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Security Council Extends UNIFIL Mandate, Condemns Tensions, Urges Israel to Pull Out of Ghajar

The Security Council on Monday issued a new condemnation of tensions along the Lebanon-Israel border as it renewed the mandate of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon without changes to its rules of engagement.

In a unanimous resolution, the Council said it had determined that "the situation in Lebanon continues to constitute a threat to international peace and security" and had therefore decided to extend UNIFIL's mandate until 31 August 2011.

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Qabbani Inspects Burnt Basta Mosque: Endangering Citizens' Security a Great Crime

Lebanon's Mufti Sheikh Mohammed Rashid Qabbani on Friday inspected Basta Mosque that was set ablaze by militants in Tuesday's bloody gunbattles and called for holding negligent officials accountable.

Qabbani said Dar el-Fatwa will take charge of renovating and rehabilitating the mosque with help from Makkased Association.

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Baroud Betting on Positive Reaction of Political Forces to Ministerial Committee Functions

Interior Minister Ziad Baroud said he was betting on the positive reaction of political forces to the formation of a ministerial committee tasked with finding solutions to the spread of arms across Lebanon.

"It is in the interest of all for weapons to be organized because everyone is harmed by the use of arms," Baroud told An Nahar daily in remarks published Friday.

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Al-Mashnouq: The Clashes Stripped the Arms of their Holy Labe

Mustaqbal bloc MP Nohad al-Mashnouq noted Friday that the recent clashes in Borj Abi Haidar have removed all reasons for maintaining weapons in Beirut and have stripped the arms of their "holy" label.

He told the daily Asharq al-Awsat: "We will not back down from our peaceful and civil resistance and our demand that Beirut be devoid of weapons."

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Harb: Any Solution to Issue of Widespread Arms Possession Needs Follow up by Political Powers

Minister of Labor Butros Harb stressed Friday that any solution to the widespread possession of arms in Lebanon requires follow up by the political powers.

He told Future News that the political powers should support the ministerial committee that Cabinet formed in order to tackle the arms possession.

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Geagea: Borj Abi Haidar Clashes Part of Campaign to Target Hariri, Tribunal

Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea said the latest clashes between Hizbullah and al-Ahbash gunmen in Borj Abi Haidar were part of the organized campaign to weaken Prime Minister Saad Hariri.

The clashes were also aimed at targeting the Special Tribunal for Lebanon and the logic of justice, Geagea told al-Liwaa daily in remarks published Friday.

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Mirza Hasn't Yet Received Hizbullah's Answer on Bellemare's Request

General Prosecutor Said Mirza hasn't yet received any answer from Hizbullah official Wafiq Safa on Special Tribunal for Lebanon Prosecutor Daniel Bellemare's request to provide the remaining material to which the Hizbullah chief referred to in his press conference on August 9.

An Nahar daily said Friday that Mirza would make the announcement in a statement upon receiving Hizbullah's answer.

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Suleiman in Shouf on Friday, Jumblat Visits Beiteddine Saturday to Stress Coexistence

President Michel Suleiman is scheduled on Friday to visit the Shouf Cedar nature reserve and later make a family visit to Mukhtara and stay for dinner at Druze leader Walid Jumblat's residence.

Jumblat, in return, would visit Suleiman at this summer presidential palace in Beiteddine on Saturday. An Nahar daily said that the Progressive Socialist Party leader asked current and former MPs in the Mountains to accompany him.

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Sources: Hariri to Visit Damascus Soon But Not on Monday

Sources close to Prime Minister Saad Hariri have denied media reports that the Mustaqbal movement leader would visit Damascus on Monday and meet with Syrian President Bashar Assad during an Iftar.

The sources told al-Liwaa newspaper in remarks published Friday that Hariri's visit to Damascus would take place soon but no date has been set yet for the trip.

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Sarkozy: Unacceptable for Lebanon to Drown in Cycle of Violence

French President Nicolas Sarkozy reiterated support for Lebanon's independence and sovereignty and said it was "unacceptable for Lebanon to drown again in the cycle of violence."

In his opening of the 18th conference of French ambassadors at the Elysee palace on Wednesday, Sarkozy also reiterated support for President Michel Suleiman and Premier Saad Hariri.

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