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Cassese Says Indictment Decisive Moment for Lebanon

President of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon Antonio Cassese said that the release of the indictment along with the arrest warrants in ex-Premier Rafik Hariri’s assassination case is a critical moment for Lebanon and the region.

“This is a decisive moment for the Lebanese, their state and for international justice. It is also a decisive moment for the region,” Cassese said in an opinion article published Wednesday in The New York Times.

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Security Council Condemns Attacks on U.S., French Embassies in Syria

The U.N. Security Council on Tuesday issued a statement condemning "in the strongest terms" the attacks against the U.S. and French embassies in the Syrian capital, Damascus.

The statement which was approved by all 15 council members said the attacks damaged the embassies and injured diplomatic personnel.

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Abbas Vows to Take Palestinian Statehood Bid to U.N.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas vowed Tuesday to take the Palestinian bid for statehood to the U.N. after the diplomatic Quartet failed to reach a breakthrough to revive peace talks.

"We will go to the United Nations and we hope the United States will not use its veto, but that we will go with its agreement," the Palestinian leader told reporters after a meeting with Greek President Karolos Papoulias.

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Quiet Holds 5 Years after Israel-Hizbullah War

The fifth anniversary of Israel's war in Lebanon passed largely unmarked in the Jewish state on Tuesday, with no official events planned and the border between the neighbors mostly quiet.

The conflict that began on July 12, 2006, ending 34 days later with the deaths of 1,200 people in Lebanon, mainly civilians, and 160 Israelis, mostly soldiers, has faded into the background in Israeli public life.

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U.N. Human Rights Disappointed by Malaysian Police Crackdown

The U.N. human rights office expressed disappointment Tuesday at Malaysia's crackdown on peaceful demonstrators, saying that police appeared to have used excessive force.

Riot police fired tear gas and water cannon and arrested more than 1,600 people to end a rally to demand electoral changes on Saturday, drawing intense criticism from human rights groups.

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Lebanon in Political, Diplomatic Campaign Against Israel's Proposed Maritime Line

Foreign Minister Adnan Mansour has vowed to resort to the United Nations to resolve the conflict on Lebanon’s maritime border with Israel after the Jewish state’s proposal deepened the feud over offshore gas fields between the two states.

"Israel's measures have created a new point of tension in the region and threaten peace and security across this region," Mansour told reporters in Beirut on Monday.

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France Denies Negotiating with Libya, Says Only had Contact

French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said Tuesday that France had had "contacts" with the Libyan regime concerning the departure of leader Moammar Gadhafi but no real negotiations had taken place.

"There have indeed been contacts, but it has not turned into a real negotiation," he told France Info radio station. "The Libyan regime is sending messengers everywhere: to Turkey, New York, Paris," he said.

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Phalange: Govt. Can’t Be Selective in Dealing with International Law

The Phalange Party noted on Monday that the government’s position on the Special Tribunal for Lebanon does not adhere to United Nations Security Council 1757 on the issue.

It said in a statement after its weekly politburo meeting: “This will lead Lebanon to a confrontation with the international community, which will have negative repercussions on its economic, financial, and tourism fields.”

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Gadhafi’s Son: Tripoli Negotiating with France, not Rebels

Tripoli is negotiating a way out of the Libyan crisis with France not with its rebel foes, the son of embattled Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi said in an interview published Monday.

"We are in fact holding real negotiations with France and not with the rebels," Seif Al-Islam said during the interview with the Algerian daily el-Khabar conducted in the Libyan capital.

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Israel Lays Hands on 1,500 sq km of Lebanese Waters as Cabinet Seeks to Confront it

Energy Minister Jebran Bassil is expected on Monday to ask both President Michel Suleiman and Premier Najib Miqati to place the issue of Lebanon’s maritime border with Israel on the agenda of the cabinet meeting this week.

On Sunday, Bassil said that Beirut will not give up its maritime rights. His comment came after Israel's cabinet approved a map of the Jewish state's proposed maritime borders with Lebanon to be submitted for a U.N. opinion.

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