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Cabinet Policy Statement to Focus on People’s Concerns

The first meeting for the committee charged with drafting the new government’s policy statement was held at the Grand Serail on Thursday under Prime Minister Najib Miqati.

Voice of Lebanon radio reported that ministers Walid al-Daouq and Jebran Bassil joined the committee.

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Miqati at Grand Serail after 6 Years: Lebanon Committed to International Resolutions

Prime Minister Najib Miqati, who on Thursday entered the Grand Serail for the first time in six years, reiterated that his cabinet will not confront the international community.

“Lebanon is not in a confrontation with the Western community nor the international community,” Miqati told pan-Arab radio station Sawa.

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Wahhab’s Personal Bodyguard Accused of Collaborating with Israel

Tawheed Movement leader Wiam Wahhab’s personal bodyguard has been charged with collaborating with Israel, including participating directly and indirectly in assassinations against Hizbullah fighters, reported al-Akhbar newspaper on Thursday.

The accused, Jalal A., was suspected by Hizbullah of working with Israel after noticing his suspicious behavior during Wahhab’s visits to party officials in Beirut’s southern suburbs, a Hizbullah stronghold.

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Mustaqbal Newspaper: Ministers’ Black Suits ‘Salute’ Black Shirts

Al-Mustaqbal newspaper, mouthpiece of Saad Hariri’s al-Mustaqbal movement, reported on Thursday that the commemorative photograph of the new cabinet was aimed at “saluting” the “Black Shirts,” in reference to Hizbullah.

The dark color worn by the ministers was “an obvious violation of the protocol of wearing white suits” during official occasions in the summer.

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Miqati to Kick off Regional Tour after Confidence Vote

Prime Minister Najib Miqati is expected to kick off a regional tour that would include Syria, Saudi Arabia and Turkey after his new cabinet receives parliament’s vote of confidence.

As Safir daily said Monday that Damascus would be Miqati’s first stop. The premier might also visit France, it said.

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Miqati’s Cabinet to Hold Sessions Twice a Week over ‘Accumulated’ Issues

Prime Minister Najib Miqati’s cabinet would most probably hold sessions twice a week to compensate for the five-month political deadlock that left major issues unsolved, ministerial sources told An Nahar daily on Thursday.

There has been a massive accumulation of daily, managerial and economic problems, the sources said.

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Arslan to be Most Probably Replaced with Kheireddine as State Minister

Lebanese Democratic Party leader Talal Arslan rejects to return to Premier Najib Miqati’s cabinet and is considering the nomination of his relative Marwan Kheireddine to replace him as state minister, sources close to the MP said.

An Nahar daily reported Thursday that Druze leader Walid Jumblat and Miqati discussed the issue during a meeting they held the day before. Efforts are underway to convince him not to give up his post and that he apologizes from Miqati over his remarks.

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Jumblat Pledges Boosting Cabinet Productivity to Face ‘Aggressive Campaigns’

Progressive Socialist Party leader MP Walid Jumblat said he agreed with Hizbullah chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah that social and economic affairs should be the cabinet’s top priorities.

Jumblat described his latest meeting with the Hizbullah chief as “excellent.”

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U.S. Warns Lebanese Cabinet from ‘Consequences’ if it Doesn’t Respect its Commitments

A high-ranking U.S. official said that Premier Najib Miqati’s cabinet is “disappointing” warning that it would face “consequences” if it does not abide by Lebanon’s international commitments.

The official said in remarks published in several dailies on Thursday that the consequences “won’t be limited to U.S.-Lebanese ties but (would involve) Lebanon’s international relations particularly (issues) linked to the operation of the international tribunal.”

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European Police Smash Lebanese Drugs, Money Laundering Network

European police have arrested six suspected members of a multi-national drug trafficking and money laundering ring and confiscated millions in cash, two police agencies in Europe said.

“More than eight European arrest warrants were issued against German, Dutch, Colombian, Lebanese and Turkish nationals suspected of being active members of this large and highly complex network,” the Hague-based European police and judicial co-operation agencies Europol and Eurojust said on Wednesday.

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