The five-nation monitoring group will meet tomorrow in Naqoura to look into two complaints lodged by Lebanon against Israel. The Lebanese complaint was filed on Saturday when Israel bombed the town of Nabatieh and injured a Southern shepherd. The second compliant is lodged over Israeli shelling of the village of Ain Bouswar on Friday night as a result of which four homes were damaged.
Meanwhile, Hisbullah today claimed responsibility for the detonation of a roadside bomb near the Jammous position in the area Israel occupies in the South. The bomb was detonated as Israeli allied militia foot patrols passed nearby.
Prime Minister Rafik Al-Hariri today opened the International Symposium for the reconstruction of war-torn cities at the House of the Architect in Beirut. Many eminent architects gathered today to prove the significance of the subject this Symposium and also the significance of Beirut as a location for this conference. The event which was attended by ministers Ali Harajli and Bassem al-Sabaa and a number of deputies was organized by the syndicate of architects in Lebanon. In his speech, Hariri stressed the reconstruction drive is one of the country's most flexible experiences adding all development plans are still being discussed by Lebanese officials. But the premier said the Lebanon has never forgotten the evil memories of the war years while being occupied with its reconstruction efforts. He said Lebanon has always believed in peace and respectedinternational resolutions while Israel has only violated all the previously signed peace agreements. The prime minister added Lebanon will continue defending its land and people and the reconstruction process will also keep on track. During the meeting, the Secretary general of the International Union of Architects engineer Vassilis Sgoutas described today's symposium as a hopeful event. Sgoutas added it was very pertinent to preserve the cultural identity of cities. He described cities as living organisms that need high-quality architectural and town-planning input at all levels.
Just like every Monday, Prime Minister Rafik Al-Hariri today held a series of meeting with Lebanese deputies. Discussions centered on the war-displaced file, the media law, and development projects in the country. The prime minister also discussed Sheikh Sobhi Toufaily's civil disobedience campaign with some deputies. The premier also received the Beirut representative of the International Red Cross in Lebanon Jean Jacques Fresard. After the meeting, Fresard said no progress was achieved in the negotiations concerning any possible swap of Israeli soldier remains from the failed Ansariyeh commando operation for Lebanese detainees in Israeli jails.
Former French foreign minister Herve De Charette left yesterday concluded his visit to Lebanon. Before leaving Beirut, De Charette said although regional peace had many enemies, the process had to continue. He added the Lebanese people need to be optimistic about the situation for there was no place for resignation in the Middle East peace process. During his stay, De Charette held meetings and discussions with Lebanese officials in a bid to be better informed on the situation in the region. His visit was also aimed at promoting his latest book, Lyautey, a biography of French Marshal Hubert Lyautey. De Charette also visited the Southern village of Qana yesterday to pay his respects at the cemetery were 107 civilians were massacred in an Israeli onslaught on April 18 last year. De Charette had also visited Syria on Saturday where he held discussions with President Hafez Al-Assad and vice president Abdel Halim Khaddam.
The United Nations Development Program office in Beirut brought together representatives from all UNDP offices in the region for a five-day meeting on gender mainstreaming. The meeting was aimed at strengthening the capacity of UNDP staff of interaction, public speaking skills, and communication abilities both between men and women. This might enable the UNDP staff to be better educated on the different ways of giving women a greater role in decision-making. The UNDP is now starting with its own staff to ensure they reflect the values of equality. The gender mainstreaming sessions have proven successful in European and African countries where issues addressed included working with women's groups and studying the different impact of planning decisions on men and women and the question of seclusion.
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