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Lebanon’s leaders agree new govt to be led by Hariri, political factions say

Lebanese leaders reached a deal on Thursday to set up a new unity government, Reuters reported, citing three political sources from different factions. The agreement would end nine months of wrangling over how to share out cabinet portfolios in the heavily indebted state. It will be the third government led by the Western-backed Saad al-Hariri, who has vowed to carry out economic reforms. Ali Hassan Khalil will stay on as finance minister, a senior official said. Negotiations on the new national unity government including the main political blocs began after a May 6 election, in which allies of the Iranian-backed Shiite group Hezbollah gained ground. Hezbollah has reportedly picked Shiite doctor Jamil Jabak as the health minister in the new government. By picking the health minister, Hezbollah will be moving beyond the more marginal role it has played in past governments.