News from Beirut November 19  1997 ...Search

Cabinet meets this evening at the government palace

Cabinet held an ordinary session this evening at the government palace. 35 clauses will top the agenda of talks. Ministers are expected to discuss a loan agreement between Lebanon and the Arab fund for Economic and Social Development. The loan will provide funds for the Lebanese University expansion program. Other issues concerning administrative reform, electricity and water resources will also be discussed.

Hariri opens workshop for administrative reform

At the Commodore Hotel in Beirut, Prime Minister Rafik Al-Hariri today opened a workshop on corruption and ways to counter it. The workshop was organized by the ministry of administrative reform. But prime minister Rafik Al-Hariri suggested the title of the workshop be changed from corruption to waste and deficit adding Lebanon's economic and social well-being heavily depends on administrative reform. Hariri explained the problems of the Lebanese administration as follows: the political system, the sectarian system of administrations, and the non-activation of government control agencies. Hariri hoped the Lebanese youth would try to change the defects of the system and reconstruct their country in order to ensure that the public good is met. The premier stressed that during the past five years, Lebanon witnessed important progress and made great accomplishments. He referred to the 400-million dollar loan which was signed by Lebanon during the Hong Kong and International Bourse crisis as an indicator of the international trust in our country. Thus, Hariri called for a more flexible administrative system whereby more human resources are employed and old ones modernized and rehabilitated.

Minister of Administrative Reform Bshara Merhej whose ministry organized the workshop was also among today's speakers. Merhej explained the realities of the administrative system and suggested ways of improving it. Acting Finance Minister of State Fouad Sanyoura also stressed the only solution to the problem of corruption was in the rehabilitation of all administrative systems and institutions in the country.

Azerbaijani Foreign Minister arrives in Lebanon

Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Hassan Hassanov today arrived to Lebanon with a message from his president for the Lebanese president Elias Al-Hrawi.Hassanov, who came here after a three-day official visit to Syria, was expected  to meet House Speaker Nabih Berri tonight and hold talks with senior Lebanese civil servants and industrial figures. He is scheduled to meet tomorrow morning with Foreign Minister Faris Bouiez to sign a cooperation protocol between their foreign ministries. Hassanov will also meet Hrawi and Prime minister Rafik Al-Hariri before continuing his regional tour by heading to Dubai.

Lebanon celebrates the Launch of the Manpower and Labor Survey

In an address to Labor Minister Assaad Hardan and the Directorate general of the National Employment Office, UN Resident coordinator and UNDP Resident representative, Mr. Ross Mountain issued a statement on the occasion of the Launch of the Manpower and Labor Survey. The survey says that unemployment has risen in the Middle East and North Africa region. Unemployment certainly affect production, income, and living standards. It affects individuals, families and societies at large. Mountain said unemployment has become a serious problem in many of the Arab countries.

It is further intensified, Mountain added, because the percentage of the Labor force to total population is lowest in Arab countries (28%) as compared to other regions of the world. The survey asserted that in general, unemployment is highest among youth, single, and those with low educational backgrounds. The data made available in the study should serve as important inputs for refining policy directions in areas such as vocational training, higher education, and linking the supply and demand for labor in the Lebanese market. Today, the first employment office in Beirut was established by the National Employment Office as an immediate follow up to this study. Mountain concluded as saying the UNDP will support the Ministry of Labor in the development strategy for employment promotion .

Allied-Israeli militiaman wounded in South Lebanon

An allied-Israeli militiamen was lightly wounded this morning when a roadside bomb planted by Hizbullah guerrillas went off near a patrol of the militia in the South. A militia security source said the blast occurred on the way to al-Mashnaqah outpost of the militia in the Jezzine area.

Hizbullah claimed responsibility for the bomb that brought to 54 the number of allied militiamen wounded since the beginning of this year.

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