Meeting Berri: We Hope New Government Will Respect International Agreements

French Ambassador to Lebanon Denis Pietton hoped on Thursday that the new government would be formed as soon as possible “because Lebanon is in need of its institutions.”

He said after holding talks with House Speaker Nabih Berri that the new government should also respect international agreements and maintain Lebanese unity.

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Geagea: Lebanese Army Better Equipped and Trained than Hizbullah

Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea criticized on Thursday Hizbullah’s possession of arms, saying that if this issue is not resolved, then any side attempting to constructive governmental functioning will fail.

He told France 24 and Radio Monte Carlo: “Its arms can be used to obstruct the democratic process in Lebanon or take it off its course, similar to what happened a month an a half ago.”

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Gemayel Says Situation Delicate, Warns Over Return of Hegemony Era

Phalange Party leader Amin Gemayel warned on Wednesday over the return to the era of hegemony under the reign of Premier-designate Najib Miqati’s government.

Describing the current political situation as “delicate,” Gemayel said following talks with Maronite Patriarch Nasrallah Sfeir in Bkirki that “there are fears over the return … of hegemony and repression.”

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Kanaan Demands Sovereign Portfolio for FPM: March 14 Has Become Product Used for Personal Gain

Free Patriotic Movement MP Ibrahim Kanaan stated on Thursday that the negotiations over the formation of the new government “are open to all options,” adding that the important thing is granting the movement a sovereign portfolio.

He told LBC: “The FPM is ready for any meeting with Prime Minister-designate Najib Miqati and it does not want to pressure him, but the movement cannot eliminate itself and whom it represents.”

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Miqati Proposes Several Formulas to Suleiman Amid Conflicting Reports on Franjieh-Aoun Meeting

Najib Miqati’s circles have said that the premier-designate is discussing with President Michel Suleiman several cabinet formulas, adding that the head of state is an “essential constitutional partner in the cabinet formation” process and has every right to give his opinion on the issue.

The circles criticized political parties that are making accusations against Suleiman, saying this would hinder the formation of the government.

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Clinton: Iran Using Hizbullah to Shape Events in the Region

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Wednesday that Iran is communicating with Hizbullah in a bid to shape events in the Arab world.

It was the first time that Clinton detailed alleged efforts by Tehran to meddle in the three-month wave of Arab revolts that has toppled presidents in Tunisia and Egypt, convulsed Libya and shaken Yemen, Bahrain and Oman.

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Report: Bellemare Requested Fingerprints of 4 Million Lebanese

The Beirut office of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon’s Prosecutor has reportedly asked the interior ministry to provide it with the fingerprints of 4 million Lebanese.

As Safir daily said Thursday that after reviewing laws, the ministry provided Prosecutor Daniel Bellemare with only several hundred fingerprints.

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China’s U.N. Envoy: We Want ‘Objective and Transparent’ Probe in Hariri Murder

China’s ambassador to the U.N., Li Baodong, has stressed that investigations carried out by the Special Tribunal for Lebanon in ex-Premier Rafik Hariri’s Feb. 2005 assassination should be “objective and transparent.”

Li made the comment in response to a question by An Nahar daily during a press conference he held in New York on Wednesday.

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Clinton Says U.S. Must Maintain Support for Lebanese Army

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Wednesday that she supports continuing U.S. military aid to Lebanon following the appointment of Hizbullah-backed premier-designate Najib Miqati, U.S. daily The Washington Times reported.

"I believe still at this point that we should continue supporting the Lebanese armed forces," Clinton said during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing. "I know that's been the subject of some debate here in the Congress."

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