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France Calls on Miqati to Form Govt 'via Dialogue, without Interference'

Prime Minister-designate Najib Miqati must form a new Lebanese government without outside "interference," France's foreign ministry said on Tuesday.

"It is essential that it is done within the framework of the constitution ... and reflects the independent and sovereign choice of the Lebanese people, without any interference and through dialogue," it said.

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Feltman to Paris Wednesday for Talks on Lebanon, Tunisia

The top-ranking U.S. envoy for the Middle East, Jeffrey Feltman, said he would travel to France on Wednesday for talks on the situation in Lebanon and Tunisia, following a visit to Tunis.

"I'm going to meet with the French tomorrow to talk about Tunisia and Lebanon," he told reporters in Tunis.

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Hariri Denounces Violence, Says Citizen Dignity More Important than Any Post

Outgoing Premier Saad Hariri denounced on Tuesday violent incidents that erupted during protests by his supporters against the appointment of Najib Miqati to head the new government.

Demonstrators in Sunni stronghold Tripoli attacked and burned a car of al-Jazeera television, and ransacked the office of MP Mohammed Safadi.

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Army Ready to Handle Any Emergency: Security is a 'Red Line'

The Lebanese army has warned against tampering with security and violating the rules of peaceful protests.

On Tuesday, As-Safir newspaper quoted a senior military officer as saying that the Lebanese army was "ready to handle any emergency."

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U.N. Stresses Dialogue but Remains Mum on Political Makeup of Lebanon Cabinet

U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon’s acting deputy spokesperson rejected to comment on attempts by the Hizbullah-led alliance to form a new government in Lebanon, saying cabinet formation should be done through dialogue.

“We wouldn’t comment on the precise political makeup of any government. We have simply stressed in general that we would like the process by which a government is formed in Lebanon to be one of dialogue,” said Farhan Haq.

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Jumblat Holds Hariri Responsible for Street Protests: Democratic Game was Your Choice

Druze leader Walid Jumblat held outgoing Prime Minister Saad Hariri responsible for street protests that broke out across Lebanon as Hizbullah candidate Najib Miqati was set to become Lebanon's new premier.

He expressed dismay at the pro-Mustaqbal demonstrations, saying these protests were in contrary to what Hariri himself had called for.

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Berri Calls for National Salvation Cabinet

Speaker Nabih Berri has called for a national salvation government in which parties from across the political spectrum would take part.

“A national salvation cabinet in which everyone takes part without exception should assume its national responsibilities in confronting fateful challenges,” Berri told As Safir daily in remarks published Tuesday.

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Parliamentary Consultations Pick Up Tuesday amid Sunni Outrage

Parliamentary consultations to pick a new prime minister is scheduled to resume Tuesday amid calls for “peaceful” street protests as outgoing PM Saad Hariri’s Al-Mustaqbal Movement accused Hizbullah of staging a coup by imposing its candidate to head the next government.

Protests in support of Hariri broke out in Sunni neighborhoods across Lebanon after the first day of parliamentary consulations showed that former PM Najib Miqati was winning the battle against Hariri.

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Sarkozy Warns Syria: Lebanon is an Independent Country, Tribunal Must Complete Its Work

French President Nicolas Sarkozy warned Syria that Lebanon is an independent country and said the international tribunal must complete its work “until the end.”

“Lebanon is Syria’s neighbor and France relies on this friendship to tell Syria that Lebanon is an independent country and must remain independent; and the Special Tribunal for Lebanon must complete its work until the end,” Sarkozy said in remarks published Tuesday by pan-Arab Asharq al-Awsat newspaper.

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First Day of Parliamentary Consultations: 59 Votes for Miqati, 49 for Hariri

Demonstrations in support of caretaker Prime Minister Saad Hariri broke out Monday in Beirut as well as in and around the northern city of Tripoli and in the southern city of Sidon after parliamentary consultations showed that former PM Najib Miqati was winning the battle against Hariri.

Results at the end of Day 1 of binding parliamentary consultations – which showed 59 MPs voted for Miqati while 49 only voted for Hariri – sparked a public outcry.

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