News from Beirut April 23 1997 ...Search


The session yesterday was the first in three weeks time since 26th March . News reports today said extending the parliament term 8 more months additional to the four years term, was beyond all expectations. The Constitutional Council, now preoccupied with the resignation of its head jurist Wajdi Mallat, had earlier ruled out the extension of the parliament term because "it breaches the general rule and the parliamentary tradition, also it is unjustified as an exception". The justification was that the extension averts holding parliament elections in the summer season. The government advocates this decision saying all elections should be held in spring not summer.

- Extending the term in office of the municipal and mayoral councils to approximately 30th April next year, was another government decision. Information minister Sabbaa said no date was fixed yet for the municipal elections, and it will be fixed after the interior minister lay down relevant draft bills.

- President Elias Hrawi said during the session he is obliged to defend the constitution and the presidency post, wishing that withdraw of any draft bill in future should not take place unless all the council of ministers agree to that and a presidential decree is issued. Prime minister Hariri noted the row that had followed the withdrew of the draft bill, praising the president and the presidency, saying both enjoy regard and respect from all Lebanese including him and the ministers. Hariri said president Hrawi wishes are not questionable and there is no intention at all to breach the constitutional frameworks and the powers stipulated in the constitution for both the president and the prime minister. News reports said the session has settled and sorted out, officially and publicly, the row and the political bickering. It said P.Hrawi and prime minister Hariri traded applaud to each other, reminding by that the troika rule system. The reports said appointments that included housing, seaport, and electricity administrations, satisfied the three partners, even in the absence of  speaker Nabih Berri.

- News reports described the decisions as a "reproduced Troika rule which has awakened on an understanding forgetting all what had occurred in the past". "It is almost magic as the government regained surprisingly and swiftly its unity, with everyone of the three partners having his share, splitting what is left of the state posts and senior ranks".

News In Brief

-The GLC present leadership under Elias Abu Rizk argued the labour ministry legal right to supervise the upcoming election of the GLC executive committee on 24th April. The GLC said the ministry right is exclusively to attend the election, while the ministry is affirmative it has the right to supervise the poll and furthermore the measures related to it. The GLC said all members of the Int Union of the Arab Labours Syndicates are going to attend the poll, while the World Labour Organisation WLO S.G Michel Hans cabled president Hrawi asking Lebanon to notify the WLO on all the measures taken to ensure nonintervention in the elections. Defense minister Mohsen Dalloul announced a decision halting arms carrying licensing on 24th April until morning 25th for safety and security. Prime minister Rafic Hariri received Antoine Beshara, a rival of the GLC leader Abu Rizk, at a time observers see that the labour movement is now turned to a political issue. Observers are aware that the political authority would have the momentum to expand its control on parties and syndical unions.

- Cardinal Sfair, speaking to a visiting delegation representing the Christian independent gathering, said the "state is ours and should be backed with all our available means of support". He urged the gathering to work from within the state, also to get ready to the Pope's visit, which hopefully will be for the good of Lebanon. Cardinal Sfair received MP Shaker Abu Sleiman, Mp Abdou Bejjani, former ambassadors and UK embassy staff member.

- Gen. Michel Aoun, in a fax dispatched from Paris in the 6th anniversary of  the "Gathering for Lebanon in France", attended by crowds of loyals and Gen. Aoun himself, hailed the momentum of the Lebanese youths to preserve the Lebanese fate. He regarded the gathering's work as an example of the collective work for a free, sovereign, and independent Lebanon. He refered to acts by the occupant forces, aimed to black out the Lebanese heritage, putting emphasis on the civilisation message of Lebanon as a centre for Mediterranean cultures. He recalled the democratic principles on which Lebanon was built, also called for preserving the plurality which is regarded in itself enriching one Lebanon. He called the Lebanese people to continue rejecting the de facto .

- France departing ambassador Jean Pierre Lafond received the new arriving ambassador Daniel Joineaux at Beirut airport. The former ambassador will leave today to Paris. He paid farewell visits yesterday to P.Hrawi and was hosted at launch in by prime minister Hariri .

Speaker Nabih Berri hosted in his honour Monday evening at a reception held in his residence. Head of the St Joseph university Selim Ebbou and the staff  hosted the ambassador Monday at launch.

- Egyptian comedy star Adel Imam, now in Beirut to perform his new comedy play Azaim, visited Qana cemetery yesterday accompanied by his colleagues and crowds of people. He was received by Mp Ali Khreis, Qaim Maqam Tyre, head of the martyrs committee, and others. He said the martyrs are witnessing the Israeli barbarism, calling Egypt, Lebanon, and all Arab states for unity to make victory.

- French ambassador in Lebanon, before his departure following three years service, decorated Mrs Fairouz a French medal in name of president Jacques Chirac. It is second French decoration to Fairouz. Earlier France culture minister Jacques Langue granted her, in name of president Francois Mitterand, the medal of culture. Comments in Beirut said Fairouz is the loved one for both the right and left.

- President Elias Hrawi, presiding yesterday celebration on the 100 year jubilee of Dbayeh water factory, equalled the water importance with the importance of the country itself. He said "who gives up a drop of water is dropping the whole country. Our water is sacred. Our need is more than the available resources. Who speaks over a water surplus in Lebanon know nothing about our real needs. Kesrouan and major parts of Metn would face shortage of water if the Shabrouh dam is not constructed. If we could have saved the wasted rivers water we could have provided potable water to all regions and produced electricity. We should mention the great quantity of wasted water of the Litani river which goes to the sea. They speak over water projects in the M.E in parallel with the peace project but we can't preoccupy ourselves with such imaginative projects".

- Raymond Edde, in cable to the director general of Beirut water administration Rizk Frayha, said he is "sorry for not being able to attend the 100 year jubilee of the Dbayeh factory, because it is unacceptable to me to be received at Beirut airport with Syrian flags and photos"." However, I congratulate you for all you have done to secure clean potable water, especially to Beirut residents, also congratulating you for the agreement between Dbayeh and water administration in Canada during your visit. You are an ideal employee", Edde cable said. Edde cable added that "what is more important than Dbayeh is that the state decides to pull Litani water, which goes to the sea, wasted, and estimated by 300mn m2 yearly, to Beirut, by that it is drawing limits to Israel which is eager to have this water".

-The National Gathering under Douri Chamoun denounced yesterday the state authority intervention in the GLC election. The gathering "observed that the state ruling people had made the highest ever record in breaching the democratic rules in a short period of time ". The gathering welcomed the Pope visit, following the announcement of the official schedule, as a witness for truth and right, a messenger of peace, and a defender of freedom and human rights.

- Preparations are already underway in Lebanon prior to his pontiff visit. Balloons with Pope photo, T.shirts, photos, and Vatican flags appear now in Lebanon main streets.

- Lebanon foreign ministry S.G Zafer el Hassan issued a statement yesterday saying the ministry continue its contacts over the emigrants in Zaire towns including the capital Kinshasa, in order to be sure of their living conditions and to work for their evacuation. The statement said the latest reports informed that all Lebanese are well and no personal damages had been inflicted. The ministry added that there are ongoing contacts between delegates representing the emigrants in Zaire and the de facto authority aimed to reach an understanding that allows whoever wish to evacuate.

These contacts has made remarkable progress and those wishing to leave would do so in hours, also the coordination between the emigrants and the Lebanese missions in Kinshasa and Johansburg are still on. The statement also said that there is a chartered plane in Johansburg, ready to take off to evacuate the Lebanese who are still in Mbuji-May and Lumumbashi, once the contacts on the evacuation are completed. The Lebanese charge d'affaire in Kinshasa in a phone call yesterday reported that the situation is acceptable there and he is in contact with the Lebanese who are still there, also he is in contact with the embassies of USA, France, and Belgium upon the ministry instructions.

- The Internatioanal Media Seminar in Solidarity with Lebanon, now held in Beirut in the first commemoration of Qana, called for an Arab information pact, instead of occasional and frequent information moves.

- Lebanon's Journalists Association headed by Melhem Karam staged a sit in protest at Sidon sea castle yesterday in protest of their harassment during GLC provincial election in Sidon on 13th April. Karam said "it is not allowed to have a Qana like massacre against the journalists in Lebanon".

- Beirut military tribunal asked death sentence for state security officer Ela Mohamed Raad for shooting and killing Farid Mousolli, who was chased for forging stamps and committing embezzlements in the finance ministry. The officer was charged of violating orders. Another officer of the same agency Col.Jean Akel was also charged of violating orders too.

- Palestinian Groups Coalition in Lebanon asked Lebanon's government to review its decision imposing entry and exit visa on all the Palestinians, resident of Lebanon since 1948, after Libya closed the camp of return along its borders with Egypt. Lebanon always claimed the visa decision for the 1948 resident Palestinians in Lebanon was taken in precaution of the Libyan decision and to avoid another influx of Palestinian refugees.

Sports Round Up

-Lebanon Football Federation decided yesterday to hold a friendly football game between the national team and Libyan counterpart on Sunday at Burj Hammoud stadium. The federation also decided to offer L.L 500 thousand   reward for each player of the national team, the future team. Also it decided to hold a 27 day preparatory campus for the Lebanon Future team in Brazil as of 12th June, in line with the framework of the year 2000 rebuilding process.

- Hikmeh defeated Anibale -Zahle 104-82 in the Lebanon basketball cup for 1997.

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