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Berri Telephones Ahmadinejad: Government Formation Moving at Turtle Pace

Speaker Nabih Berri stated that the government formation in Lebanon is moving at “turtle pace”, noting however that Prime Minister-designate Najib Miqati’s recent statements from Baabda are a positive sign that it will be established soon.

He told the daily An Nahar in remarks published on Sunday: “We hope the new government will live up to the Lebanese people’s expectations.”

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Syrian Troops Deploy along Lebanese Border to Combat Smuggling

Syrian troops have deployed along Syria’s border with Lebanon on Saturday in an effort to combat terrorism, reported the daily An Nahar Sunday.

It added that the Syrian border patrol have intensified their procedures along the Syrian-Lebanese border.

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Roumieh Prisoner Dies of Injuries, Raising Toll of ISF Raid to 3

An inmate died of burn injuries he suffered during the raid of the Internal Security Forces on Roumieh prison last week, one of his family members told Agence France Presse on Saturday.

Nasser Darwish, who hails from the eastern Bekaa town of Brital, died at hospital of severe burn injuries, his brother told AFP.

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UNIFIL Denies it is Involved in Search for Estonians

The United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon denied on Saturday media reports that peacekeepers had carried out a joint operation with security forces in Rashaya al-Fekhar in search for the kidnapped Estonian tourists.

“UNIFIL does not carry out any operation outside its area of operations that falls south of the Litani river,” UNIFIL spokesman Neeraj Singh said in remarks carried by the state-run National News Agency.

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Berri: No More Excuses for Government Deadlock

Speaker Nabih Berri lamented that the March 8 forces were no longer finding excuses to justify the deadlock in the government formation, said pan-Arab daily al-Hayat on Saturday.

Berri reportedly told his visitors that he did not understand the reasons that were delaying the formation of the new cabinet. They quoted the speaker as saying “we can no longer find excuses … particularly that we form a single team and are united in our choices.”

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No Agenda for Tuesday’s Reconciliation Meeting in Bkirki, al-Khazen Considers it a ‘Bold Move’

The meeting that will bring together Lebanon’s top Christian leaders in Bkirki next week does not have an agenda but would be followed by other meetings that could expand to include more officials, sources from the seat of the Maronite church said.

“There won’t be any agenda … because the meeting is considered an achievement and will be followed by other meetings that include more Christian” officials, the sources told pan-Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat in remarks published Saturday.

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Consultations Focus on Change of Portfolios but Suleiman Sticks to Interior, Defense Ministries

Premier-designate Najib Miqati continued his consultations to break the impasse over the new government makeup after urging the leaders of the main parties to facilitate the formation of his cabinet.

Miqati held talks with the Hizbullah leader’s aide, Hussein Khalil, twice on Friday. He also met twice with the speaker’s assistant, MP Ali Hassan Khalil.

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Israel Threatens to Destroy 150 Lebanese Villages Over Missile Attack

A security source from the Northern Israeli command warned 150 villages in southern Lebanon that the Jewish state would destroy “every house or building from where missiles are launched.”

Israel has evidence that Hizbullah is continuing to prepare for war, the official said.

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Jarrah to Urge Berri to Fight for his Reputation over Syrian Accusations

Al-Mustaqbal bloc MP Jamal al-Jarrah said he would meet with Speaker Nabih Berri on Saturday to inform him that he should be “punished” if the Syrian accusations against him turned out to be right.

“The reputation of the parliament and consequently the reputation of one of the lawmakers and his constitutional and legal rights are being raised,” al-Jarrah told An Nahar daily.

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Report: March 14 Tells Connelly that Arabs, West Should Protect Lebanon from Syria

The March 14 General-Secretariat has reportedly urged U.S. Ambassador Maura Connelly to preserve Lebanon’s stability after the latest Syrian accusations of al-Mustaqbal movement’s involvement in funding a terrorist cell in Syria.

Connelly visited Caretaker Premier Saad Hariri, Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea and March 14 General-Secretariat Coordinator Fares Soaid on Friday.

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