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March 8 Reportedly Agreeing on Cabinet Shares Excluding March 14

Prime Minister Designate Najib Miqati and the March 8 forces are making strong efforts to distribute portfolios among the alliance’s members excluding the March 14 forces, An Nahar daily reported Sunday.

The newspaper said that former Minister Naji Boustani would most likely have a portfolio from President Michel Suleiman’s share in the government. Free Patriotic Movement leader Michel Aoun is also seeking to bring back Jebran Bassil and Charbel Nahhas to the cabinet, it said.

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Saudi Arabia: Travel Warning to Our Citizens was Related to Events at the Time, Today it No Longer Stands

Saudi Arabian Ambassador to Lebanon Ali Awadh Asiri stated on Friday that the Kingdom’s travel warning for its citizens against heading to Lebanon was related to events at the time, but now that matters have calmed down, it is no longer necessary.

The ambassador made his statements after holding talks with Prime Minister-designate Najib Miqati.

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Feltman: We Are Keen on Seeing Lebanese Commitment to International Resolutions

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Jeffrey Feltman stressed that U.N. Security Council members have expressed their keenness on seeing a Lebanese commitment to international resolutions following the formation of a new government led by Caretaker PM Najib Miqati.

Feltman told pan-Arab daily al-Hayat in remarks published Friday that his talks with French officials in Paris touched on the developments in Lebanon. Security Council members have expressed to him their keenness on Lebanon’s commitment to resolutions 1701 and 1757, he said.

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Saudi Editorialists Criticize Hariri Over Unrest

Two prominent Saudi writers criticized outgoing Lebanese premier Saad Hariri in editorials published on Wednesday, saying his supporters used sectarian language and acted like Hizbullah with violent protests.

In an editorial in Saudi-owned al-Hayat entitled "The Lebanese Opposition Cloned,” Daud al-Shiryan wrote that Hariri's bloc, which is backed by Saudi Arabia, had "used the same methods" on Tuesday as his opponents in Hizbullah and allied parties.

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Oil Consolidates Losses Near $86 a Barrel in Asia

Oil prices hovered near $86 a barrel Wednesday in Asia, consolidating losses after falling more than 4 percent in less than a week on mixed economic news and the possibility of increased OPEC production.

Benchmark crude for March delivery was up 26 cents at $86.45 a barrel at early afternoon Bangkok time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract lost $1.68 to settle at $86.19 on Tuesday.

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Riyadh Advises Citizens Not to Travel to Lebanon Amid Measures by Arab, Foreign Embassies

The Saudi Foreign Ministry advised its citizens not to travel to Lebanon at this stage as Ambassador Ali Awad Assiri denied to pan-Arab daily al-Hayat that the embassy had asked Saudis to leave the country as soon as possible.

“Given the situation in Lebanon, the Foreign Ministry advises Saudi citizens not to travel to Lebanon at this stage and until calm and stability” are restored, said a statement carried by the Saudi Press Agency.

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Quadripartite Meeting in Paris Postponed Over Conflicting Agendas of Officials

A meeting that was scheduled to be held on Sunday between France, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Qatar over the political crisis in Lebanon was postponed over conflicting agendas, French foreign ministry sources told pan-Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat.

In remarks published Monday, the sources said the Paris meeting is considered “postponed and not cancelled.”

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French-Saudi-Turkish-Qatari Consultations in Paris to Reach Solution to Lebanese Crisis

A meeting between the French, Saudi Arabia, Turkish, and Qatari foreign ministers is expected to be held in Paris on Sunday in order to reach a solution to the Lebanese political crisis, reported the daily An Nahar Sunday.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy is expected to also join these talks, in a sign of France’s determination to continue efforts that would ensure Lebanon’s stability and sovereignty.

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Report: Saudi Embassy Urges Citizens to Take Precautionary Measures

The Saudi embassy has reportedly sent text messages to its citizens, urging them to take precautionary measures over the deteriorating political situation in Lebanon.

An embassy source told pan-Arab daily al-Hayat in remarks published Saturday that “given the situation …. the embassy asked its citizens to remain in contact with it to know what measures to take.”

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Al-Faisal Surprised by Erroneous Interpretations, Stresses Support for Lebanese Legitimacy

Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal said he was surprised by the “erroneous interpretations” of his remarks on the situation in Lebanon and stressed support for Lebanese legitimacy.

In a statement to the Saudi Press Agency, al-Faisal denied that he had told al-Arabiya TV network there was a change in Saudi policy towards Lebanon.

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