Following are summaries of some of the main stories in a selection of Lebanese newspapers Wednesday. The Daily Star cannot vouch for the accuracy of these reports.
Clinton supports Sleiman efforts for new Cabinet
Hariri criticizes Nasrallah for speech
Day after day signs on the horizon appear to indicate that the Hezbollah government headed by Prime Minister Najib Mikati will be brought down despite Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah’s unlimited support for the Cabinet and assurances that it would remain.
Among these signs was a message conveyed by U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon Maura Connelly to President Michel Sleiman in which U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton expressed her country's support for Sleiman’s efforts “to form a new government that reflects the aspirations of the Lebanese people."
As part of responses to Nasrallah’s escalatory speech, former Prime Minister Saad Hariri had a significant stance after meeting Italian Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi.
Hariri stressed that there were “constitutional grounds for toppling the government.”
“But if Sayyed Hasan is clinging to power, and there is no doubt that this is the case, it is clear that the party [Hezbollah] is ready to do whatever it can to make sure that [Nasrallah] remains in power,” Hariri said.
High-level Sunni-Shiite talks to prevent explosion emanating from Sidon
Sheikh Ahmad Assir prepares for rally to mark Muslim New Year amid heavy presence of armed men
High-level contacts are taking place between the Sunni and Shiite leaderships in the country beginning with Hezbollah leader Secretary General Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah, Speaker Nabih Berri, former Prime Minister Fouad Siniora and Future Movement Secretary-General Ahmad Hariri as well as Prime Minister Najib Mikati and President Michel Sleiman to prevent an explosive situation in Sidon that could spread to Ain al-Hilweh and beyond to reach Taamir and Sidon city where the pro-Hezbollah Nasserite Organization supporters are likely to face off with their Future Movement rivals.
An explosive situation could also lead to a fundamental problem since the path of the resistance from Beirut to the south can only pass through Sidon.
Hezbollah, meanwhile, is studying the situation. It knows that it could use its military power to put an end to Sheik Assir’s actions, knowing full well that this would lead to Sunni-Shiite strife.
However, Sheikh Assir is preparing for a rally to mark the Muslim New Year Thursday amid a sizeable presence of gunmen.
Christian leaders to meet in Bkirki on Nov. 29;
UCC strike Nov. 27- 28
Bassil returns electricity crisis to square one
The matter of security remained at the forefront of developments in the country in light of the clashes in Sidon, which Army head Gen. Jean Kahwagi visited and where he declared that the military would quell with force any attempt at turning Sidon into a battlefield.
In parallel, there was a flurry of diplomatic, political and religious activity in Baabda, Ain al-Tineh, the Grand Serail, Bkirki, Bikfaya and Tripoli.
MTV channel said Christian leaders would meet at Bkirki on Nov. 29 to continue debate on an electoral law.
Meanwhile, the Union Coordination Committee agreed during a meeting Tuesday to strike from Nov. to Nov. 28, paving the way for an open-ended strike to be announced later.
Sources revealed to Al-Joumhouria that Energy Minister Gebran Bassil is seeking to return the electricity crisis back to square one by insisting that he obtain the Cabinet’s authorization to negotiate with firms interested in investing in Lebanon’s electricity production sector.
New voices from within the majority demand government ouster
At a time when the government is concerned over the UCC strikes, signs of renewed talks about a new government have emerged.
These signs were clear from meetings held Tuesday in Baabda and Ain al-Tineh, where President Michel Sleiman received a letter from U.S. Secretary of State Clinton in which the U.S. reaffirmed its support for the president’s efforts to transition to a new government that reflects the aspirations of the people and strengthens Lebanon’s stability.
However, in Ain al-Tineh Prime Minister Najib Mikati made a significant visit to Speaker Nabih Berri followed by other visits to National Struggle Front ministers.
Minister Ghazi Aridi announced following the talks with Mikati that “we are in a huge political stalemate.”
“If the departure of the government is the solution, then we have no objection,” Aridi said.