Butros Harb
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Presidential Vacuum Threatens Fate of Cabinet, Parliament Sessions

The rival political arch-foes are mulling their participation in cabinet and parliamentary sessions after the expected vacuum at the helm of the country's top Christian post.

Al-Marada movement, a March 8 alliance affiliated party, rejected to join an expected decision by the Free Patriotic Movement to boycott the cabinet sessions.

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Harb Announces Lower Mobile Phone, Landline Tariffs, Improved Internet Speeds

Telecommunications Minister Butros Harb announced on Friday a number of improvements to mobile phone, landline, and internet services in Lebanon, which namely include the reduction of costs of services and faster internet speeds.

He said during a press conference that monthly landline tariffs have been reduced from LL 12,000 to LL 9,000, while obtaining a line has now become free of charge.

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Harb: Gemayel, Geagea Have Nomination Right, Candidacy without March 14 Consensus Harms Victory Chances

MP Boutros Harb stated on Monday that no political figure should run for office without the consensus of the March 14 coalition, explaining that this would hinder the alliance's chances of victory in the presidential race.

"Any Lebanese Maronite who thinks that they are competent can run for office," Harb said after meeting with Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea in Maarab.

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Report: March 14 Leaning towards Harb's Nomination for President instead of Geagea

The March 14 alliance is studying the possibility of the nomination of Telecommunications Minister Butros Harb as president instead of its current nominee Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea, reported al-Akhbar newspaper on Saturday.

March 14 sources cited the various closed-door meetings among members of the camp and Harb's recent meeting with Progressive Socialist Party chief MP Walid Jumblat as signs that the minister may be named as a candidate.

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Harb 'Ready to Forgive' His Attempted Assassin

Telecommunications Minister Boutros Harb revealed on Wednesday that he is ready to forgive those who tried to kill him in July 2012.

"It is in my nature to forgive people and those who harmed me,” Harb said in an interview on NBN television.

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Berri Denies Parliament Can't Discuss Wage Hike during Presidential Elections

Speaker Nabih Berri has denied that the parliament would not be able to vote on the controversial wage scale after he called on MPs to meet to elect a new president on April 23.

“The two issues are not linked,” the speaker told An Nahar newspaper published on Thursday.

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Harb Announces Reduction in Landline, Mobile Phone Tariffs Starting Tuesday

Telecommunications Minister Butros Harb announced on Monday that the tariffs for landlines and mobile phones will be reduced starting April 1, “in order to better serve the people and their interests, especially those with limited income.”

He said during a press conference that the reduction will range between 30 and 50 percent of the current prices.

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Harb Vows to Liberalize Telecom Sector, Promises to Keep Ministry's Work Away from Politics

Telecommunications Minister Butros Harb lamented on Wednesday that the ministry had not been abiding by legal procedures before he took his post, promising to implement a law on the liberalization of the telecom sector.

During a press conference he held to announce his program during the short term of Premier Tammam Salam's cabinet, Harb said he was surprised that law 431, which had been adopted in 2002, was “placed in the drawers” of the ministry.

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Ministerial Committee Meets on Policy Statement, Salam Proposes 'Non-Contentious' Draft

The ministerial committee tasked with devising a government policy statement met on Wednesday afternoon at the Grand Serail amid reports that Prime Minister Tammam Salam will present it with a draft statement.

"The committee convened in the Grand Serail and the meeting was presided over by Salam,” the state-run National News Agency reported.

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Security Portfolios Delay Cabinet Formation as Salam Seeks to Appease Rival Camps

Last minute obstacles linked to two key security portfolios prevented the formation of the government on Thursday after the March 8 alliance expressed reservations on making the two of them as part of the share of the March 14 camp.

President Michel Suleiman and Premier-designate Tammam Salam were planning to issue the cabinet formation decrees on Thursday but the Hizbullah-led March 8 team insisted to stick to the threatened boycott of Free Patriotic Movement leader Michel Aoun.

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