News from Beirut June 10  1997 ...Search

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Lebanon's government extra session today which started 6.00 p.m is discussing an agricultural plan proposed by the agriculture minister. The plan aims to develop, generate, and place the sector as top priority. Agriculture minister Shawki Fakhoury said the government either to endorse a general guideline or take precise decisions on the sector. He also said that the government is before two options either a total ban of agriculture products or implementing an adequate agriculture calendar, allowing some imports for specific needs but under high custom charges.

-The French ambassador in Lebanon said his country, in coordination with other European countries, reached a comprehension to abstain voting at the UN.

-Some 450 Lebanese people in Brazaville in Congo are preparing to evacuate. They are concentrating in three posts. 150 are to be airlifted via Ouksour in Egypt on board of a Congolese plane. Street fighting is reported in Brazaville, especially around the airport. The French are trying to help evacuation of all foreigners.

-President Elias Hrawi received today a message from his Sudanese counterpart explaining the agreement reached recently between Sudan and the rival groups in south Sudan.

-Interior minister Michel Murr said after a meeting with prime minister today that the high tone of the "revolt of the starved" has been lowered down after the government show firm stand on maintaining order and security.

-Ambassadors of Japan in the M.E are to hold their conference in Beirut as of 20th June. Ambassador of Japan said the conference in Beirut has nothing to do with the Japanese Red Army Five's trial.

US State Department- Fining Israel

US state department spokesman's clarifications that assured US backing to the UNIFIL peacekeeping force in south Lebanon was not satisfactory to Beirut, news comments said today. Lebanon foreign minister Fares Boueiz said his government is waiting clarifications through diplomatic channels that responds to Lebanon's questions on the true stand of the USA. He refrained to spell out whether the US ambassador in Beirut will be summoned to the foreign ministry. Boueiz said any pressure on Lebanon to withdraw the UN draft resolution would be "pounding to the UN's role". Boueiz said his government sticks to the draft resolution for the sake of maintaining UN's role, credibility of Lebanon, and those who supported it. The political Impacts of the US stand at the UN, were not only on the UNIFIL, but also on the ceasefire monitoring committee. Boueiz harshly criticised the panel, and described its statement issued June 9, as "hypocracy". He said the committee has diversion in its views. The monitoring committee took neutral stand toward two complaints by both Israel and Lebanon over blasts explosions in and out of the security zone. The committee reassured the importance of the full commitment to April's understanding, and urged the parties to avert all activities that might lead to further tension.

Japanese Red Army Five-Trial

The start of Japanese Red Army Five trial in Beirut was characterized by local and foreign press interest which is unprecedented here, also it was a heated up court session. The Five shouted anti Imperialist and anti zionist slogans, while people show momentum, and outnumbered lawyers volunteering to defend their case. The "hero" of the Lod operation Kozo Okamoto, as he is described by some reports, was surprisingly showing a mental disease symptoms. The main suspect Masao Adachi claimed that the Japanese embassy first secretary Samochio Sai is a Japanese police unit's official which is chasing the Red Army. He made a link between the Japanese police official and the Lebanese state security. The five men stated that the Lebanese state security agency asked them to use nicknames in signing the investigation report, in order to overshadow their affiliation to red Army. They said it was upon the request of Col. Ali Makki and officers in his office. They admitted their affiliation to the Red Army, the use of fake passports, but denied they forged it by themselves. The trial was postponed until June 16.

Lebanon Government- Ordinary and Extra Sessions

Lebanon government's extra session today at Baabda palace is to discuss and examine a working paper laid down by agriculture minister Shawki Fakhoury on supporting and protecting the sector, also plans on substitute cultivations.The minister is to propose ban of agricultural products' imports as of early October. Another ordinary session tomorrow is expected to discuss 43 items. The establishment of a national company to carry on the Arab highway, circular highway around Beirut, and the Northern outlet of Beirut, is on top of the agenda.

News In Brief

- Patriarch Sfair told a delegation from the town of Kahale  that he hopes the Arab highway gets implemented but without harming the people's of Kahale.

-Israeli court ordered that two Lebanese brothers from the Kfarkila border village be deported out of the security zone in south for collaborating with an enemy group. The two brothers were detained last month for possessing two pistols and one hunting rifle.

-Israeli warplanes extensively flew over Nabatieh and Iqlim Toffah staging mock raids. The Israeli artillery fired shells at Arnoun and Kfarruman villages outskirts causing some fires.

- Lebanon is to participate in the 7th conference on world civil navigation which is going to be held in Washington . The conference is held under the auspices of the USA  F.A.A. administration.

-The state Shura council asked the interior ministry to provide it with all files and applications of those naturalised in accordance with decree number 5247 on June 20. 1994. The decree is challenged by the Maronite League which said none of the 200,000 naturalised people were investigated as the decree stipulated. The League demand that the decree be nullified if it is proved that no investigations were held.

-The displaced central fund now is to show generosity in Tripoli. The fund is going to pay $4.5mn to some 450 families in north Lebanon Ras Sakhre area in Tripoli. The amount is to compensate their eviction which will pave the way for a new highway passing through.

-World Bank chairman James Woolfensosn ended his 20 hours short visit to Beirut, after a visit to damascus, and left Beirut to Rome aboard the prime minister's private jet. He said the bank responds to government's request but know nothing where the money is spent.

-Contrary to earlier reports saying the two rival factions of the GLC may sort out their differences, the two factions seems to stick to their earlier stands. The Zoghbi faction of the GLC persisted that repeating the GLC election is out of question. Abu Rizk faction said if the court ruled nullification of the last elections, new elections would only include 22 and not 27 unions.

-Lebanon Journalists Association is to meet extraordinarily Wednesday to discuss press articles that the information minister considered harming the brotherly relations with Saudi Arabia.

-Lebanon's interior minister Michel Murr, addressing the Internal Security Forces celebration of 136th anniversary, said the ISF will confront those who use the social hardships, which is a result of the regional crisis, to issue threats against the state and citizen's security.

-The PSP party under minister Walid Jumblat said the one electorate for all Lebanon as proposed requires a proportional system and abolishment of political confessionalism.

-North MP Maurice Fadel said he reconsidered resigning his parliament seat on June 10 upon wishes of his supporters and the prime minister. Fadel had earlier announced he would resign if state services to north Lebanon were not enhanced.

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