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Macron, al-Rahi agree on 'need to elect president without delay'

French President Emmanuel Macron has stressed his support for the “efforts” that Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rahi is exerting to pull Lebanon out of the “political crisis,” calling on all forces in the country to elect a president “without delay.”

In a statement issued after a Paris meeting between Macron and al-Rahi, the French presidency said the two men “expressed their deep concerns over the crisis” in Lebanon and “the institutional paralysis that has been aggravated by the vacancy in the presidency since more than seven months.”

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Israel denies bombing Lebanon after blast kills 5 Palestinians

Five fighters from a pro-Syrian Palestinian militant group were killed in an accidental explosion at a base in eastern Lebanon, a Lebanese security source said Wednesday.

A spokesman for the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command (PFLP-GC) instead accused Israel of carrying out "overnight raids" at the base in Qusaya, near the Syrian border. Israel denied any involvement.

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UK donates Land Rover spares worth over £400k to Lebanese Army

British Ambassador to Lebanon Hamish Cowell has announced the donation of additional Land Rover spares worth over £400K to the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF).

“This is part of our continuing partnership with the LAF through the UK’s Conflict, Stability, and Security Fund (CSSF). The spare parts will improve the Land Border Regiments’ Land Rovers recce capability and support the LAF in its mission to defend the security and stability of Lebanon and on the borders,” a British embassy statement said.

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Constitutional Council dismisses appeals against municipal vote postponement

The Constitutional Council on Tuesday dismissed the appeals filed against the law that extended the terms of municipalities and local officials.

At a press conference, Council chief Judge Tannous Meshleb said the decision is aimed at “preserving the continuity of the work of public institution,” arguing that “the constitution was created for the sake of the public interest.”

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Opposition, FPM to hold meetings today before declaring support for Azour

The MPs of the Change, Kataeb, Lebanese Forces and Tajaddod blocs will hold a meeting at 5:30 pm Tuesday and will likely declare their support for Jihad Azour’s presidential nomination, al-Jadeed TV reported.

The Free Patriotic Movement-led Strong Lebanon bloc will meanwhile meet at 3:30 pm and FPM chief Jebran Bassil will try to convince all of its members to endorse Azour, the TV network added.

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Khoury insists on lawyers named to represent Lebanon in French Salameh case

Caretaker Justice Minister Henri Khoury on Tuesday stressed that he did what’s needed to “preserve the Lebanese state’s rights,” amid a row with caretaker PM Najib Mikati over hiring lawyers to represent the Lebanese state in the case of the Paris-held assets of Central Bank chief Riad Salameh.

Speaking at a press conference, Khoury denied that there is a lack of information surrounding the lawyers.

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Hotels syndicate says tourism won't be affected by Saudi's kidnap

The brief kidnap of a Saudi man in Lebanon will not affect the “promising” summer tourism season, the head of the Syndicate of Hotel Owners in Lebanon, Pierre Achkar, said.

Congratulating security forces on the “swift liberation” of the Saudi citizen, Achkar said such prompt action “sends a clear and firm message to anyone who dares to temper with security.”

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Berri won't call for election session as FPM, opposition claim presidential agreement

Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri will not call for a "folkloric" session that might fail for the 12th time to elect a president.

In remarks published Tuesday in Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper, Berri said that based on the current circumstances, it is not possible to call for a session "with no real competition".

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Bassil asks Hezbollah for 'national consensus' or 'democratic competition'

The Free Patriotic Movement has agreed with the opposition on a presidential candidate, FPM chief Jebran Bassil said, adding that "the political project has not yet been completed."

Bassil told Kuwait's al-Qabas newspaper that is it necessary to reach an agreement with all parties, including Hezbollah.

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Saudi citizen kidnapped in Beirut released in Army 'special operation'

Lebanese Army intelligence agents liberated Tuesday near the Syrian border a Saudi citizen who had been kidnapped Saturday from Beirut. The man reportedly had been held for ransom.

A statement by the Lebanese military said Mushari al-Mutairi was released in a “special operation” along the Lebanon-Syria border, where the kidnappers held him hostage. Some of the involved in the kidnapping were arrested, the statement said.

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