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Interior Minister Praises Rifi’s ‘Decency’, Vows to Consolidate Security

Interior Minister Marwan Charbel said Wednesday that his priority was to consolidate security and strengthen ties of confidence between the Internal Security Forces and the citizens.

“I am a minister for all of Lebanon and with the presidency in general,” Charbel stressed to Voice of Lebanon radio station.

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Internal Disputes May Thwart New Government’s Functioning

The new government may witness a series of internal disputes that may lead to hindering its functioning given that President Michel Suleiman and Prime Minister Najib Miqati will attempt to thwart any attempts by Free Patriotic Movement leader MP Michel Aoun to take the government off its course, informed sources told al-Liwaa newspaper in remarks published on Wednesday.

Such attempts may include him taking spiteful actions against his political rivals, especially the Mustaqbal and March 14 movements, they added.

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1st Cabinet Meeting Held amid Arslan’s Absence, Commemorative Photo Taken at Baabda Doorstep

Premier Najib Miqati’s new cabinet held its first session at Baabda palace on Wednesday in the absence of Talal Arslan who had announced his resignation to protest the state ministry post allotted to him.

President Michel Suleiman chaired the meeting at 10:30 am. Miqati and the remaining 28 members of the cabinet attended. Arslan announced his resignation hours after the government was formed on Monday. He was demanding a cabinet portfolio.

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New Policy Statement to Adopt Arms and Some Tribunal Clauses of Hariri’s Cabinet

The new cabinet’s policy statement is expected to remain committed to some of the major clauses of Saad Hariri’s ministerial statement including the right of "Lebanon, its government, its people, its army and its resistance" to liberate all Lebanese territory.

An Nahar daily said Wednesday that Najib Miqati’s new cabinet would also commit itself to international resolutions and the protocol signed between the Lebanese government and the Special Tribunal for Lebanon that will try ex-Premier Rafik Hariri’s suspected assassins.

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Report: Hizbullah Moving Rockets over Fears of Spillover of Violence from Syria

Hizbullah began shifting the long- and medium-range rockets it had allegedly stored in northern Lebanon to locations in the center of the country, the Israeli Debkafile website reported.

Western military sources told the website that “Hizbullah was taking the precaution of keeping its arsenal safe from a spillover of violence from Syria.”

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Berri: National Interests More Important than Norms

Speaker Nabih Berri stated on Wednesday that violating norms for the sake of national interests is more important than actually respecting these norms.

He said this in reference to granting Sunnis seven ministers in cabinet while Shiites were granted five when in the past each sect was represented by six members.

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Defecting Syrian Officer Saw 'Iranian, Hizbullah Snipers' in Damascus Suburb

A man who identified himself as a Lieutenant Colonel in the Syrian army has told Agence France Presse that he had seen “Iranian and Hizbullah snipers” in the Damascus suburb of Saqba.

"I remember well in Damascus, in the Saqba district, I saw people demonstrating” and “with my own eyes I saw snipers positioned on upper floors, Iranian and Hizbullah snipers who fired on the crowd," Hussein Harmoush told AFP, when asked about the presence of Iranian soldiers or Hizbullah warriors fighting alongside the Syrian army, as recently reported by many witnesses.

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Hizbullah Satisfied over Govt. Formation: It Won’t Succumb to Foreign Dictates

Hizbullah deputy chief Sheikh Naim Qassem on Tuesday stressed that his party is “satisfied over the formation of a new cabinet, especially that it represents all the sectors of the Lebanese society.”

Following talks with Sports and Youth Minister Faisal Karami, Qassem noted that “those who did not join it (cabinet) have the right to scrutinize its performance,” describing accountability as “part of our political system in this country.”

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Mustaqbal: Vengeful Practices by New Govt. Will Be Met with Unwavering Resistance

The Mustaqbal bloc warned the new government on Tuesday against adopting vengeful and spiteful practices, adding that Prime Minister Najib Miqati wasted an opportunity to form a government of independent figures.

It said in a statement after its weekly meeting: “A Cabinet of independent figures would have led the country towards dialogue, instead he chose to serve Hizbullah’s arms, succumbing to its ‘black shirts policy’.”

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Aoun Dismisses Gemayel and Geagea’s Pessimism: We Want STL’s Justice

Free Patriotic Movement leader MP Michel Aoun stated on Tuesday that the new government will not enter into a confrontation with the international community.

He said after the movement’s weekly meeting: “We want the justice of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon and we respect United Nations Security Council Resolution 1701.”

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