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Government Formation Back to Square One, Al-Rahi Suggests Issuing Call to Speed up Formation

Hopes that a new government will be formed soon have disappeared in light of the recent contacts and meetings regarding the formation, reported the daily An Nahar Friday.

It appears that matters have returned to square one, especially given the fragile trust between Prime Minister-designate Najib Miqati and Free Patriotic Movement leader MP Michel Aoun.

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WikiLeaks: Hariri Urged Ending Assad Regime, Khaddam and Muslim Brotherhood to fill Void

Caretaker PM Saad Hariri believed that the Syrian and Iranian regimes are the obstacles behind the deteriorating peace process in the Middle East, revealed a WikiLeakes cable published in al-Akhbar newspaper on Friday.

Hariri stated that Israel is “protecting” the Syrian regime because it fears the unknown.

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Rifi Denies Confiscation of Two Cars Smuggling Weapons to Syria

Internal Security Forces chief Ashraf Rifi denied on Thursday that the security forces had confiscated two cars on the Lebanese-Syrian border that were attempting to smuggle arms to Syria, said media reports on Friday.

Reports said on Thursday that the border patrol had arrested a Lebanese and Syrian while they were trying to cross the border to Syria in cars loaded with arms in the eastern Bekaa region.

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Hoff in Fleeting Visit to Lebanon, U.N. Awaiting Israel’s Position on Demarcating Maritime Border

U.S. Special Middle East Peace Envoy's assistant, Frederick Hoff, paid a quick visit to Beirut on Thursday during which he met with a delegation from the army command to discuss matters related to the Lebanese-Israeli maritime border and the security situation in southern Lebanon, reported the daily An Nahar Friday.

The military delegation informed him that Lebanon is entitled to demarcate its maritime border, and therefore it has no intention to relinquish this right, said As Safir on Friday.

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Two Israeli Tanks Enter Disputed Area with Lebanon

Two Israeli tanks briefly entered a disputed border area with Lebanon on Thursday after the alert was sounded over people apparently picking herbs in the volatile zone, a Lebanese army spokesman said.

"The Merkava tanks entered a zone claimed by Lebanon," the spokesman told Agence France Presse.

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Trucks Delayed at Lebanon-Syria Border as Damascus Toughens Security Measures

Hundreds of trucks have been held up at a border crossing between Lebanon and Syria amid heightened security measures enforced as the Syrian regime faces unprecedented protests.

"Between 400 and 500 trucks, most with Syrian or Jordanian license plates, have been held at the Abboudiyeh border crossing for hours for inspection by Syrian security forces," a Lebanese security source told Agence France Presse.

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Al-Rahi Meets Pope Benedict XVI: Christian Meeting to Be Held Next Week, Muslim-Christian Summit on May 12

Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rahi continued his trip to the Vatican on Thursday by meeting with Pope Benedict XVI in the presence of a number of Lebanese politicians and officials.

He said during the meeting: “It is a great joy to stand before you among a number of Lebanese Christians and Muslims to express our appreciation for being accepted in the ecclesiastical communion.”

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Hizbullah Denies Role in Libya Uprising

Hizbullah denied on Thursday accusations by the Libyan Foreign Ministry that it was sending fighters to aid insurgents in the rebel-held port city of Misrata.

"Hizbullah denies this accusation and maintains that all such talk is unfounded," said a brief statement released by the party, a staunch ally of Iran.

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Lebanese Army and UNIFIL Perform Combined Artillery Exercise

The Lebanese army and the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon carried out a combined live firing exercise on Thursday.

The exercise was conducted by the UNIFIL Force Commander Reserve (FCR) and Lebanese army artillery and infantry units.

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Syria Urges Action after Lebanon MP 'Implicated' in Protests

Syria's ambassador to Beirut urged Lebanese authorities on Thursday to take legal action following allegations a deputy was funding and arming protesters in Syria.

Ali Abdul Karim Ali "requested Lebanon's authorities and judiciary take action ... in order to preserve brotherly ties between the two countries," according to the transcript of an interview with Hizbullah's Intiqad website.

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