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Lebanese PM Designate Najib Mikati met on Thursday with U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon Maura Connelly before heading to the parliament to launch parliamentary consultations over the formation of the new cabinet.

Mikati reportedly discussed with Connelly the conditions of his appointment as PM.

Following the meeting the US embassy issued the following statement :

“Ambassador Connelly met today with Prime Minister-designate Najib Mikati. They discussed recent political developments in Lebanon and both affirmed the importance of the strong relationship between the United States and Lebanon. Ambassador Connelly stressed to Mr. Mikati that the U.S. hopes that the government formation process goes forward as an exclusively Lebanese decision free from coercion, intimidation, and threats of violence, from both inside and outside Lebanon. She reiterated that the U.S. is committed to supporting Lebanon’s sovereignty, stability and independence. Ambassador Connelly expressed the United States’ continuing support for the Special Tribunal for Lebanon as a vital part of ending impunity for political violence in Lebanon.”

Mikati, backed by Hezbollah and its March 8 allies , was appointed Tuesday by president Michel Suleiman as PM-designate to form ano defeatd head the next cabinet , giving Hezbollah and its allies increased leverage in the country and provoking widespread protests.

Hezbollah brought down Hariri’s government on January 12 over the Special Tribunal for Lebanon’s ( STL) indictment which is widely expected to implicate Hezbollah members in the assassination of former PM Rafik Hariri in 2005 .

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