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Mustaqbal Says Sunday Rally Stressed Importance of Putting Arms under State Control

The Mustaqbal parliamentary bloc on Tuesday said that the Lebanese who commemorated Sunday the 6th anniversary of the Cedar Revolution had expressed their "rejection and confrontation against the attempts of terrorization and intimidation and the use of weapons to bully unarmed citizens who want to live in peace under the State's wings."

In a statement issued after its weekly meeting in Qureitem under ex-PM Fouad Saniora, the bloc stressed "the major national stance expressed by the Lebanese on that occasion concerning commitment to resisting Israel and confronting its hostility against Lebanon through the weapons which must be put under the Lebanese State's authority."

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Aoun: Verbal Attacks against Resistance an Attempt to Create Unrest, March 13 Rally’s Agenda Doomed to Fail

Free Patriotic Movement leader MP Michel Aoun congratulated on Tuesday Beshara Rahi on his election as the new Maronite patriarch, voicing his support to him in his mission.

He said of the March 14 rally after the movement’s weekly meeting: “We tried to understand Sunday’s demonstration and the speeches at the event and we were surprised by the campaign against the arms.”

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Qassem: Political Life in Lebanon Won’t Come to a Halt with March 14 Camp’s Refusal to Take Part in Cabinet

Hizbullah Deputy Secretary General Sheikh Naim Qassem stated on Tuesday that political life in Lebanon will not come to a halt with the March 14 camp’s refusal to take part in the new government.

He said after holding talks with Spanish Ambassador to Lebanon Juan Carlos Gafo and a number of ambassadors from Latin America: “We refuse for political life in Lebanon to be obstructed for the sake of some sides.”

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Lebanese Officials Laud al-Rahi’s Election, Hope he Would Preserve Coexistence

Lebanese leaders welcomed the election of Beshara al-Rahi as the new Maronite Patriarch on Tuesday, hoping he would be successful in keeping Bkirki a place of unity among the Lebanese.

Al-Rahi will be “the best successor to the best predecessor,” President Michel Suleiman said in a statement.

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Wikileaks: Livni: Israel and Lebanon Share Joint Goal of Disarming Hizbullah

A leaked U.S. Embassy cable published exclusively by Al-Akhbar newspaper on Tuesday revealed that former Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni had stated that the Israeli government realized that the formation of the Lebanese government at the time was an achievement for the international community.

It believed that the newly formed government headed by then Prime Minister Fouad Saniora is a step forward in the right direction for Lebanon.

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Wikileaks: Saniora: We Seek to Achieve Peace, Israel’s Security, and Disarm Hizbullah

A leaked U.S. Embassy cable published exclusively in Al-Akhbar on Tuesday revealed that former Prime Minister Fouad Saniora held Syria and Iran responsible for the eruption of the July 2006 “because they want to destroy the Lebanese government, obstruct the formation of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, and divert attention from the Iranian nuclear program.”

The cable, dated July 13, 2006, said that Saniora described Hizbullah’s actions as “unforgivable” expressing his understanding that Israel “will not reward the party” by liberating the Shabaa Farms.

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Beshara al-Rahi Succeeds Nasrallah Sfeir as Lebanon’s New Maronite Patriarch

Archbishop of Jbeil Beshara al-Rahi was on Tuesday elected the 77th Patriarch of Antioch for the Maronites to succeed Nasrallah Sfeir, Monsignor Youssef Toq announced from the seat of the church in Bkirki.

The election of al-Rahi, 71, will be celebrated during a mass on Friday, March 25 at 10:30 am on the feast of the Annunciation (eid al-beshara), Toq said.

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Aoun: Hariri Waging a Losing Battle

Free Patriotic Movement leader MP Michel Aoun criticized the March 14 rally held on Sunday saying that the movement will be short lived and that its slogans against the resistance’s arms “lack longevity”.

He told As Safir in remarks published on Tuesday: “No matter what caretaker Prime Minister Saad Hariri does, he will realize that he won’t achieve anything because he is waging a losing battle.”

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Gafo: We Expect the Formation of a Cabinet Soon

Spanish Ambassador Juan Carlos Gafo expected the Lebanese government to be formed soon and stressed his country’s support for the course of justice in ex-Premier Rafik Hariri’s assassination case.

In remarks to An Nahar daily published Tuesday, Gafo said that Premier-designate Najib Miqati told him that the cabinet would be formed a few days after the rally at Martyrs Square on March 13.

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Optimism Fades as Cabinet Formation Still Awaits Deal on Fate of Interior Ministry Portfolio

The optimism about the possibility of forming the government this week began fading after media reports said that Lebanese leaders haven’t yet reached an agreement on the distribution of portfolios.

“The most complex obstacle impeding the formation of the cabinet until now is the interior ministry portfolio which requires further consultations and contacts,” a source following Premier-designate Najib Miqati’s efforts to form the government told pan-Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat in remarks published Tuesday.

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