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Obama congratulates Lebanese leader on new gov't

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News,Nation

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama has called Lebanese Prime Minister Tammam Salam to congratulate him for forming a new national unity government.

The White House says Obama told Salam on Friday that upcoming presidential elections should be held on time. Obama also told the Lebanese leader that the U.S. will keep helping Lebanon deal with refugees from the civil war in neighboring Syria.

The call comes amid sectarian clashes in Lebanon linked to the Syrian conflict. More than 150 people have been wounded in fighting in the northern Lebanon city of Tripoli.

Salam's new government garnered the support of 96 out of 101 lawmakers in a vote on Thursday. The 24-person Cabinet includes members of a Western-backed coalition, as well as the Iranian-backed Hezbollah group and its allies.

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