Michel Suleiman
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Qatari Emir Hopes President would Postpone Consultations, Suleiman Sees No Justification for it

Qatari Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani hoped in a telephone with President Michel Suleiman that the parliamentary consultations over appointing a new prime minister would be postponed in order to allow more room for reaching a settlement, revealed Arab diplomatic sources to the daily Al-Mustaqbal Sunday.

Suleiman, however, ruled out such a development, saying that it would be “unjustified seeing as he was the one who called for holding the consultations in the first place,” reported the daily An Nahar Sunday from the president’s visitors.

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Suleiman to Start Consultations to Appoint New PM on Monday

Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri on Thursday announced that consultations on appointing a new prime minister would begin on Monday, following the collapse of the national unity government.

"Consultations with parliamentarians will begin Monday at 12:00 p.m.," Berri said after talks with President Michel Suleiman at the Baabda Palace, adding that "the meeting was very good."

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Suleiman Visits Coptic Church, Offers Condolences for Victims of ‘Crime Against Humanity’

President Michel Suleiman visited the Coptic church in Jisr el-Basha on Tuesday and offered condolences for the victims of the bombing in Alexandria.

“This terrorist crime against al-Qiddissin (The Saints) church in Alexandria is a crime against humanity,” Suleiman told Father Rwais Orshalimi at the Coptic church.

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Suleiman, Hariri Spend New Year Abroad

Prime Minister Saad Hariri traveled to Riyadh on Wednesday, the same day he returned from New York where he met with Saudi King Abdullah.

Hariri went to Saudi Arabia to spend the New Year with his family. A statement released by his press office said upon his arrival from the United States, the prime minister contacted President Michel Suleiman and discussed with him the current developments.

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Al-Mustaqbal Sources: March 8 Ministers Should End Animosity with People's Interests

Al-Mustaqbal movement officials confirmed that President Michel Suleiman and Premier Saad Hariri were making strong efforts to hold a cabinet session immediately after New Year.

The sources told pan-Arab daily al-Hayat in remarks published Wednesday that there are now more than 500 items on the cabinet agenda and most of them are linked to people's daily lives.

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Report: Medvedev in Lebanon Next Month

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev is expected to visit Beirut next month, Central News Agency reported.

The agency quoted diplomatic sources as saying that Medvedev would visit the Lebanese capital in January in response to an invitation from President Michel Suleiman.

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Suleiman, Jumblat Welcome Opposition Proposal … Hariri Mulling it, Report

A proposal launched by the Opposition to address the crisis over the false witnesses' issue was welcomed by President Michel Suleiman and Druze leader Walid Jumblat, the daily As-Safir reported Tuesday, citing Opposition sources.

It quoted the sources as saying that Prime Minister Saad Hariri was mulling the proposal which states that Suleiman informs Cabinet ministers at the start of Wednesday's session that the false witnesses' issue will be referred to the forensic investigator into ex-PM Rafik Hariri's assassination given that Cabinet referred the issue to the Judicial Council in 2005.

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Berri Unleashes Last -Minute Effort on Eve of Cabinet Meeting

Speaker Nabih Berri has unleashed a last-minute effort to reach a compromise on the false witnesses' issue, his political aide Ali Hasan Khalil announced.

Khalil, in remarks published Tuesday by the daily An-Nahar, said Berri was working in his capacity as a political leader in the Opposition camp.

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Cabinet Convenes Wednesday amid Concern over Possible Vote on False Witnesses File

Cabinet is set to convene at the Baabda palace on Wednesday for the first time since November 10, with 300 articles set to be discussed, the main one being the false witnesses file.

Sources close to Prime Minister Saad Hariri told the pan-Arab daily Ashraq al-Awsat Sunday that the March 14 forces ministers will refuse to subject the case to a vote if there are no legal justifications for referring it to justice council, as the opposition is demanding.

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Cabinet Meeting Hits Dead End as March 8 Adamant to Have False Witnesses File at Top of Agenda

Efforts exerted by Premier Saad Hariri to achieve consensus over a cabinet session were torpedoed by the March 8 forces’ insistence to put the issue of false witnesses at the top of the agenda.

March 8 sources told An Nahar the coalition insisted that making false witnesses the number one item on the cabinet agenda was an unconditional demand.

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