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Siniora claims reappointment in Lebanon

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  • Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora says he has been reappointed
  • Siniora has to form new cabinet before he can govern properly
  • PM extends olive branch to Syria and Hezbollah-led opposition
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BEIRUT, Lebanon (CNN) -- Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora says he has been reappointed by the country's new president, but has been asked to form a new Cabinet.

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Fouad Siniora says he has been reappointed Prime Minister by Lebanon's new president.

Siniora told reporters Wednesday that President Michel Sleiman backed him after his government won support from the majority of parliament even though the opposition, including Hezbollah, had opposed his reappointment. The March 14 political bloc asked Sleiman to reappoint Siniora.

"I look forward to guiding the nation into a new era of constitutional rule," Siniora said. "Everyone is invited to review the past and find morals, and I call on all to heal their wounds and overcome the problems and campaigns we have witnessed."

Lebanon's parliament on Sunday elected army chief Sleiman as the nation's 12th president, filling a six-month vacancy created by the November departure of former Emile Lahoud. The parliament had tried 19 times to vote on a new president, but failed because of disagreements over how to share power in a new Cabinet.

Siniora took part in recent negotiations between Lebanon's Western-backed government and its Hezbollah-led opposition, reaching a deal last week aimed at ending an 18-month political crisis which pushed the country to the brink of civil war.

That agreement, reached in Doha, Qatar, under the mediation of an Arab League committee, paved the way for the presidential election.

"We the Lebanese are unified by many, many things and we might have differences within; therefore the tough test facing us is our ability to succeed in organizing our differences," Siniora said.

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There have been differences among politicians over Syrian involvement in Lebanon. The March 14 bloc opposes Syrian interference in Lebanon.

"We all hope to form good relations with Syria," Siniora said. "I look forward to friendly relations with foreign countries, including sisterly Syria."

-- CNN's Tracy Doueiry contributed to this report

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