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Russia's Sultanov to Beirut to Meet Lebanese, Hizbullah Officials

Deputy Russian Foreign Minister Alexander Sultanov is to visit Lebanon on Saturday for political talks with Lebanese officials, Ad-Diyar newspaper reported.

It quoted a source at the Russian embassy as saying that Sultanov will meet with President Michel Suleiman, Speaker Nabih Berri and Prime Minister Saad Hariri.

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Rifi Commenting on Karam's Indictment: I Knew Aoun Would Not Win the Battle

Police chief Maj. Gen. Ashraf Rifi commented on the indictment issued against retired Army Brig. Gen. Fayez Karam, accusing him of spying for Israel.

"I was confident that head of the Change and Reform bloc Gen. Michel Aoun, who launched a malicious campaign against security officers … would not win this battle," Rifi said in remarks published Friday by Ad-Diyar newspaper.

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Aoun: Abnormal Situation We're in Cannot Remain Like This

Free Patriotic Movement leader Michel Aoun said the "abnormal situation we are in cannot remain like this."

His remarks came in an interview with OTV.

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Will Hizbullah Wage War on Israel to Avoid Civil Strife in Lebanon?: Haaretz

If the Special Tribunal for Lebanon indicts several Hizbullah members, the Shiite group could use an escalation against Israel to divert the political storm, the Israeli newspaper Haaretz wrote.

It said it is not clear in which direction Lebanon is heading: Is it a country on the verge of collapse? Is it heading toward a civil war? A war against Israel? Or is it just facing another political crisis that too will pass?

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Barak: Tribunal is Lebanese-International Issue and Israel Doesn’t Interfere

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak has said the Special Tribunal for Lebanon was a Lebanese and international issue, adding the Jewish state would not interfere in any crisis resulting from it.

“We are monitoring the developments taking place over the international tribunal,” Barak said in New York on Thursday. “It is not Israel’s business to interfere in this conflict and what could result from it.”

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Cabinet Meeting Hits Dead End as March 8 Adamant to Have False Witnesses File at Top of Agenda

Efforts exerted by Premier Saad Hariri to achieve consensus over a cabinet session were torpedoed by the March 8 forces’ insistence to put the issue of false witnesses at the top of the agenda.

March 8 sources told An Nahar the coalition insisted that making false witnesses the number one item on the cabinet agenda was an unconditional demand.

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U.S. Sanctions ‘Two of Hizbullah’s Top Financiers in Africa’

The U.S. Treasury Department has said it sanctioned two brothers and their business interests for allegedly doing fundraising for Hizbullah.

Ali Tajideen and Husayn Tajideen, brothers who served as business partners for the previously sanctioned Kassim Tajideen, were targeted along with their business interests in The Gambia, Lebanon, Sierra Leone, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Angola, and the British Virgin Islands.

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Mitri: Iran Plays an Important and Positive Role in Lebanon

Information Minister Tareq Mitri stressed on Thursday that Iran wields a great influence in Lebanon, adding that the bilateral ties between the two countries has been bolstered through Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's visit to Lebanon and Prime Minister Saad Hariri's visit to the Islamic republic.

The minister told IRNA: "Iran is a powerful and influential state that seeks to improve its ties with Arab states."

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Aoun: Solving False Witnesses File Lies in Changing the Government, its Policy and Approach

Free Patriotic Movement leader MP Michel Aoun stated on Wednesday that a state that cannot put false witnesses on trial is a not a real state.

He asked after the movement's weekly meeting: "Should the false witnesses' interests be achieved at the expense of the interests of all citizens?"

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Geagea: Raad's Press Conference Step in Right Direction, We Have Prepared Ourselves for Indictment

Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea stated Wednesday that Loyalty to the Resistance bloc MP Mohammad Raad and Hizbullah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah's recent press conferences "are a step in the right direction."

He said: "We live in a democratic system and every party and every leader has the right to express their opinion, and we should respect their views the same way they respect ours."

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