News from Beirut October 21  1997 ...Search

Two Israeli soldiers wounded in the South

Two Israeli soldiers were wounded, one seriously, when Hizbullah fired missiles into their outpost in zone Israel occupies in South Lebanon.  Pro-Israeli militia sources said Hizbullah heavily rocketed four outposts in the central sector of the zone. The wounded soldiers were stationed at the Israeli post of Qalaat Arnoun. Both soldiers were taken to Israel for treatment. In Beirut, Hizbullah claimed responsibility for the attacks and said a special force infiltrated into the zone and hit an Israeli patrol on the road leading to Qalaat Arnoun. A Hizbullah spokesman said the group achieved a direct hit and destroyed a troop carrier.

Monitoring group meets on Lebanon complaint

The five-nation cease-fire monitoring group met today to discuss a compliant filed by Lebanon and another lodged by Israel. The group, which includes representatives of France, Lebanon, Syria, Israel, and the United States, convened this morning at the UN Interim Forces headquarters in Naqoura. Lebanon filed the complaint after two civilians were wounded in the village during shelling by the Israeli military. Israel's complaint was lodged over an explosion in Jezzine two days ago killing one high-ranking militiamen from the Israeli allied militia. The committee oversees the April cease-fire understanding between Israel and the Hizbullah under which they agreed not to target civilians or carryout attacks from civilian areas.

Health Ministry reduces number of contracts with hospitals

Health Minster Suleiman Franjieh today warned all private hospital owners the government will break contracts signed with them if they reject patients insured by the government. During a press conference held this morning, Franjieh said his ministry will sign contracts with less hospitals. Hospitals had announced yesterday they would no longer receive patients covered by public institutions that have not paid their outstanding debts. Patients whose medical bills are normally covered by the health and defense ministries will now have to pay in advance before they are admitted. The measures exclude emergency and humanitarian cases. The government owes hospitals a sum of 200 million US dollars.

Hariri meets Armenian deputies

The premier this morning met a delegation representing Armenian deputies in parliament. Discussions centered on land ownership in the city of Anjar where Armenian coming form the area of Iskandaroun have long lived. After the meeting, deputy Khatsheek Babikian said the issue of Anjar is an old one adding committees should be appointed to handle the case.

Hariri arrived yesterday concluded a one-day visit to Armenia where he held talks with Armenian officials signing later on a friendship and cooperation agreement between the two countries.

Lebanese premier to visit Japan in November

Prime Minister Rafik Al-Hariri is to pay a four-day visit to Japan in early November. The foreign ministry today said during his visit starting November 3, Hariri is scheduled to meet Japanese Prime minister Ryutaro Hashimoto and Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko. A foreign ministry official said Hariri and Hashimoto will discuss bilateral and international issues. Hariri, accompanied by Acting minister of finance Fouad Sanyoura, will also meet Japanese business leaders.

Meanwhile, the premier will start an official visit to Iran on Saturday to hold talks on bilateral ties and regional matters. Hariri will pay a private visit tomorrow to Kuwait.

Hrawi receives invitation for Islamic summit

President Elias Al-Hrawi today received an invitation from Iran to attend the conference of an Islamic summit to be held in Tehran on the 19th of December. The Iranian charge d'affairs in Beirut said he traced the president's will to attend the summit adding bilateral ties between Lebanon and Iran have been boosted especially with the new Iranian government in power.

Beirut Arab conference recommends setting up Arab Bank

Participants in a major Arab economic forum which closed yesterday in Beirut recommended setting up a bank with an initial capital of 500 million dollars to boost investment and trade between Arab countries. At the end of the three-day seventh Arab Investors' forum, a final statement was issued saying the bank would provide funds for investment in Arab countries and for inter-Arab trade exchanges. The conference also stressed the importance of establishing the great Arab free trade zone starting January 1,1998. The delegates recommended increasing investment between Arab nations and attracting foreign capital and Arab funds invested abroad. The also called for increasing the Arab banks' participation in funding joint Arab projects and asked for setting up effective regulations to limit foreign acquisitions in Arab stock markets. The final statement said they agreed to hold the eighth Arab Investors' Conference in 1999 in Tunisia and the ninth in 2001 in Jordan. Some 600 Arab officials and business men took part in the forum which was organized by the Arab League represented by its secretary general Ismat Abdel Majeed, the Confederation of Arab Chambers of Commerce and the Arab Institution for Investment Guarantees.

Lebanon to attend Iraqi international fair

Both Syria and Lebanon are expected to participate for the first time in years in an international fair to be held in Iraq next month. Fair director Fawzi Hussein al-Zaher today said 24 countries will attend including Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Sudan, and Tunisia, as well as the Palestinian Authority. He said Lebanon will be represented for the first time in several years.

Sports Review

Volley Ball:

The organizing committee for the 16th Arab Clubs Championship in Volley Ball continues its preparations for holding the games which Lebanon will host between the 14th and 22nd of November. The committee is holding daily meetings with all participants comprising nine Arab teams and two Lebanese, Al-shabiba- Al-Boushriyeh and Al-riyadi- Ghazir.

Equestrian Games:

The country Farm Club organized a tournament in Equestrian games in Ayntoura despite the rainy weather. Among the 25 participants, the following were the winners: Joe Mkhashhen, Wassim Rokoz, Nadine Mkhashhen, Rana Ghandour, Saed Bobis, and Rania Hishmeh.

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