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Report: Macron told al-Rahi Christian agreement not enough for president election

An agreement among Lebanon’s Christians over a presidential candidate would be an “important” step, but “it is not enough for the election of a president,” French President Emmanuel Macron has reportedly told Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rahi.

“Things in the country require consensus with the political forces,” Macron added, according to al-Akhbar newspaper.

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Azour's nomination to be declared Saturday, Berri insists not to call for session

The opposition and the Free Patriotic Movement MPs will likely announce their presidential candidate, former minister Jihad Azour, on Saturday, al-Joumhouria newspaper said.

Informed sources told the daily, in remarks published Friday, that Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rahi after hailing the agreement would ask Speaker Nabih Berri and Hezbollah to call for a session and to secure quorum.

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Military judge accuses Hezbollah members of killing UN peacekeeper

A military judge has accused five Hezbollah members, only one of whom is in custody, of killing an Irish United Nations peacekeeper in December last year, a judicial official told AFP Thursday.

Private Sean Rooney, 23, was killed and three others were injured on December 14 when their U.N. Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) vehicle was attacked near the southern coastal village of al-Aqbiyeh.

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Change MPs hold talks with opposition, to meet Azour soon

Representatives of the Lebanese Forces, Kataeb and Tajaddod blocs and a number of Change MPs held a meeting Thursday to “devise the appropriate mechanisms for reaching a presidential agreement among and with other blocs with which they have intersected over a common presidential candidate,” al-Jadeed TV said.

The conferees discussed “how to publicize this intersection when it happens in order to push for ending the presidential vacuum,” the TV network added.

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Will PSP endorse Azour for presidency?

The Progressive Socialist Party will soon discuss the nomination of former minister Jihad Azour, PSP MP Wael Abou Faour said.

The lawmaker said all the bloc's MPs will vote for the same candidate.

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Report: U.S. might sanction Berri, 18 other officials over presidential void

Nineteen Lebanese officials, including Speaker Nabih Berri, might be sanctioned by the U.S. Treasury Department if a president is not elected this month, Nidaa al-Watan newspaper reported Thursday.

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Barbara Leaf had reportedly warned Wednesday that her country might impose sanctions on Lebanese officials if they continue to obstruct the election of a new president.

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Berri says won't open parliament in absence of 'serious nominations'

Speaker Nabih Berri on Thursday stressed that he will not call for a presidential election session in the absence of “at least two serious nominations.”

“Parliament’s doors have not and will not be shut in the face of a presidential election session should at least two serious presidential nominations be announced,” Berri said in a statement, emphasizing that “distortions and threats” against him are “of no use.”

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Al-Rahi says Paris, Vatican asked him to talk to all components

Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rahi on Thursday announced that France and the Vatican have asked him to talk to all of the country’s “components” regarding the presidential file.

“We will talk to everyone without exception, even to Hezbollah, and the efforts will start today,” al-Rahi told a delegation from the Press Syndicate.

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Port blast victims' relatives demand justice, two months before anniversary

Relatives of the Beirut port blast victims rallied Thursday in front of the Justice Palace to demand justice for their loved ones.

They said they will rally every Thursday, as they burned tires to protest the obstruction of the blast's probe.

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Report: FPM MPs warn Bassil over replacing Hezbollah with LF

Free Patriotic Movement chief Jebran Bassil failed to prove that he has the upper hand in the FPM in yesterday’s meeting of the Strong Lebanon bloc, al-Joumhouria newspaper reported on Wednesday.

“He accompanied his father-in-law, ex-president Michel Aoun, to the meeting of the Strong Lebanon bloc in order to impose his plan which is based on agreeing with the rest of the parties on nominating ex-minister Jihad Azour, but a statement issued by the bloc after a relatively lengthy meeting came out empty of a public and outright nomination of Azour,” the daily said.

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