Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri is received by Ambassador Najla Assaker in Geneva, Saturday, Oct. 11, 2014. (The Daily Star/Lebanese Parliament Website, HO)
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Former Prime Minister Saad Hariri will meet Maronite Patriarch Beshara Rai in Rome Monday for talks centering on the nearly 5-month-old presidential deadlock, Future MP Ammar Houri said Sunday.Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri, meanwhile, pleaded with the Lebanese to rally behind the Army in its battle against terrorist groups, saying the military's role should be bolstered to protect Lebanon's security and stability. The planned meeting with Rai comes a week after Hariri held talks with French President Francois Hollande in Paris focusing on the $1 billion Saudi grant to bolster the Lebanese Army's capabilities in the battle against terrorism.Berri's appeal to rally behind the Army came a day after the United States pledged to stand alongside Lebanon in its war on ISIS. Military posts have come under fire by unidentified gunmen in northern Lebanon in the past few days in attacks which, according to a senior military official, were aimed at denting the Army's battle against terrorism and ensuring a safe access for ISIS and Nusra Front militants entrenched on the outskirts of the Bekaa town of Arsal.U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, whose country is spearheading an international coalition to fight ISIS in Syria and Iraq, expressed continued U.S. support for the Lebanese Army, saying Washington stood alongside Lebanon in its battle against terrorism.renewed U.S. support for Lebanon comes as Kahwagi is due to visit America this week for talks on military aid to the Lebanese Army.
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