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Report: Medvedev in Lebanon Next Month

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev is expected to visit Beirut next month, Central News Agency reported.

The agency quoted diplomatic sources as saying that Medvedev would visit the Lebanese capital in January in response to an invitation from President Michel Suleiman.

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440 Irish Troops to Deploy in Southern Lebanon Next Year

Ireland's cabinet gave the green light for the deployment of 440 Irish soldiers in south Lebanon as part of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon.

The troops are expected to be deployed in the south in the second half of 2011.

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Cabinet Meets Wednesday on False Witnesses

The deeply divided national unity government is to meet on Wednesday after a month of wrangling over the controversial issue of alleged false witnesses who testified to U.N. investigators probing the murder of ex-PM Rafik Hariri.

Cabinet meeting comes as tensions soar over the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL), which is expected to issue an indictment implicating Hizbullah in the 2005 Beirut bombing that killed Hariri and 22 others.

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Jumblat in Damascus on Private Visit

Druze leader Walid Jumblat will head to Damascus on a private visit Wednesday where he will meet Maj. Gen. Mohammed Nassif and Maj. Gen. Hikmat Shehabi, As-Safir newspaper reported.

It said Jumblat on Saturday will receive Iran's ambassador to Lebanon Ghadanfar Rokn Abadi in Mukhtara.

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Saqr from Bkirki: We Won’t Trade Stability for Justice

Mustaqbal MP Oqab Saqr on Tuesday held talks with Maronite Patriarch Nasrallah Sfeir.

He described a Cabinet meeting scheduled for Wednesday as a “turning point.”

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Israeli Officer Promises Hizbullah 'Tougher Response'

A senior Israeli officer warned Hizbullah that Israel's response this time would be much tougher.

"The response would be ten times tougher than the July war if tensions spread to the northern border," the officer warned.

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Suleiman, Jumblat Welcome Opposition Proposal … Hariri Mulling it, Report

A proposal launched by the Opposition to address the crisis over the false witnesses' issue was welcomed by President Michel Suleiman and Druze leader Walid Jumblat, the daily As-Safir reported Tuesday, citing Opposition sources.

It quoted the sources as saying that Prime Minister Saad Hariri was mulling the proposal which states that Suleiman informs Cabinet ministers at the start of Wednesday's session that the false witnesses' issue will be referred to the forensic investigator into ex-PM Rafik Hariri's assassination given that Cabinet referred the issue to the Judicial Council in 2005.

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UK Ambassador: STL is Not Tool In Anyone's Hand

British Ambassador to Lebanon Frances Guy stressed that the United Kingdom is a "strong supporter of international justice."

"We have provided financial support to several courts as part of our foreign policy and in harmony with the principle of pursuing international justice," she said in an interview published Tuesday by the daily An-Nahar.

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Indictment Dec. 18, Report

A leading Lebanese figure close to the Special Tribunal for Lebanon said STL Prosecutor Daniel Bellemare will submit a draft indictment to pre-trial Judge Daniel Fransen on December 18.

The source told Al-Liwaa newspaper in remarks published Tuesday that there is an understanding between Fransen and STL President Antonio Cassese

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Berri Unleashes Last -Minute Effort on Eve of Cabinet Meeting

Speaker Nabih Berri has unleashed a last-minute effort to reach a compromise on the false witnesses' issue, his political aide Ali Hasan Khalil announced.

Khalil, in remarks published Tuesday by the daily An-Nahar, said Berri was working in his capacity as a political leader in the Opposition camp.

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