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Geagea Says Inter-Maronite Dialogue Leads to Openness to Other 'Partners'

Lebanese Forces chief Samir Geagea said Monday that openness to the country's other confessions can only come through talks among Maronite leaders.

“The historic Maronite principles impose on us the right stance, which is openness to our partners from all sects and factions in the nation,” said Geagea in a statement.

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UNIFIL Spokesman Says Situation 'Under Control' after Latest Skirmish

The spokesperson of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon has said that the area of operations of peacekeepers is “stable and under control,” adding that UNIFIL enhanced its operations south of the Litani river following the latest clash between Israel and Hizbullah.

“UNIFIL's rules of engagement come in conformity with the mission's mandate which was set under Chapter 6 of the U.N. Charter,” Andrea Tenenti told As Safir daily published on Monday.

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Berri Backs Jumblat Proposal on 'National Aspect' of Presidential Polls

Speaker Nabih Berri has said that he backed a proposal made by Progressive Socialist Party chief MP Walid Jumblat to give Lebanon's presidential elections a wider patriotic aspect rather than limiting its discussion to Christians.

But in remarks published in several local newspapers on Monday, Berri stressed that no solution was looming in the horizon on the presidential deadlock.

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Report: U.S. Mulling Israeli Invitation to Terror Conference after Lebanon's Boycott

The United States is reportedly reconsidering a decision to invite Israel to a conference expected to be held in Washington next week after Lebanon decided to boycott it over claims that it cannot take part in a meeting to confront terrorism with the Jewish state's participation.

According to As Safir newspaper published on Monday, Lebanon's decision created a fuss among European countries that began wondering about the matter, which caused Washington to hesitate in its invitation.

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Nasrallah to Make Televised Speech Next Week

Hizbullah Secretary-General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah is expected to make a televised speech on February 16 to commemorate the “Martyr Leaders Day”, As Safir newspaper reported on Monday.

Nasrallah's speech will address the local and regional developments, in addition to the conflict with Israel, the daily said.

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After a Decade of Twists, Vanishing Lebanese-American Marine Goes on Trial

A U.S. Marine who vanished from a base in Iraq and later wound up in Lebanon is set to face trial more than a decade after the puzzling case began.

Cpl. Wassef Hassoun's court martial on desertion and other charges starts Monday at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. Defense attorneys maintain that he was kidnapped in 2004 by insurgents and that later, after briefly returning to the U.S., he became tangled up in Lebanese courts for years.

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Bishop Andari: We Can't Confine Maronism to Those Who Bowed Their Heads for Personal, Foreign Interests

Maronite Patriarchal Vicar of Jounieh Bishop Antoine Nabil Andari lamented Sunday that “no one can understand why a new president has not been elected until the moment,” stressing that Maronism cannot be “confined” to the ambitions of “those who bowed their heads and knees for the sake of personal and foreign interests.”

“After all what happened, we wonder where is the Christian spirit – the spirit of tolerance, forgiveness and love – and where is Saint Maroun and the example he gave us in terms of self-sacrifice for the sake of others,” Andari said in a sermon marking Saint Maroun's Day, which will be celebrated Monday in Lebanon and the world.

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Jumblat Urges Reviving 'National Aspect' of Presidential Vote instead of 'Limiting it to Christians'

Progressive Socialist Party leader MP Walid Jumblat on Sunday called for “thinking of new solutions to overcome the current situation” in the presidential crisis, calling for “reviving the national aspect of this juncture instead of limiting it to the Christian parties.”

“In the face of the procrastination and obstinacy in the stances of the political forces towards the issue of the presidential election, after long months of presidential void, and given the rise in the intensity of the regional conflicts around Lebanon, it has become necessary to think of new solutions to overcome the current situation,” said Jumblat in his weekly editorial in the PSP's al-Anbaa electronic magazine.

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Abou Faour Hopes Health Ministry Campaigns become 'Reformist Approach'

Health Minister Wael Abou Faour expressed hope on Sunday that his food safety and medication campaigns would develop to become a “comprehensive reformist approach.”

“The campaign was the policy of one ministry but turned into an approach adopted by the cabinet,” Abou Faour pointed out.

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Lebanon Receives New Shipment of U.S. Arms

The United States delivered on Sunday a shipment of military vehicles, weapons and ammunition to Lebanon as of Washington's pledge to aid the Lebanese military in its combat against terrorists.

The state-run National News Agency reported that the shipment was handed at Beirut's port in the presence of U.S. and Lebanese officials.

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