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Riachi Says No Negotiations between LF and Hizbullah

Lebanese Forces Information Minister Melhem Riachi emphasized on Saturday that contacts with Hizbullah are merely limited to the party's ministers and lawmakers, the state-run National News Agency reported.

“We do not negotiate with Hizbullah. There are some contacts limited to Hizbullah ministers and deputies,” said Riachi during a visit to the eastern city of Zahle where LF MP Toni Abi Khater received him at his residence in the presence of a number of LF lawmakers.

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Khoury: Wage Scale Must be Separated from Budget

Economy Minister Raed Khoury stressed the need to separate the longtime wage scale file from the state's annual budget over concerns that it would remain pending if the cabinet discussions stuttered.

“The wage scale must be separated from the annual budget over fears that discussions would remain pending in the cabinet,” Khoury told VDL (93.3).

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Army Arrests Syrian for Terror Links

Police in north Lebanon arrested a Syrian national suspected of having links to a terror group, the National News Agency reported on Saturday.

The police patrol arrested, Sami Ahmed Salloum, a Syrian, in Akkar's town of al-Ayoun for having ties to terror groups, NNA said.

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Two Syrians Robbed at Gunpoint in North Lebanon

Two Syrian nationals were robbed at gunpoint on an inland road in Akkar north of Lebanon, the State-run National News Agency reported on Saturday.

A group of unidentified gunmen, riding a brown Mercedes, robbed Adnan al-Sadbbashi and Mohammed Moustafa on a village road in Akkar at around 1:30 a.m. on Saturday, said NNA.

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Hizbullah Dismisses Reports Published by Reuters

Hizbullah's media office issued a statement on Saturday stressing that the party does not make statements to the press under the so-called “Hizbullah sources” and has therefore denied reports published by Reuters in that regard.

“Hizbullah's media office reminds that the familiar media policy we follow never uses the so-called 'Hizbullah sources' in our statements, and we do not use 'sources close to Hizbullah,'” the party's media office said in a statement.

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Report: Mashnouq to Order Preparations for Elections

Interior Minister Nouhad al-Mashnouq will adhere to the current applicable electoral laws and is set to order the start of preparations for Lebanon's parliamentary polls where he will be sending a decree to the Presidential Palace in the coming 48 hours, al-Joumhouria daily reported on Saturday.

According to information, the decree will not be signed by President Michel Aoun because it is linked to the current 1960 majoritarian law which the President has rejected having the elections staged on its basis.

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STL Defense Office Head Concludes Working Visit to Lebanon

The Head of Defense Office of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, François Roux, has concluded a five-day visit to Lebanon, the STL said on Friday.

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Govt. Offers Reward for Information on IS-Held Troops

The council of ministers decided during its session on Friday to offer a reward for information leading to unveiling the fate of nine Lebanese soldiers held hostage by the Islamic State group since 2014.

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U.S. Embassy Denies 'Fake News' on Visa Rule Changes

Reports of new countries being added to the U.S. Visa Waiver Program (VWP), including Lebanon, are “false,” the U.S. Embassy in Lebanon said on Friday.

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Hariri Urges Preserving Ties with Gulf, Respecting 1701 as Cabinet Discusses Budget

Prime Minister Saad Hariri on Friday called for preserving Lebanon's ties with Gulf countries and for respecting international resolutions, especially U.N. Security Council Resolution 1701.

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