News from Beirut November 22 1997 ...Search

Independence Day, Prospects and Aspirations

The traditional military parade in the national independence day took place today at Fouad Awal main street in Beirut. Symbolic units from all the army divisions and forces marched today in front of the audience. The three presidents observed the parade together with massive crowds of politicians, diplomatic missions, religious figures and dignitaries, and a high rank Syrian delegation. The most recent army unit that demonstrated today in the parade was the unit of sea commandos which is under direct command of the army command. Units of the ISF, state security, general security and custom participated in the parade. President Elias Hrawi, the house speaker and prime minister received congratulations and celebrated the occasion afterwards by cutting special cake.

-President Elias Hrawi in an address to the Lebanese people in the occasion put emphasis on respecting the institutionality of the public administration, regenerating social solidarity and to make a root review of the structure of the administration. He said the country does not need an administration that is duplicate of the political game, but an administration that embodies the role of the state and does not cover up corruption. He called for resolving the hard economical situation and to lay down rapidly foundations of such solution, noting that the state budget and the social burdens cannot be resolved by other than committing to an allover reform plan. President Hrawi said the independence is not only liberating ourselves from the foreign overwhelm but it is completed by reaching a one united and strong state. He addressed the military saying unity of the army institution succeeded to maintain security and stability and carried all the missions assigned to it.

-Lebanon's president received cables of congratulations in the occasion. Russian president Yeltsin's cable said efforts are going on to achieve a comprehensive and just settlement in the M.E. Egyptian president Hosni Mobarak wished prosperity and development of Lebanon. Morocco's monarch King Hassan said he admired the large steps ahead for the reconstruction of  Lebanon. Prince of Kuwait said in his cable he is confident that Lebanon will go on in its steps toward development and prosperity. More cables were sent by Algerian president, king of Spain, Emperor of Japan, president of Yugoslavia and many other heads of states.

-President Bill Clinton cable to president Hrawi, handed today by US ambassador Richard Jones, expressed US support to Lebanon's independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity. Clinton praised Lebanon's reconstruction, national conciliation and also democracy. He hoped the country will be able to hold presidential and municipal elections in the coming year.

-Festivities in the occasion included schools and universities allover the country where students celebrated the occasion raising the national flag. Speakers emphasized on consolidating the independence and liberating the land.

-Military celebrations in the occasion took place in various areas of Lebanon. Commanders in the various regions read order of the day inside the army barracks and paid tribute to unknown soldier graves.

Economy and Finance

-President Elias Hrawi is to preside today's evening a meeting with premier Rafic Hariri and house speaker Nabih Berri to review concepts and suggestions aimed to resolve the economical and financial problems. The prime minister and the house speaker have earlier held series of meetings to lay down specific proposals on the economical crisis. The government and parliament dialogue committee is to adopt today the final draft of proposals aimed to resolve the crisis. The house speaker is to discuss later the draft plan with opposition groups and parliament blocs.

-The final statement of the Catholic Patriarchs and Bishops' council in its 5th session warned yesterday of the social crisis burdens that are suffered by the citizens. The statement pointed out that Lebanon is facing a confessional and sectarian euphoria that dominates the public administration and public projects. It said the citizens are also suffering of what threaten the country in its foundation including freeze of the displaced repatriation, the behind curtains work to implant the Palestinians, giving land property to non Lebanese, and the naturalization that strikes at the demographical  balance and national loyalty. The council's statement referred to the huge internal and external debts, the waste of public money, the errors and abuse of the tax system, also the undermine of law institutions and malpractice of the constitution. The council also referred to the malpractice of the political authority using it for personal purpose and the ignorance of the state officials toward the breach of the citizens basic rights.


-Prime minister Rafic Hariri today left to Saudi Arabia after the independence day festivities in a private visit.

-Former prime minister Selim Hoss said the troika rule system is a signal on the absence of democracy where the council of ministers is represented by the premier and the parliament is represented by the speaker. Hoss said if the three presidents under the troika system agreed to a certain point, whatever it is, then it is irreversible. He argued where is democracy since we are not allowed to remove the cabinet even if it fails. He said the cabinet has lately noticed that corruption is existing and that supervision is not exercised after it has reiterated for long time that things are going well. Hoss also said that there is too much freedom in Lebanon which is too close to chaos, but there is little of the real democracy that is too close to total lack.

-Kataeb party leadership in the 61st anniversary of the party foundation and the 54th independence day paid tribute visits to the party founders including graves of the founder late Pierre Gemayel, Maurice Gemayel, Beshir Gemayel, George Omeira, Joseph Shader and Joseph Saadeh.

-Sheikh Subhi Tufeili, on Friday's sermon at the mosque along the airport road, said the Lebanese political authority is criminal and has not any justification to remain in power as it uses the force to impose its power. He accused son of president Hrawi of storing gasoline for four months and now demands increase of the price by L.L 5,000 in order to make profit. Tufeili said deployment of the army in Baalbeck-Hermel will not frighten him and he will go on.

-The Lebanese Muslims religious leaders on their Friday sermons emphasized on the meaning of national independence and said the resistance against Israel is one of the fortresses of the independence. They called upon the officials to deal with the social and living conditions problems.

-Israeli warplanes staged mock raids over Nabatieh and Iqlim Toffah and fired artillery shells against Iqlim Toffah. The Islamic resistance said its men attacked an Israeli force near Hadatha and directly hit the force.

-The judicial council fixed 5th Dec. as date to proceed with the assassination case of late Rachid Karami. The investigating judge has asked death penalty to Samir Geagea and 15 others of the Lebanese Forces including Brig. Khalil Mattar. Karami was assasinated while on board of an army helicopter.

-The state prosecutor Adnan Addoum started his investigations over a package deal between the national airliner MEA and Singapore airlines which hired 5 airbus used planes to the Lebanese carrier company. The state prosecutor is investigating any fraud.

-Melhem Karam, in a unanimous vote of 97 per cent of over than 800 press editors in Lebanon, won once again the presidency of the Lebanese press editors union. Karam received cables of congratulations from top officials and dignitaries.

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