News from Beirut June 16  1997 ...Search


Lebanon's president Elias Hrawi and his Syrian counterpart Hafez Assad phone call on Saturday said to have set the ground of a coming summit. Prime minister Hariri who has held three hour talks on Saturday with president Assad, and further talks with vice president Abdel Halim Khaddam, denied that his meeting with president Assad "is a new backing to his government". He was quoted saying the meeting was an opportunity to discuss the latest developments, including his last recent visit to Saudi Arabia where he met King Fahd and senior Saudi officials. Hariri, who spent so far 54 months in power, quoted " If someone release me of the job I'll be thankful to him". Observers say such release of the post of the prime minister for Hariri is not under discussion neither locally, nor in Syria, nor regionally.

Syrian vice president Abdel Halim Khaddam, in a press interview with the Syrian official news agency SANA, accused all those who demand withdrawal of the Syrian forces from Lebanon of "wanting to blow at the national unity and resume civil war". He assured that the decision to pull out the Syrian forces is linked to "the Lebanese state's decision". Mr. Khaddam reiterated that "Without the Syrian intervention in 1976, the state of war would have been going on until now". He said the war was not between Palestinians and Lebanese, or between Muslims and Christians, but it was spread over to every quarter in Lebanon. He refered to wars that had erupted inside communities and parties.

Roger Tamraz case, Detained in Georgia, Would be Extradited.

The Lebanese origin and US naturalized citizen fugitive businessman Roger Tamraz has been detained in the Soviet former republic of Georgia. News reports did not mention when he was detained. Lebanon's state prosecutor Adnan Addoum said the Georgian authorities informed Lebanon on Saturday of his arrest, and asked the Lebanese judiciary , a photocopy of the international arrest warrant issued against him, as well as summary of all Lebanese court rulings. All these documents have been sent via the INTERPOL. A Lebanese security team is to travel to Georgia in the next two days to press extradition. Tamraz had been charged of embezzling $200mn from the Intra Investment Bank in Lebanon, visiting Israel and collaborating with an enemy, in addition to another law case against him by Casino du Liban. The 57 year old businessman who served as an economical adviser of former president Amin Gemayel was living in N.Y.

Lebanon's request for his extradition have gone unanswered. Tamraz has been recently involved in a controversial improper donations to the Democratic party and of contributing to president Bill Clinton's election campaign. Tamraz was working on a pipeline from Caspian Sea through former Soviet Republics and Turkey to the Mediterranean. He was invited to the White House at least four times.

-Fresh news this morning said an official in the US consulate in Teblissi, capital of Georgia, visited Roger Tamraz who was detained Friday. The embassy's official said the visit is a routine measure since Tamraz is holding American nationality. He said the Americans have no reason to cast doubt on the Georgian move, though they did not read the request to extradite by Lebanon. Tamraz had always denied the charges and said it were politically motivated. His oil pipeline could not been installed without approval of the two warring states Armenian and Azerbijan.

Hrawi- UN Resolution On Qana Damage

President Elias Hrawi highlighted the "moral value" of the UN general assembly's resolution to fine Israel with $1.7mn for bombarding the UNIFIL campus in Qana last year. President Hrawi said Lebanon did not consider the amount but the consideration was to the 127 state member which condemned Israel's stand.

Lebanon foreign minister Fares Boueiz described the UN general assembly's resolution as a victory to all countries. He assured that Lebanon will boycott the economic conference in Doha -Qatar. Boueiz has denounced US parliament nonbinding decision to recognise Jerusalem as the united capital of Israel. He said the recognition is a severe blow to the M.E. peace.


Prime minister of Malaysia Mahateer Mohammed is due to arrive 5.00 p.m today to Beirut airport in a three day official visit accompanied by ministers, investors and businessmen. The visit is upon an invitation extended to him by his Lebanese counterpart Rafic Hariri during his visit to Kuala Lumpur in 1995. Malaysian exports to Lebanon stands presently at $35mn. Mr. Hariri is an admirer of Malaysian experience in building a solid economy.

Evening News

- House speaker Nabih Berri and his deputy Elie Firzli had launch today at Anjar with Dr. Bashar Assad.

-State prosecutor Adnan Addoum said Roger Tamraz is a Lebanese in Lebanon's judiciary view, not American, and a temporary nationality later to his original nationality is not binding. Addoum said extradition documents are finalized and refered to justice minister who send it to Georgia. He stated that there is no extradition treaty with Georgia, and perhaps no diplomatic relation, but the extradition is requested from international cooperation framework . Asked about Tamraz threat to reveal secrets that deal with state senior officials, Addoum said the prosecution welcome any information on that. Addoum said the Lebanese judiciary has not any knowledge that Tamraz is to stand for trial before the US judiciary.

- Samir Geagea defendants met today state prosecutor Adnan Addoum to request allowing him make correspondences.

- 23 Lebanese custom administration's staff were detained for charges including forgery of documents and bribes. The custom employees said to have forged hundred thousands of custom declarations.

- Parliament budget and finance committee finalized a draft law on the new scale of rank and salary for the government employees. The draft is ready now to be placed over the parliament plenary session for voting.

News In Brief

-Islamic resistance men launched a total of 11 attacks against Israeli and SLA outposts over the weekend inflicting casualties. Four Israeli soldiers were reported wounded in the attacks. The Israeli and SLA artillery fired artillery shells against various sectors in south Lebanon. News reports today said one Israeli soldier killed in resistance attack against an Israeli patrol in Hadatha -Bint Jbeil.

-Interior minister Michel Murr, in a training course for the government employees who will supervise by elections, said "your role is essential to avert the faults that lead to challenging the election results. He urged them to avoid these errors which were behind the four challenges that were accepted by Constitutional Council.

-Lebanese Forces-UK in a fax to local media called for a boycott of the 29th June by elections in north, Bekaa, and Byblos. The LF fax-statement said the upcoming by elections is another episode of the comic elections of 1992 and 1996. The statement called for the broadest possible political coalition to translate the state of popular boycott and reject its results and produce.

- Information minister Bassem Sabbaa prohibited his ministry's staff, including the general director, to give any unauthorized declarations. Sabbaa, who met on Saturday Syrian vice president Mr. Khaddam, and his Syrian counterpart, is disputing with the general director Mohammed Obeid, his participation in an Arab Radios Conference in Tunisia.

-Sheikh Subhi Tufeili, who launched the "Revolt of the Starved", said Sunday "No one thinks that the government will prevent us, and if it imposes a curfew on July 4, then there are alternatives". He calmed his followers saying "the revolt is going on". Tufeili assailed the USA, and said "I tell the americans and their ambassador , if you want the Lebanese people to respect you, you should review your policies on recognizing Jerusalem as capital of Israel, and your alliances against Syria by leading the Turkish-Zionist alliance".

-Two more batches of Lebanese immigrants in Sierraleone and Congo arrived Saturday to Beirut airport. 410 Lebanese, mostly dependents, arrived from Conakry on board of an MEA, including Lebanese ambassador in Freetown Mohammed Deeb who will report to the foreign ministry. 190 more Lebanese arrived from Brazzaville in Congo on board of a Congolese chartered plane.

-Palestinians camps allover Lebanon staged a strike in protest of the US parliament decision to recognise jerusalem as united capital of Israel, and the motion to transfer US embassy to Jerusalem.

-Syrian environment minister is due to arrive today to Beirut for talks with his Lebanese counterpart.

-Damour people, in and out of their hometown, shared the planting of of 3,000 fruit plants in their town in the occasion of World Environment Day.

-AUB celebrated on Saturday graduation of new 47 specialist doctors.

Sports Round Up

-President Elias Hrawi and prime minister Rafic Hariri visited the sport city in Beirut Sunday evening and toured the site to check the underway constructions.

-Saudi Arabia is to participate in the Arab 8th sport tournament. It will play in 12 different sport games. Saudi football team will not participate due to its preparation for the second semi finals of the World Cup 16.

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