News from Beirut March 7  1997  .......Search


The file of the Japanese Red Army members is going in contrast with Japan's wish and request. The Japanese, demanding that five of the Red Army members be extradited to be tried in Japan were told, according to general prosecutor Adnan Addoum that the Lebanese judicial investigation is finished. The five members are charged by Lebanon's judiciary of forgering various passports and entry visas, imitating seals of the Lebanese state and other states, and of illegal residence in Lebanon also for hiding their real identities.

In the judicial term, their sentences would range between at least seven years and ten years maximum, in addition to hard labour prison and a penalty of half million L.L. General prosecutor Adnan Addoum said yesterday "we have no relation with the issue of their affiliation as Red Army members, neither we have relation with their political identity, whether they are or not members of that Army". He said we have persons that committed such crimes in Lebanon and they are going to be prosecuted for those charges only. He denied any agreement to hand them over after they serve the sentences here, adding "we do not make agreements with anybody on that, and there are in Lebanon legal and judicial measures one should  maintain". He declared yesterday saying that three Japanese detainees were released, after they proved holding valid passports and residence permits.

The decision by the judiciary here, which was totally in line with the laws in effect in Lebanon, came as an accurate translation of the political decision of Lebanon which apparently affirmatively rejects to hand them over to Japan, because no extradition agreement exists.

The case is closed judicially but still open politically, the Lebanese media said today. It also said that what will take place next is a prediction, namely if Japan insisted to extradite them, questioning what the counter measures it would take, in view of Lebanon definite decision to refuse handing them over.

In Damascus, the Japanese envoy Hiroshi Hirabayashi is due to leave today back to Japan, after he met president Assad march 5. Some agencies said the trial in Beirut came as a compromise. President Assad quoted saying, according to chief of  the Japanese prime minister's office, that an intervention by a third country will not be a good idea.

Lebanese media said Syria fully supports Lebanon's stand on not handing them, but the Syrian capital is dismayed of opening the file in such way, against the method which was practiced in Lebanon, the vagueness since the beginning, and the negative impacts of the file. Some media reports said the remarks given yesterday by the general prosecutor was a mercy bullet to the bargaining of Japan to obtain a Lebanese extradition approval.


President Elias Hrawi, at the opening of a book fair in Antelias yesterday, said our "real fight internally is to build the state of peace, that is state of institutions". He said the state is not a tent so that we share it's posts and gains, neither the public posts are places to put down the hopes of the people, but it is a responsibility of competing in honour to serve our citizens.

He said "I am with you against any violation to the law, any violation to the freedom and order, against any sectarian or personal favoritism. He added "don't believe that the dawn of the nation rise from the declarations, neither to believe that the opposition of some people, out of the authority , for what they had committed inside the authority, is a kind of democracy". He vowed he will devote the rest of his life for the sake of establishing a new mentality in the country".

On other hand, the Lebanese parliament finance and budget's committee discussed yesterday the new scales of salaries of the public sector employees. The proposed government scale was criticised because it is merely collection of the allowances merged in one salary, and not an increase of salary, also because it creates gaps and margins between the different salaries. The committee also criticised the government approach to the administrative issue, accusing it of attempting always to have extra powers in that sector. The head of the committee deputy Khalil Hrawi expects debating the proposed bill to take four sessions but observers think much more time is needed. Some parties had called to grant the public employees a salary increase of 20 percent, same as the private sector, in view of the hard financial situation among those employees, but the finance minister always reiterates that any increase should go in parallel with an adequate new financial resources.

France-Lebanon, Foreign Minister Visit

France foreign minister stop in Beirut yesterday, for around less than five hours, has been marked by a serious address he has made. Upon his departure at 11.00 night, sources who participated in his meetings in Beirut, quoted him saying, the peace process is on freeze and that freeze is dangerous with reflections on south Lebanon. It quoted him saying France is ready to exert efforts to narrow the gap between Syria and Israel in order to resume their peace talks. Minister de Charette came to Beirut to brief Lebanon's officials on the outcome of his visits to Israel and Syria. According to media reports Mr de Charette had proposed the "taking note" formula, to concile both views of Syria and Israel, but Israel's prime minister Netanyahu refused that concept which aims to find a way out of the present impasse. He was also quoted saying the resumption of talks between Syria and Israel won't take place before months because:  

1.The US stand is slow  

2. There is Uncertainty in Israel and preparation to elect new president of the Labour Party are underway

3.France has the endeavor not to go far to the extent of creating a problem with Israel, same as in last year's April, because there is no pressing situation now similar to last year.

He said the no progress in the peace diplomacy will lead to violence dynamism which is known to be self  fed. He told the Lebanese officials that the monitoring group is not a solution but it's a mean to protect the civilians and to cease the fire. De Charette held talks in Beirut with the foreign minister, president Hrawi, speaker Berri, prime minister Hariri, and checked during his visit the french helicopter carrier Jeane d'Arc.

Cardinal Sfair- Brazil

Cardinal Sfair, speaking to the Lebanese descent emigrants in Bello Orizonti, called them "not to believe those who say that Lebanon is over and it's independence page is turned forever and it's sovereignty has been lost. It is not true that Lebanon is crippled ", he went on.

News In Brief

- Prime minister Rafic Hariri held meetings in Beirut with former prime minister Selim Hoss and deputy Tammam Salam. Hoss declared he discussed neutralising the coming municipal elections in Beirut from the political stagnations, because it is an administration for the public service. He said his views with Mr Hariri were almost identical on that issue.

Hariri discussed with the Papal Nuncio the planned visit of the Pope. The Papal Nuncio said he discussed the preparations for the visit, for which no final schedule has been laid down yet, as it is up to a committee representing Lebanon and another representing the Catholic church to carry on.

- Speaker Nabih Berri, in an address to the Lebanese, Arabs, and friends, in the anniversary and commemoration of 14th March and 18th April, called for rising the voice high to resist the Israeli occupants and to implement the 425 and UN resolutions. He called the Lebanese to light candles on the 13th march night, churches to ring their bells, mosques to rise the Allaho Akbar appeal at 6.00 p.m, and to stick yellow ribbons and sign memos at Sassine and Abu Shahla squares, also to stop work at noon for 5 minutes. He called the Lebanese overseas to participate in the occasion and to hold social activities to demand implementation of the 425 resolution.

- Finance minister Fouad Seniora, speaking before the parliament finance and budget committee yesterday, proposed that salary increase for the public sector should be based on the net salary and not including the benefits and allowances, which for some employees, exceed four times their net salaries. The committee meeting was shared by various ranks of the state employees who aired their views and concepts on the new scales of salaries.

-Jordan banned agricultural imports from Lebanon as of March 5 in retaliation to a similar decision by Lebanon. The Jordanian side banned imports of citrus and apple while Lebanon banned imports of Jordanian agricultural products. Overnight contacts between two countries' officials succeeded to halt both decisions.

- Minister Walid Jumblat, in a tour in Aley region, called for electing the most qualified in the coming municipal elections and sametime to maintain the unity of the people, all within the framework of democracy and consensus.

- Lebanon foreign ministry S.G Zafer el Hassan met yesterday with member of  the German parliament foreign relations committee Heinrich Lunier, who expressed his country's support to the peace process in the region. He said he opposed the decision by Israel's prime minister to build the new settlement in east Jerusalem. He said the German decision to take back the toxic wastes containers from Lebanon is being taken but time is not fixed yet, because of technical obstacles.

- President Elias Hrawi is reported to favour the separation between membership of municipal councils and parliament, in order to give more chances to new generation and new figures. Speaker Nabih Berri stand is similar to the president, and see that a deputy should devote himself to legislation. Prime minister Hariri is on the opposite side, saying a deputy has right to be head or member of a municipal council, because that is practiced in France and elsewhere.

- Lebanese politicians, clerics and parties cabled president Assad congratulating the 8th March reformation movement's anniversary.

- Looking for steady financial resources for funding the repatriation of the displaced is still under discussion. Hariri promised to ensure the funding this year.

- As the municipal elections is nearing and the deadline to obtain election cards is short, the Lebanese media reports see certain carelessness.

- The SLA militia is reported to have arrested one of it's recruits. The Israeli occupant force said to have annexed more Lebanese land by expanding a border fence along the villages close to the border strip. 27 Lebanese relatives of prisoners at Khiam, with the assistance of the ICRC, visited their sons and parents .

- The LBC television station, in a legal suite against Tele Liban, demanded that the latter not to be exempted from the fees of broadcasting by satellites, in view of the damage it will cause to the private station LBC.

- The French helicopter carrier Jeanne d'arc, in second visit to Lebanon, together with the frigate Germinale arrived in a friendly visit to Beirut. 149 cadet-officer are on board including two Lebanese. The visit to Beirut is a part of a world tour which will take it to 13 different countries.

- The Lebanese Ali Mohammed Hussein, born in 1862, according to a Lebanese official identity card, would be the world's eldest aged person on earth, with 13 years elder from the famous French woman, who recently celebrated her 122nd birthday.


-T he Hikmeh defeated Shabab Sahel with 2-1 at the  Burj Hammoud stadium. The Hikmeh club now guaranteed maintaining it's rank among first rank soccer teams.

- Today the Homenmen will play with Akhaa-Aley at Burj Hammoud and Riyada wal Adab will play with the Homentmen. The Homenmen now is on the 4th rank with 41 points, two points less than the Homentmen the third on the list.

- The Akhaa-Aley is on the 6th rank and winning today's match will put it equal to the Safaa the fifth.

- Three basketball matches will be played today at the end of the 7th stage of Lebanon championship for first rank clubs.The Mont La Salle will play with Antranik. Riyadi will play with Kahraba, and Shabab Ghobeiri will play with Anibale-Zahle.

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