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Lebanon Forms Government After 10-Month Deadlock

Lebanon has announced a new Cabinet that includes a wide range of political groups, breaking months of bitter infighting, mostly over Syria's civil war.

Prime Minister Tamam Salam announced his 24-member national unity government on Saturday.

Parliament had designated the Sunni lawmaker as prime minister in April last year. But rivalries between the Shi'ite Hezbollah-dominated March 8 coalition and the Sunni-led March 14 alliance had prevented Mr. Salam from forming a government.

Agreement was reached when the March 14 alliance agreed to withdraw its choice for interior minister after strong opposition from Hezbollah.

United Nations Secretary-General Ban ki-moon welcomed the Cabinet formation, saying the severity of Lebanon's security, humanitarian and economic issues should spur the government to act without delay to address these challenges.



Syria's civil war has spilled over into neighboring Lebanon and sharply divided its population.

Mr. Salam said the new Cabinet will have to face the explosive social issue created by nearly a million Syrian refugees fleeing to Lebanon, which has a population of 4 million.

The Cabinet is not expected to remain in office long because a new government is slated to be formed after President Michel Suleiman's six-year term ends in May and a new head of state is elected.

A caretaker government has run the country since former Prime Minister Najib Mikati resigned last year.

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