Lebanon
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Hollande, al-Rahi to Discuss Baabda Crisis this Month

Lebanon's presidential deadlock will top the agenda of talks that are expected to be held between French President Francois Holland and Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rahi this month, al-Akhbar newspaper reported on Friday.

The daily said al-Rahi will travel to Paris in the second half of April for the inauguration of Europe's Maronite Diocese in the the down of Meudon in the French capital's suburbs.

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‏Moqbel, Qahwaji Discuss Security Situation with Hizbullah Delegation

Talks between Defense Minister Samir Moqbel, Army chief Gen. Jean Qahwaji and Hizbullah officials focused on the latest security developments and the security plans being implemented by police and the military, al-Joumhouria newspaper reported Friday.

The meeting took place at the defense ministry in Yarze on Thursday. The Hizbullah delegation included MP Mohammed Raad and the party's official Wafiq Safa.

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Berri Hopes 'Marathon' Nuke Deal Would Resolve Lebanon's Crisis

Speaker Nabih Berri has described the negotiations between Iran and world powers on its nuclear program as “the biggest political and diplomatic marathon in history,” hoping that Lebanon would benefit from them.

The two sides sealed a breakthrough agreement in Switzerland on Thursday outlining limits on Iran's nuclear program to keep it from being able to produce atomic weapons.

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Spanish King to Visit Beirut Next Week

Spain's King Felipe VI is expected to visit Beirut next Tuesday to meet with several Lebanese officials and members of his country's contingent in the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon, local dailies reported.

The king will be accompanied by a high ranking ministerial delegation, said the newspapers.

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Visiting Official: U.S. to Resettle more Syrian Refugees in the Near Future

Washington is planning to increase the number of Syrian refugees allowed to resettle in the United States, mostly for vulnerable cases, a U.S. official said Thursday.

Assistant Secretary of State Anne Richard said the numbers will still be very small compared with the nearly 4 million Syrians who have become refugees in neighboring countries, mostly Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey.

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Bilal, Omar Miqati Charged with Belonging to IS

The military prosecutor charged on Thursday Bilal and Omar Miqati with belonging to the extremist Islamic State group for the purpose of carrying out terrorist attacks.

Judge Saqr Saqr issued the charges against the two cousins who were arrested by the Lebanese army on March 24 near a checkpoint in the eastern town of Hrabta.

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Geagea Denounces Nasrallah's Fiery Speech: to Prioritize Lebanon’s Interest

Lebanese Force leader Samir Geagea slammed on Thursday Hizbullah chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah over his latest speech, describing his party's dialogue with the Free Patriotic Movement as Fruitful.

“Lebanon has no interest in verbally assaulting Saudi Arabia or the Arab coalition,” Geagea said at a press conference held in Maarab.

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Nusra Hands over Body of Bazzal 4 Months after Execution

Al-Nusra Front militants on Thursday handed over the body of Lebanese policeman Ali al-Bazzal, who was executed late last year, to Muslim scholars, the state-run National News Agency reported.

NNA said the body will be delivered to his family after DNA tests confirm his identity.

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President Election Session Postponed for 21st Time

Speaker Nabih Berri postponed on Thursday for the 21st time the session to elect a new head of state over lack of quorum as civil society groups rallied near parliament to protest the ongoing vacuum.

The session was adjourned to April 22.

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Bassil: National Unity Much More Important than Arab Solidarity

Foreign Minister Jebran Bassil revealed on Thursday that Lebanon's delegation succeeded during the recent United Nations Human Rights Council meeting in dropping an article in its statement that links Hizbullah to terrorism.

He added during a press conference: “Lebanon's national unity is much more important than Arab solidarity.”

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