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Syria Foes Spar over Blame for 'Terrorism' as Talks near End

Syria's warring sides on Thursday got bogged down in a dispute over who was responsible for the violence in the country, as peace talks in Geneva focused on "terrorism".

While the mere fact the rivals agreed on a topic of discussion was seen as a step forward, the first round of talks are expected to wrap up Friday with no concrete progress on ending the violence, agreeing on a political transition or ensuring humanitarian aid to millions in need.

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Aoun: Any Cabinet Breaching Constitution is Illegitimate, PM-Designate Must Resign after 10-Month Failure

Free Patriotic Movement leader MP Michel Aoun on Tuesday warned that any cabinet line-up that does not respect the constitution and coexistence among the Lebanese would be considered “illegitimate.”

“Any cabinet formed in contravention of the constitutional, legal and coexistence norms – regardless of the intentions that pushed for its formation – will be illegitimate, and the bloc's stance will be decided accordingly,” Aoun said after the weekly meeting of the Change and Reform parliamentary bloc in Rabieh.

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Firefighter Gives Testimony at Third STL Hearing Session, Says Crater Split Hariri Convoy in Half

The Special Tribunal for Lebanon resumed on Monday its hearing sessions in The Hague, as Khaled Toubaili, a firefighter that was involved in the rescuing operations on February 14, 2005, gave his testimony.

Toubaili, a firefighter at the Bashura sector in the Beirut Fire Department, recounted the events he experienced on the day of former premier Rafik Hariri's assassination.

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Geagea: Govt. Won't Make Any Difference, We'll Only Join if Baabda Declaration is Policy Statement

Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea on Wednesday stressed that there is no “fundamental dispute” with the Mustaqbal Movement, noting that the LF would only join the new cabinet if the Baabda Declaration was adopted as the ministerial policy statement.

“I'm more and more convinced that the LF won't take part in the cabinet,” Geagea said in an interview on Future TV, before underlining that his party would join the new government “if the Baabda Declaration was adopted as the only political component of the ministerial Policy Statement.”

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Mansour from Geneva: Terrorism, not Hizbullah, Cause of Syria's Turmoil

Caretaker Foreign Minister Adnan Mansour stressed on Wednesday that Hizbullah's interference in Syria is not the problem, pointing out that the region's upheaval is cause by the presence of terrorist ideologies.

"Those claiming that what is happening in Syria is a result of Hizbullah's involvement in the war want to divert attention from the fact that there are foreign terrorist groups in the region,” Mansour said during his participation at the Syria peace talks in Switzerland's Geneva.

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Aoun Rejects Portfolio Rotation, Warns against 'Tampering' with Christian Representation

Free Patriotic Movement leader MP Michel Aoun on Tuesday announced the FPM's rejection of any rotation of ministerial portfolios in the new cabinet, saying any such attempt would be considered an attack on the movement.

“We reject the notion of holding onto any ministerial portfolio, as rotation is acceptable when the cabinet changes, but we reject any manipulation targeting the basis of productivity during the short interval of time (that precedes the presidential vote and the formation of a new cabinet.) That would be a suspicious move aimed at targeting our work (at the ministries),” said Aoun in a written statement he recited after the Change and Reform bloc's weekly meeting.

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Hariri Rules Out 'People-Army-Resistance' Equation, Says 'Only Death' Separates Him from March 14 Allies

Former Prime Minister Saad Hariri announced on Monday his total rejection to the people-army-resistance equation, stressing also that he will never abandon his allies.

“The people-army-resistance equation is completely rejected, full stop,” Hariri said in an interview on Future TV.

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Assad Describes STL as 'Politicized, Considers it a Tool to 'Pressure Hizbullah'

Syrian President Bashar Assad described the Special Tribunal for Lebanon as “politicized,” saying that it's only a tool to pressure Hizbullah.

"Nine years have passed since the beginning of this trial. Has justice been served? Every accusation was made for political reasons," he said on Sunday in an exclusive interview with Agence France Presse, days after the Special Tribunal for Lebanon began hearing evidence in the 2005 killing of Rafik Hariri.

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STL Defense Emerges Confused and Divided from First Two Days of Trial

The Hague - Naharnet Exclusive

Defense counsel for the accused in the assassination of former premier Rafik Hariri emerged confused and divided from the first two days of the trial at the headquarters of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon in The Hague.

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STL Prosecution Says Booby-Trapped Truck Came from Dahieh, Mentions 'Syria' for First Time

The Hague - Naharnet Exclusive

The Prosecution of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon on Friday crowned its 2-day presentation about the outcome of investigations into the assassination of former premier Rafik Hariri by unveiling the route taken by the booby-trapped truck, the hierarchy of the assassination squad and a series of elements that might lead to major surprises as the trial moves forward.

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