News from Beirut November 17  1997 ...Search

Israeli planes hit the South

Israeli warplanes today raided suspected Hizbullah targets in South Lebanon. Lebanese police said an Israeli fighter-bomber fired two air-to-ground missiles on the Hizbullah position in the Iqlim al-Touffah hills just north of the zone Israel occupies in the South. There were no immediate reports of casualties. The attack brought to 78 the number of Israeli raids on Lebanon since the beginning of this year. The last Israeli attack on the same area was on November 7. Israeli planes also flew over the Southern city of Sidon and the capital later today.

Kuwait's deputy prime minister arrives in Beirut tonight

This evening, Kuwait's deputy prime minister and foreign minister Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah arrives in Beirut. Upon his arrival, he is scheduled to hold talks with Foreign minister Faris Boueiz at Boustrous Palace. During his visit, the Kuwait deputy prime minister is also expected to hold meetings with high-ranking Lebanese officials. Discussions will center on bilateral ties and recent developments in the Persian Gulf. Tomorrow, al-Sabah will meet President Elias Al-Hrawi at Baabda. He is expected to hand the president a letter from the Kuwaiti prince Jaber al-Ahmad al-Sabah. A diplomatic source said the letter includes an explanation of Kuwait's stance regarding the Iraqi-US crisis over UN arms inspections in Iraq. It will also include another explanation of Kuwait's decision to take part in the Mideast economic Doha summit. The Kuwaiti deputy prime minister will also hold talks with House Speaker Nabih Berri and Prime Minister Rafik Al-Hariri later tomorrow. He will leave Beirut on Wednesday morning.

Hrawi receives letter from Chirac

President Elias Al-Hrawi today held talks with the French ambassador to Lebanon Daniel Jouaneau at the presidential palace in Baabda. Jouaneau handed the president a letter from his French counterpart, Jacques Chirac.

Chirac congratulated Hrawi on the occasion of Lebanon's independence day which falls on Saturday. In his letter, Chirac also reiterated France's support for Lebanon, its independence, sovereignty and reconstruction drive. Chirac also stressed his country's insistence on boosting and deepening bilateral friendship and cooperation ties. The French president is expected in Beirut soon to inaugurate the opening of a new building for the French embassy.

The president also held talks with the head of the finance and budget parliamentary committee deputy Khalil Al-Hrawi. Discussions centered on possible ways to cut on government spending.

Hariri holds meetings with deputies

Just like every parliamentary Monday, prime minister Rafik Al-Hariri today held meetings with deputies at the government palace. Talks mainly centered on the 1998-sate budget and the pay scales draft law. Hariri also held discussions with interior minister Michel AL-Murr, environment minister Akram Shhayyeb, tourism minister Nicola Fattoush, information minister Bassem Al-Sabeh and agriculture minister Shawki Fakhouri. Fakhouri later told reporters the economic situation in Lebanon is very sensitive. He suggested limiting government spending as a possible solution.

In another development, cabinet is expected to meet in the government palace on Wednesday. Talks are expected to center on next year's state budget and the public sector pay scales draft law.

Teachers' association to stage a warning strike

The teachers' association in Lebanon yesterday issued a statement calling for on all teachers to stage a warning strike on December 3 unless they were paid a range of benefit allowances owed to them. The executive council of the association called on the government to approve the public sector pay scales draft law which has been already approved by parliamentary committees last week. The association hoped the new salary scales were not subjected to financial excuses adding the association will fight for the teachers' rights to receive 100% compensation unless teachers in private schools were given the same allowances as those working in public schools.

Politicians celebrate 27th anniversary of Syria's correctional movement

During a celebration held at the Beau Rivage hotel in the Jnah area yesterday, south of Beirut, Syrian President Hafez Al-Assad's achievements were hailed marking the 27th anniversary of Syria's correctional movement.

Politicians and party leaders gathered at the event welcoming the movement's effects on the Arab world and Syria's support to Lebanon and its active role on restoring peace and stability in the country. House Speaker Nabih Berri reiterated Lebanon's belief in the unity of the Lebanese-Syrian track. Hizbullah's secretary general, Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah praised Syria's support for the resistance movement in its struggle to fight the Israeli occupation of South Lebanon.

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