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Iran Reiterates its Desire to Remain a Partner to Lebanon

Iran has congratulated Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Miqati on his new government, in which Hizbullah and its allies hold the majority, the official IRNA news agency reported Tuesday.

"In a telephone conversation, First Vice President Mohammad Reza Rahimi congratulated Miqati and the Lebanese people on the formation of the new government," IRNA said.

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Baabda Says New Cabinet is ‘Consensual’ Not March 8

Sources close to President Michel Suleiman have stressed that Najib Miqati’s cabinet is a “consensual government” that allows the head of state, the premier and the leader of the National Struggle Front to push it towards centrism.

The sources told al-Mustaqbal daily in remarks published Tuesday that the cabinet is consensual and allows Suleiman, Miqati and Walid Jumblat “to put their centrist touches on it.”

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Geagea Laments that Lebanese Cabinets Don’t Make Progress

Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea has said that he wouldn’t congratulate Lebanon on the formation of Prime Minister Najib Miqati’s cabinet.

“Everyone is going forward except for governments in Lebanon that go backwards,” Geagea said in a brief remark to al-Joumhouria daily on Tuesday.

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March 14 Slams ‘Unbalanced Confrontational Cabinet’

The March 14 forces dubbed Premier Najib Miqati’s cabinet a “confrontational government” that will seek to consolidate itself against the repercussions of the indictment that will be issued by the Special Tribunal for Lebanon.

A high-ranking March 14 source told An Nahar newspaper published Tuesday that “the government of Hizbullah” was formed “given the critical situation in Syria.”

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Key U.S. Lawmaker Urges Aid Cut-Off for Lebanon

A key U.S. lawmaker called Monday for cutting all U.S. aid to Lebanon's new government, in which Hizbullah and its allies hold the majority, and to any Palestinian government in which Hamas is a partner.

"The U.S. should immediately cut off assistance to the Lebanese government as long as any violent extremist group designated by the U.S. as foreign terrorist organizations participates in it," said House Foreign Affairs Committee Chair Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, a Republican and frequent White House critic.

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U.S. to Judge New Govt 'By Its Actions'

The United States said Monday it would judge the new Lebanese government "by its actions" following the announcement of a 30-member cabinet dominated by Hizbullah and its allies.

"We'll judge it by its actions," U.S. State Department spokesman Mark Toner said.

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Arslan, Mrad Supporters Block Roads to Protest Govt Line-up

Angry supporters of Lebanese Democratic Party leader MP Talal Arslan on Monday blocked the international highway in the Mount Lebanon city of Aley, after the Druze lawmaker was not granted a key portfolio in the new cabinet.

Earlier Monday, Arslan had immediately resigned from his post as state minister in the new cabinet, accusing Premier Najib Miqati of being a "liar" and of seeking to deprive the minority Druze of key cabinet posts.

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Arslan Resigns from Cabinet: Miqati Conspired against National Unity

Lebanese Democratic Party leader State Minister and MP Talal Arslan announced on Monday his resignation from the newly-formed government whose lineup was revealed earlier in the day.

He said during a press conference: “In line with my convictions, I announce before the Lebanese people my resignation from the government of the so-called Premier Najib Miqati whom I am not honored to be seated next to.”

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Final Hours ahead of Govt. Announcement Surprise Majority, Force Arslan to Resign

The final hours before announcing the long-awaited cabinet line-up witnessed intense contacts and a surprise meeting at the Baabda Palace between President Michel Suleiman and Prime Minister Najib Miqati.

After 30 minutes, Speaker Nabih Berri joined the meeting after he was invited “urgently and without previous notice,” Al-Manar television reported.

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Assad Congratulates Suleiman, Berri on New Govt

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on Monday telephoned President Michel Suleiman to congratulate him on the formation of a new cabinet led by Prime Minister Najib Miqati after nearly five months of wrangling, Suleiman's office said.

For his part, Suleiman hoped “calm and stability will be restored in Syria in the nearest time.”

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