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Report: Bassil Canceled Saudi Trip over Dispute on Condemnation of Hizbullah

Foreign Minister Jebran Bassil had intended to travel to Saudi Arabia over the weekend but the visit was canceled the last minute over Riyadh's role in pushing for the adoption of a statement at the United Nations Human Rights Council that condemns Hizbullah, sources said.

Bassil, a Free Patriotic Movement official, denied on Monday that he visited Riyadh to meet with Saudi officials or possibly al-Mustaqbal Movement leader ex-PM Saad Hariri.

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Report: Faisal Rebuffs Aoun's Presidential Candidacy

Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal allegedly reiterated to al-Mustaqbal Movement chief and former Prime Minister Saad Hariri his complete rejection to allow Free Patriotic Movement leader MP Michel Aoun to reach the Baabda Palace.

Sources told As Safir newspaper published on Tuesday that Faisal's comments came during a meeting with Hariri in presence of Saudi King Salman bin Abdul Aziz shortly after the Lebanese official's visit to Lebanon in February.

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Qatar Playing Key Role in Case of Hostage Servicemen, Urges Turkey to Mediate with ISIL

Qatar's exerted efforts to release the abducted Lebanese servicemen, who were taken hostage by al-Qaida-affilaite al-Nusra Front, led to a significant progress as Doha called on Turkey to mediate the release of those taken captive by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

As Safir newspaper reported on Tuesday that three Qatari officers are following up the case of the abducted servicemen with al-Nusra Front since August.

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Al-Rahi Calls on Ambassadors of U.N. Security Council to Resolve Presidential Deadlock

Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rahi will reportedly demand the ambassadors to Lebanon of the five permanent United Nations Security Council members to press their countries to end the presidential deadlock in Lebanon.

The Security Council's five permanent members are the United States, China, Russia, Britain and France.

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Report: Lebanese-Russian Arms Deal Hits Sanctions Snag

A deal that the Lebanese army had signed with Russia to buy anti-tank guided missiles and rocket launchers is facing an obstacle caused by the western sanctions imposed on Russia, As Safir daily reported on Tuesday.

The newspaper said that the agreement with Moscow to buy Kornet missiles and the long range rocket launchers faced technical and political problems because Lebanese authorities failed to transfer 38 million dollars to Russia.

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Gunmen Shoot Dead Syrian in Arsal

Unknown gunmen killed a Syrian young man Monday in the restive northeastern border town of Arsal, in the latest such attack in less than a week.

“Two unidentified assailants riding a motorbike opened fire at Syrian national Ali Ibrahim Kbar, who hails from the Syrian town of al-Jarajeer that is adjacent to Arsal,” state-run National News Agency reported.

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Paris Says Presidential Void Impeding $182M in Aid to Lebanon

The presidential vacuum and the deadlocked institutions are impeding 166 million euros ($182 million) in French development aid to Lebanon, a French minister said on Monday. 

"There are 166 million euros waiting until Lebanon's institutions are operating normally and are capable of dealing with different situations, as well as the speedy election of a president," French Development and Francophony Minister Annick Gerardin said.

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Abou Faour Orders Probe in Infant Death at Ajaltoun Daycare

Health Minister Wael Abou Faour ordered on Monday an investigation in the death of an infant at a daycare center in Ajaltoun in the northern region of Keserouan, reported the National News Agency.

The investigation will tackle the death of four-month-old Elio Salloum at Clarinette et Zoe daycare.

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Jumblat Warns Druze against Falling Anew into Syrian Regime 'Trap'

Progressive Socialist Party leader MP Walid Jumblat on Monday warned the minority Druze community of Syria against being dragged into the Syrian regime's “war of killing and destruction.”

“The regime's policies that are based on turning regions and sects against each other are aimed at inflaming the fire of strife and prolonging the conflict,” Jumblat cautioned in his weekly editorial in PSP-affiliated al-Anbaa newspaper.

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Saniora before STL: Syria Promised us 'New Lahoud' if We Accepted Extension

Head of the Mustaqbal bloc MP Fouad Saniora started on Monday giving his testimony at the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, focusing on the ties between former Premier Rafik Hariri and the Syrian regime during the 1990s and early 2000s, as well as the influence the Syrian security apparatus wielded on Lebanon.

He said before the trial chamber at The Hague: “The Syrian regime sought to extend the term of then President Emile Lahoud, promising us that a 'new Lahoud' would emerge in the aftermath of the constitutional amendment.”

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