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Berri: Connelly's Visit to Fattoush is 'Scandal' and 'Proves Battle is with U.S.'

U.S. Ambassador Maura Connelly's visit to MP Nicolas Fattoush in Zahle stirred criticism and accusations by March 8 forces of U.S. meddling in Lebanon's internal affairs on the eve of parliamentary consultations to name a new premier.

"They say there is no U.S. interference in the affairs of Lebanon and the region. On the contrary, they are interfering in everything from southern Sudan all the way to Zahle," Speaker Nabih Berri told An Nahar daily in remarks published Monday.

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Nasrallah: Opposition Unanimously Agreed Not to Name Hariri as Lebanon's Next PM

Hizbullah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah on Sunday made his first public comments since the collapse of Prime Minister Saad Hariri's government.

He defended the decision to bring down the government, saying Hizbullah did so without resorting to violence and will not be intimidated by world reaction.

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Report: Hariri-Siddiq Conversation Leaked After Attack on Investigators in Beirut Southern Suburbs

Excerpts from a conversation between Caretaker Prime Minister Saad Hariri and false witness Mohammad Zuheir Siddiq broadcast on al-Jadid TV were reportedly leaked to the station after international investigators came under attack at a gynecologist's clinic in Beirut's southern suburbs in October.

An informed source told An Nahar daily that the attackers were able to snatch from the investigators a laptop that included Hariri's statements.

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U.S. Reiterates Support for Hariri, Says Cabinet Resignations Sign of Fear

Washington reiterated support for Caretaker Premier Saad Hariri and its call on all Lebanese parties to exercise restraint and coordinate in finding a solution to the Lebanese crisis.

"The United States reiterates its call to all political factions to maintain calm and exercise restraint at this critical time," U.S. Ambassador Maura Connelly said in a statement following talks with Hariri at Center House.

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Democratic Gathering Stance Not Clear: Jumblat Has Upper Hand in Deciding Future of Lebanese Politics

All eyes are turned to Progressive Socialist Party leader Walid Jumblat whose decision on his bloc's nominee for the premier's post could be a turning point in Lebanese political life.

By Monday, the result of the consultations of President Michel Suleiman with the 128-member parliament, was far from certain. The rival March 8 and 14 camps have around 58 or 59 lawmakers each with Jumblat holding the decisive vote with his 11 MPs.

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Public Hearing at STL to Hear Sayyed's Bid for Access to Case File

The international tribunal will hold a public hearing on Friday to discuss former Lebanese security chief Maj. Gen. Jamil Sayyed's demand to see the evidence that led to him being jailed as a suspect in ex-Premier Rafik Hariri's assassination case for nearly four years.

The hearing at the Special Tribunal for Lebanon in the Hague will play out against a backdrop of political turmoil in Beirut after Hizbullah and its allies brought down the government.

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Paris Keen on Solving Lebanon Crisis but Reportedly Facing Syrian Obstruction

Efforts are underway by France to launch an initiative to solve the Lebanese crisis following the government's collapse but Syria has reportedly rejected a French mediation.

"Paris is keen on solving the Lebanese crisis through dialogue with the different Lebanese sides and with this country's neighbors," French Foreign Minister Michele Alliot-Marie told pan-Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat in remarks published Friday.

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Hariri Meets Erdogan in Bid to Muster Global Support

Caretaker Prime Minister Saad Hariri is seeking international support after Hizbullah brought down his government.

On Friday Hariri discussed the political turmoil in Lebanon with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

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Battle over Nominations Rocks Lebanon: Hariri or No Hariri

March 14 and March 8 are locked in a battle over the prime minister nomination: Hariri or no Hariri.

Prime Minister Saad Hariri can head the new government if he pledges to stop the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, Al-Akhbar newspaper on Friday quoted a senior Opposition official as saying.

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Suleiman to Start Consultations to Appoint New PM on Monday

Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri on Thursday announced that consultations on appointing a new prime minister would begin on Monday, following the collapse of the national unity government.

"Consultations with parliamentarians will begin Monday at 12:00 p.m.," Berri said after talks with President Michel Suleiman at the Baabda Palace, adding that "the meeting was very good."

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