News from Beirut December 9  1997 ...Search

Tehran summit opens today

Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei today opened the eighth Islamic summit in Tehran with a rallying call for the liberation of  Palestine and a fiery blast at the United States. Khamenei hailed the youth in Lebanon and Palestine for resisting Israel. At the sidelines of the summit, President Elias Al-Hrawi and prime minister Rafik Al-Hariri who arrived in Tehran yesterday held talks with the Iranian leadership and Iran's former president Hashemi Rafsangani later today. Iranian top officials voiced support to Lebanon's independence and sovereignty and to the right of the resistance in the South. Hrawi's expected speech in the summit will stress the implementation of international resolutions in the south basically UN resolution 425 which calls for the unconditional withdrawal of Israel from Lebanon. The Lebanese delegation was present in today's opening session during which Iranian president Mohammed Khatemi urged delegates representing the 55 countries of the Organization of the Islamic Conference to try to understand and be respectful of each other's views and tastes.

Monitoring group meets over Lebanese complaints

The five-nation cease-fire monitoring group today met in Naqoura to discuss two Lebanese complaints over the killing of three civilians and the expulsion of a family from the zone Israel occupies in the South. Lebanon accused Israel of placing the landmines which killed on Friday three Lebanese civilians and wounded a fourth near the village of Majdel Selem outside the zone Israel occupies in the South. The Lebanese delegate to the panel said the incident was a violation of the April 96 understanding in which both Israel and Hizbullah agreed to spare civilians when fighting in the South. The second compliant filed by Lebanon involved the expulsion of a Lebanese man and his family from the occupation zone on Saturday. Nabil Habib Baydoun and his family hold the US citizenship and are currently living in the zone. But the committee has repeatedly dropped Lebanese complaints over expulsions considering they were not covered by the terms of the accord.

Committees hold meetings in parliament

In parliament today, the justice and administration committee finalized studying the amendments on the draft municipal and mayoral election law. The session was headed by deputy Shaker Abu-Sleiman and attended by interior minister Michel Al-Murr. The committee decided appointments can only be made in the occupation zone. The committee also stressed any mayor or head of municipality could not run for parliamentary elections. In case any mayor of head of municipality decides to do so, he should resign from his post before two years. The committee also recommended no scientific degree was obligatory for mayors and heads of municipalities to take office. On Thursday, joint parliamentary committees are expected to meet in a session headed by House Speaker Nabih Berri. The draft law will then be ratified and transferred to parliament?s general committee. Sources in parliament say the general committee is expected to ratify the amendments on the draft law before the end of the year. Meanwhile, the budget and finance committee continued discussing the draft 1998 state budget. The committee headed by deputy Khalil Al-Hrawi decided to cut down the budget of the ministry of oil by 15%. Minister of oil Shahi Barsoumian was present in today's session. The committee was expected to study the budget allocated to the ministry of defense later today. Also in parliament, House Speaker Nabih Berri held talks with the UNDP Resident Coordinator in Lebanon Ross Mountain. He also met a judicial delegation and another delegation of the pharmacists syndicate.

Shamseddine discusses media ethical considerations

The head of the higher Shiite Council Sheikh Mohammed Mahdi Shamseddine today discussed the subject of media ethical considerations with a delegation of the committee in charge of handling the problem headed by Sheikh Taha Sabonji. The meeting was attended by a number of religious and media figures who presented Shamseddine with their different views on the subject. Shamseddine called on non-governmental international organizations to play a more active role in finding solutions to the problem of  immorality of Lebanese television stations. Shamseddine also denounced immorality displayed on Lebanon's cinema screens. The Shiite leader added what was shown on TV stations in Lebanon does not resemble the Lebanese society and culture. He also called on the Lebanese government to follow all those who break the audio-visual media law.

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