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STL Suspends Sessions Awaiting the Readiness of Merhi's Defense for Trials

The Special Tribunal for Lebanon suspended on Wednesday its sessions after the case of fifth suspect Hassan Merhi was joined to that of the four already convicted fugitives.

"We will announce the date of the upcoming session once Merhi's defense team has prepared all the necessary documents and is ready to take part in the trials,” STL Presiding Judge David Re announced.

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Geagea Asks Those Who Voiced 'Verbal Support' for Bkirki Charter to Adopt it as National Action Plan

Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea on Tuesday challenged rivals in the Hizbullah-led camp to endorse the recent charter issued by Bkirki as a “national program of action,” noting that some parties have only voiced “verbal support” for the document.

“The Bkirki charter reminded me of the famous Bkirki declaration,” said Geagea at a press conference he held at his Maarab headquarters.

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Aoun Issues Stern Warning against 'De Facto Cabinet' Breaching Coexistence Pact

Free Patriotic Movement leader MP Michel Aoun on Tuesday reiterated that the formation of a so-called “de facto cabinet” would violate the 1943 National Pact, an unwritten agreement that laid the foundation of Lebanon as a multi-confessional state.

“What's dangerous in the cabinet formation process is that it is based on incomplete consultations that excluded the biggest Christian parliamentary bloc,” Aoun said in a written statement he recited after the weekly meeting of the Change and Reform parliamentary bloc.

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Saudi Lays down Tough Penalties for 'Terror' Offenses

King Abdullah Monday decreed jail terms of up to 20 years for belonging to "terrorist groups" and fighting abroad, as it struggles to deter Islamist Saudis from becoming jihadists.

"Taking part in combat outside the kingdom, in any form" will be punished by jail terms of between three and 20 years, said the decree published by state news agency SPA.

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U.N., U.S. Embassy Call for Rallying around Army to Confront Terrorism

The United Nations deplored the deadly blast that hit the Bekaa town of Hermel on Saturday evening, stressing that embracing the military institution is “the only way to face these random terrorist actions.”

"We strongly condemn the car bombing in Hermel which killed and wounded a number of people,” U.N. Special Coordinator for Lebanon Derek Plumbly said in a released statement.

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Aoun: Salam Can't Form De Facto Cabinet, He's to Blame for Obstruction

Free Patriotic Movement leader MP Michel Aoun on Friday stressed that Prime Minister-designate Tammam Salam will not be able to form “a de facto cabinet,” blaming him for the delay in the cabinet formation process.

“The consultations over cabinet formation have not led to anything and no progress has been made,” Aoun said during an interview with the pan-Arab, Beirut-based al-Mayadeen television.

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Muallem: Hizbullah 'Preemptively' Defending Lebanon Through Syria War Involvement

Damascus justified on Friday Hizbullah's involvement in the Syrian war, saying the party is “preemptively” defending Lebanon.

“Hizbullah's men are resilient fighters that are defending their country,” Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem said at a press conference in Switzerland's Geneva.

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U.N. Sets Sights on Fresh Syria Talks from February 10 as Jarba Says Arming Opposition Fighters to Continue

The U.N. aims to bring Syria's warring sides back to the negotiating table from February 10, mediator Lakhdar Brahimi said Friday, despite a regime vow not to give any ground.

"I suggested we resume, on the basis of an agreed agenda, on February 10," Brahimi told reporters after a week of closed-door negotiations wrapped up.

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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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