The five-nation cease-fire monitoring group convened today in Naqoura to look into two Lebanese complaints over alleged truce violations by Israel. On Saturday, Lebanon filed a complaint over Israeli bombs that injured a Lebanese shepherd and killed 35 of his animals at the northern edge of the zone Israel occupies in South Lebanon. Lebanon also lodged another complaint over Israeli shelling last Friday night and early Saturday of the village of Ain Bouswar in the Iqlim al-Touffah hills. Lebanese police reported no casualties in the attack but said four housed were damaged in the shelling. The panel monitors compliance with the 1996 April understanding which prohibits Israel and Hizbullah from targeting civilians or launching attacks to or from civilian areas.
Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri this afternoon held discussions with Syrian President Hafez Al-Assad in Damascus. Talks centered on regional developments and the situation in South Lebanon. Both leaders exchanged views on bilateral issues. They also discussed the outcome of Hariri's latest visit to Tehran and the importance of the summit of the Organization of the Islamic Conference to be held in Tehran next month. Hariri earlier held discussions with Syrian vice-president Abdel Halim Khaddam. The premier will leave to Hanoi on Thursday to attend a summit French-speaking countries where he is expected to meet French President Jacques Chirac and other world leaders. It is the first time the summit is being held in Asia.
The Iranian ambassador to Lebanon Hamayoun Ali Zada today held talks at Boustrous Palace with the foreign ministry's director general Zafer Al-Hassan. After the meeting, Ali Zada stressed the significance of the summit of the Organization of the Islamic Conference which will be held in Tehran next month. The Iranian ambassador said the summit would offer Arab and Islamic countries to exchange views on possible ways to enforce cooperation and boost bilateral ties. The Iranian official also voiced his view that the controversial middle east economic Doha summit would reflect negatively on the situation in the region.
The eighth Symposium of the Inter-Arab Railways Union this morning opened in Beirut. It will last for four more days. Under the patronage of Prime Minister Rafik Al-Hariri, the Symposium was opened by transportation minister Omar Miskawi. Miskawi stressed Lebanon's insistence on reviving its railway network. Among the participants in today's conference were president of the railway authority, Bassam Abdel Malak and international representatives of the railway sector in many countries of the world. Abdel Malak saw today's conference as another sign that the country restored its Arab role. He said the Symposium will pose "Future prospects for the railway activities at the threshold of the twenty first century?" as a major point of emphasis. Abdel-Malak pointed to the special situation of the Lebanese network adding the country has railway workers without having railways. He stressed the important role of trains in the field of communication, a role which is characterized by a dynamic harmony between the concept of the train and the concept of safe speed, the punctuality and the preservation of nature. President of the Inter-Arab Union for Hotels and Tourism Osmane Aidi pointed out the importance of the transport in general and the railway sector in particular in implementing good cooperation amongst Arab countries in the world. Aidi linked the development and promotion of Inter-Arab tourism with efficient transportation sectors especially the railway sectors which he said can play a very important role in the field of developing tourism amongst the Mediterranean countries.
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