News from Beirut June 2  1997 ...Search

News updates

-Syrian vice president Abdel Halim Khaddam and foreign minister Farouk Sharaa are due to visit Beirut possibly on Wednesday, president Hrawi today's visitors said. The two high ranking Syrian officials will hand a letter to president Hrawi from his Syrian counterpart. The letter deals with the Turkish aggression on Iraq.

- Hizbullah S.G. Sayed Hassan Nasrallah met in Damascus yesterday Dr. Bashar Assad. They discussed developments in Lebanon and the region, highly valued the resistance against Israel, and reviewed Lebanon government and constitutional institutions performance.

- Fresh reports from Freetown said clashes erupted between Sierraleone coup forces and Nigerian army following five days of inconclusive talks on reinstating the former legitimate government.. The clashes centered around a hotel on the seaside which is housing now thousands of refugees, including many Lebanese. Last minute reports said a cease-fire has been reached on the hotel area. The Nigerian army said to have controlled Freetown airport. In Beirut, another Boeing 747 flew today to Konakri to bring back the Lebanese who arrived there on ships. Lebanese evacuees who arrived today urged total evacuation of all the Lebanese still hanged up in Freetown, reporting shortage of food and water at a hotel they now take as temporary shelter. 180 Lebanese arrived this morning from Konakri.

- Hizbullah south official Nabil Qaouq and UNIFIL spokesman Timor Goxyl met today to discuss the use of vehicles similar to that of the UNIFIL. Goxyl said some UNIFIL used vehicles were sold out in a very wrongly administrative way. Qaouq said they reached agreement on measures that consolidate security of the south people. Hizbullah men have harassed the UNIFIL recently because of evidences that Israel is using UNIFIL purchased vehicles to penetrate into south Lebanon.

GLC Abu Rizk Detention, Political Crisis and Freedoms and Rights Issue

- General prosecutor Adnan Addoum said today legal factors were behind the detention of Elias Abu Rizk. Abu Rizk asked to be transferred to Roum hospital instead of the present hospital Ghosein at Hazmieh which is not capable to medicate the man. The Tele Liban T.V station employees halted the news bulletin for one minute in a move symbolizing their support to Abu Rizk who presided the employees syndicate. Beirut lawyers bar demanded today that judiciary acquire and practice full independence and called the political authority not to intervene in the judicial affair.

- Lebanese officials maintain silence on the case. Foreign minister Fares Boueiz hinted that he opposed the detention "because there is no interest at all to show Lebanon outgoing of its democracy, and public syndical freedom". Health minister Suleiman Franjieh said at a T.V interview June 1 "Abu Rizk case was forgotten and now it is live again thanks to the fault of detention".

- Patriarch Sfair stand on the case was significant. He expressed fear on "Lebanon's civilized image" which was demonstrated during his pontiff's visit. He said many people in and out of Lebanon are questioning if this beautiful image of Lebanon is the same after media reports on breaching the syndicate freedoms, "a breach for which laws, which usually laid down to protect citizens not to discriminate them, are used for it ".

- Outnumbered reactions and statements issued over the weekend denouncing the move, in the meantime, political and syndicate opposition groups are to mount up its campaign and perhaps decide moves that were prohibited earlier by government such as demonstrations, sit ins, and gatherings. The follow up committee at a meeting in Coral Beach hotel hinted to the moves, and called for another meeting Tuesday at hotel Alexandre in Ashrafieh to see to the coming protesting measures.

- Lebanon's GLC executive board's election on 24th April which split the labor movement leadership into two is becoming a political crisis at home and an issue of human rights and freedoms abroad. Many Arab and international labor organizations consecrated the man as leader of the GLC once again. Ghuneim Zoghbi who leads now the government recognized GLC leadership traveled to Geneva to attend the 85th World Labor Conference.

Zoghbi himself has suggested before departure formation of a syndicate committee of both rival factions in order to resolve the issue or once again hold the GLC elections. The Arab labor International Union based in Damascus called in a statement for the immediate release of Abu Rizk, emphasized it recognizes him as leader of the GLC, and strongly assailed the Lebanese authority intervention in the labor affair". The Arab union denounced the oppressive detention measure which represents another assault on labor's freedoms and rights.

Lebanon-South, Israeli Unilateral Withdrawal Is not Feasible now

- Israel defense minister's adviser Avi Benyahu quoted by Israel's radio telling mothers of Israeli soldiers serving in south Lebanon "The soldiers know well why they are in south and can explain that to their mothers too". He said the "Israeli defense army activities in south Lebanon are now being studied in the ongoing evaluations in the army and the cabinet". He added that "the forces of the Israeli army in the security zone carry on its mission and the payoff for that is high, but the public understands that a unilateral withdrawal from Lebanon is not possible for the time being". He noticed that the population of Galilee are living lately a regular life thanks to the army activity in Lebanon".

- The security situation in south Lebanon over the weekend was deteriorating and escalatory. Israeli warplanes raided Iqlim Toffah and middle sector over the weekend while its heavy artillery pounded ouskirts of villages close to the front-line causing damages and fires. The Israeli forces detained three Lebanese civilians in Arnoun suspected of being members of Hizbullah. Israel announced Saturday one of its officers killed in a clash with the resistance and two Lebanese women also an SLA were slightly wounded as result of mortar shelling from Hizbullah posts. Hizbullah announced martyrdom of one of its fighters Sunday. The Islamic resistance in series of statements on its operations Saturday and Sunday said it attacked the posts of Reshaf, Qantara, Sojod, Kassaret el Ouroush, Markaba. The statements said its attacks inflicted heavy casualties among the enemy.


-An MEA plane is due to arrive today from Konakri-Ghana with over 200 Lebanese women and dependents on board. They were evacuated from Freetown by sea Saturday in three ships including one French, one British, and another hired by the Lebanese community in Guinea. Contacts were underway over the weekend to complete evacuation of the Lebanese hang up in the troubled Sierraleone capital. Saudi prince Walid Ben Talal ben Abdel Aziz offered three chartered planes to be in disposal of prime minister Hariri to help the evacuation. a statement issued by the prince's office said it was necessary to evacuate the Lebanese brothers there, with children and women among them before Sierraleone air corridor closure decision, also closure of land and sea borders, go into effect.

- News agencies in dispatches from Freetown said some 1,000 foreigners forgotten by the US navy evacuation process Friday, including many Lebanese who's properties were looted, felt they have been trapped Saturday at a hotel zone in Freetown, where fears of a confrontation between Sierraleone coup forces and Nigerian army is still prevailing. Since May 25 Sunday coup some 1,500 foreigner were evacuated by land and sea and mostly by the US navy choppers carrier. The agencies quoted a Lebanese lady saying " the Americans are lecturing human rights but they leave behind children, pregnant, and handicapped posed to more looting and more rounds of violence, what a scandal". Another Lebanese said "its natural they have to evacuate the Americans first, but they should have not left us in such a situation, we fell in a trap, and we wanted them to evacuate us to any other country not to N.Y or London.


- CNN Beirut office which will reopen July 23 adding one more to the 23 worldwide offices. The office will be run by British journalist Brant Sadler aided by five Lebanese journalists who's names are withheld. The question raised in Beirut is why now, why Beirut, and is it a signal on a short coming lift of the US travel ban. Sadler said the decision to come back to Beirut was taken April last year after Qana massacre, and three months ago the issue was seriously discussed before Ted Turner personally took the decision. Sadler, who reported the events here since 1979 is familiar with Beirut as he lived the dark days when communications were almost nil. He said Lebanon's infrastructures and communications have improved in recent years, allowing a journalist to maintain his profession same as in any other place. He regards Beirut an important center for the network but see some problems ahead as a result of the travel ban. He said some CNN officials seek to come to the office opening next month through obtaining special permits. He said he doesn't know if lifting the ban is possible now and its only the American policy that decide it though the lift will reflect positively on the office work. Sadler said Beirut office is of an importance because Syria and Lebanon did not enter the peace process and the CNN office can follow up the situation in the two countries, but his main assignment is to cover the Arab world news from Beirut. He said the CNN had offices in Cairo, Amman, and Jerusalem, and Beirut office would make a balance between the region's offices. On the outcome of the move, he said it contribute to shifting Lebanon's image by affirming that the past days gone and a phase of reconstruction begun, despite the economical and social problems which should be treated.


- Prime minister Hariri circles denied that his reported phone call with Patriarch Sfair was on the possible visit to Bkerke by Dr. Bashar Assad. The circles stated that the phone call was related to Harissa road.

- MP Elie Skaff wished that the coming visit of Dr. Bashar Assad would pour in the framework of his pontiff visit's result. Skaff said the exclusive bilateral dialogue between Bkerke and Damascus reflects the future aspirations in Lebanon and the region. He said it is better to be far from the ruling society who may bring in their stagnations and disagreements.

- Bkerke will close today its doors for a week time in preparation for the Maronite Bishops enclave.

Opposition Views

-"Fire under ashes, commissions and thefts are same as before, the economy is aggravating, the Constitutional Council should have nullified the entire elections not only four results", former premier Omar Karami said.

- The Lebanese national Conference (Gen. Aoun loyalists) reiterated its boycott to the provisional by elections because its continuation of the past situation. The conference assailed the speaker and prime minister for only sufficiently complaining telephone tapping, questioned if the two officials consider their tapping justified by the national security and general security. The conference noticed that violating constitution is now a favorite hobby for the officials spending Billions without referring back to the parliament, and if someone protests the official walk out. The statement denounced detention of Elias Abu Rizk before the appropriate court settles the case.

- MP Mohammed Beydoun close to speaker Berri said the government is working for the aristocratic society to overcome the poor. He said since Hariri had been designated after the Taif accord economical growth marked 3.5 per cent while before Taif it was 6.5 per cent.

News in Brief

- Patriarch Sfair received Sunday MPs and delegations also Head of the Maronite committee in Kuwait with its 5,000 community member asking the Patriarch appointment of a clergy to be in charge.

- Transport minister Omar Miskawi supported telephones tapping but for security and not for fun "because the security agencies have much precautions and preemptive measures which are generally required."

- Iranian embassy in Beirut held yesterday 8th commemoration of Imam Khumeini with massive participation exceeding all past years. Six speakers addressed the rally for two hours, including for the first time ever representative of Patriarch Sfair Beirut bishop Boulos Mattar. The two main absentees this year are sheikh Mohammed Mehdi Shamseddine and Sayed Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah, who were the main addressers in past years.

- Iranian deputy minister of culture visited Sunday Patriarch Sfair and said he discussed with him dialogue between Muslims and Christians and their defend of the human values.

- Chuf MP Nabil Bustani said Sunday the repatriation of the displaced are still in the freeze awaiting financing in order to continue the drive. Bustani said the displaced return was a prior issue for his pontiff during the visit, and if it is not resolved, all the talking on common living and national unity will be meaningless words. He said he and the displaced are waiting the money promised by the government in 10 days. He said nothing could be done this summer if the money is not available.

Sports Round Up

-15 Arab country said it will participate in the Arab 8th sports tournament which will take place in Beirut. Director of tournament Zayd Jhiami announced that a press conference will be held Wednesday to give further details.

Portemilio Suite Hotel   The Luxurious Hotel in the heart of Kaslik, Jounieh, Lebanon

 Chateau Kefraya

email us for more details ...

More news from International Agencies

[ Weekly Business Reports ]

Back to Local News Wire

© 1995-1997 Interactive- USA ,
All Rights Reserved.

For any comments or questions please e-mail