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Jumblat Declares Democratic Gathering End, Resurrects National Struggle Front

Progressive Socialist Party leader MP Walid Jumblat on Monday announced the end of his Democratic Gathering parliamentary bloc, after four MPs of the 11-member gathering decided not to back his candidate for the premiership.

Following binding consultations with President Michel Suleiman at the Baabda Palace on naming a new PM, Jumblat said that his bloc will now be renamed to the National Struggle Front.

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Opposition: Miqati was Handed a Five-Point Plan to Be Implemented

Informed opposition sources praised on Monday Hizbullah Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah’s choice to nominate former Prime Minister Najib Miqati to head a new government, saying that only House Speaker Nabih Berri was informed of this plan.

They told the Central News Agency that Berri agreed to it a few hours before the consultations when the opposition’s original choice to nominate former PM Omar Karami was reconsidered.

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Alloush: If March 8 Candidate Wins, He’ll Find Himself in a Confrontation with the International Community

Mustaqbal politburo member former MP Mustapha Alloush noted on Monday that a prime minister who enjoys Hizbullah and the March 8 forces’ support and who does not enjoy the March 14 forces’ approval is effectively part of a government headed by Hizbullah Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah.

He added to Akhbar al-Yawm news agency: “The international and local communities will consider such a government a Hizbullah Cabinet and not one headed by minister Mohammad Safafi or former PM Najib Miqati or any other figure backed by the party.”

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Assad, Iran's Acting FM Discuss Lebanese Crisis

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Iran's interim Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi agreed on Monday that the troubles of the Middle East should be solved internally by the region's countries, Syria's official news agency SANA reported.

Salehi arrived in Damascus on Sunday to discuss the Lebanese political crisis with Syrian officials.

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Geagea: We Hold Onto the Democratic Process that was Abused by Hizbullah

Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea vowed in an open letter to Hizbullah chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah on Monday to hold onto the democratic process despite being abused by the Shiite group.

“History will not go backwards even if it faced a stumbling block at some point,” Geagea told Nasrallah in his open letter.

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Sfeir: We Are at a Dangerous Crossroads

Maronite Patriarch Nasrallah Sfeir has reportedly told former Cabinet Minister Wadih al-Khazen that the situation in Lebanon is at a dangerous crossroads.

“We are at a dangerous crossroads,” Khazen quoted Sfeir as telling him.

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Diamond Smugglers Arrested at Beirut Airport

Lebanese authorities seized rough diamonds from two men and their wives at Rafik Hariri international airport as they tried to smuggle them to the United Arab Emirates, Voice of Lebanon radio station reported Monday.

VDL said the suspects admitted to trying to smuggle the diamonds to Dubai in two separate incidents that took place the same day, it said.

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Siddiq Says he Owns 7 Tapes that Implicate Top Syrian Officers in Hariri’s Murder

“False Witness” Mohammed Zuhair Siddiq has unveiled that he holds seven important recordings that implicate top Syrian officers in ex-Premier Rafik Hariri’s assassination.

Siddiq called al-Jadid TV’s anchorman George Salibi during his talk show Sunday night and made the revelation. He said he is going to deliver the tapes to the Special Tribunal for Lebanon at The Hague.

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Moscow: International Tribunal is Best Way to Avoid More Assassinations

The Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Federation Council of Russia has stressed that the Special Tribunal for Lebanon was the best means to avoid more political assassinations in Lebanon.

Russia’s Novosti news agency quoted Mikhail Margelov as saying on Sunday that Moscow has reiterated its support for the tribunal. He stressed the court should be professional and unbiased.

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Quadripartite Meeting in Paris Postponed Over Conflicting Agendas of Officials

A meeting that was scheduled to be held on Sunday between France, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Qatar over the political crisis in Lebanon was postponed over conflicting agendas, French foreign ministry sources told pan-Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat.

In remarks published Monday, the sources said the Paris meeting is considered “postponed and not cancelled.”

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