News from Beirut June 3 1997 ...Search

GLC-Government, Another charge, Another Suspect, and Top Stories

- Prime minister Rafic Hariri held talks June 2 with speaker of the house Nabih Berri, first at noon at Berri residence, and second in the evening after talks with president Hrawi. News reports said he discussed with the president the national airliner MEA's affair in presence of the company chairman Khaled Salam, central bank governor, and state minister for finance. Hariri discussed with president Hrawi in presence of the agriculture minister the agricultural affairs. Press reports said Mr. Hariri shuttling between the president and the speaker may have connection with the visit of Syrian V.P Abdel Halim Khaddam and foreign minister Farouk Sharaa to Lebanon. New reports said the visit will take place Thursday. Speculations said the visit may pave grounds for a meeting between president Hrawi and speaker Berri. Speculations too said Hariri is promoting his proposal on a new election law.

- Mr. Hariri in reaction to critics against his government on the case of GLC Abu Rizk argued what is required by his government or by him."Do I have to phone the judiciary and tell them what to do, who reads the newspapers think that the prime minister should intervene in the judicial matters, I will not interfere, neither today nor tomorrow", Hariri stated.

- Out of Lebanon, the World Labor Organization at its yearly meeting in Geneva would take stand today on the legitimacy of labors representation in Lebanon. Two Lebanese rival factions are battling there to win legitimacy and recognition of the membership committee which hold a meeting before the general debate, one headed by Ghon eim Zoghbi and another headed by two former members of the GLC executive board Abdel Amir Najde and George Berberi who arrived to Geneva. Reports from Geneva said Zoghbi faction membership was accepted in WLO and already participated in several working sessions before the opening of the conference today. In Beirut, the former S.G of Abu Rizk GLC faction Mr. Yasser Neemeh said a cable dispatched to Beirut by the Arab Labor group in Geneva demanded the immediate release of Elias Abu Rizk.

- Justice minister Bahij Tabbara and MPs members of the parliamentary justice and administration committee traded accusations over the case of Abu Rizk. The minister denied government connection with the arrest and said it was the decision of the investigating judge and his ministry has no authority on him. The opposition MPs members assailed the government and see that the arrest was a political stand that the government should be asked about it. The two sides traded remarks on the independence of the judiciary. Chairman of the committee MP shaker Abu Suleiman gave a declaration ,instead of committee statement, saying the committee members unanimously called for respecting general freedoms and syndicate freedoms".

-General prosecutor Adnan Addoum "heard" statements of Abu Rizk on a letter he sent to the WLO speaking on receiving threats to liquidate him and others. Abu Rizk will stand once again today, together with former S.G Yasser Neemeh, before Beirut appeal judge for investigating this point. The possibility is that Abu Rizk and Neemeh either to face an indictment or investigations would halt at this stage.

- Reports this evening said Abu Rizk could not stand today before the judge for health reasons. S.G Yasser Neemeh was investigated for two hours and half over letter on threats, and accusations that the government paid bribes and rigged the GLC elections. Neemeh said he did not deny receiving threats of liquidation on phone. Abu Rizk and Neemeh will stand tomorrow before the judge with Neemeh bringing documents proving the threats.

- A sit in protest was staged today off the UN office at Bir Hassan in Beirut. Solidarity meeting was held at Alexandre hotel in Ashrafieh with participants representing political factions, MPs, intellectuals and groups. The meeting denounced the arrest and asked a follow up committee to suggest further democratic steps to defend general freedoms and bread of the Lebanese.

Freetown-The Lebanese Diaspora

- Lebanon's emigrants ministry's emergency operation room reported overnight that 200 Lebanese held up at hotel Mamioko in Freetown were rescued and evacuated safely to the Lebanese embassy and its vicinity around 10.00 p.m. . The evacuation came amid two days battles in Freetown posing the hotel to artillery shelling. Some fires erupted at some of the hotel floors threatening safety of many Lebanese. According to eyewitnesses 90 per cent of the Lebanese properties in Freetown have been damaged and the fleeaway to Konakri was horrible.

- National airliner MEA Boeing 747 is expected to arrive midnight from Konakri with 470 Lebanese on board. the Lebanese were evacuated by sea to Konakri from Freetown. The Jumbo will fly back to Konakri to airlift more Lebanese evacuated by sea. The US defense department said its forces evacuated today some 1,200 foreigners from Sierraleone. Egyptian ambassador reported to Mr. Berri today Egypt's efforts aimed to ensure safety of the Lebanese community in Sierraleone. He conveyed to him a promise from the leader of the military coup in Sierraleone that he will ensure safety of the Lebanese wishing to stay and safety of the aircrafts evacuating others.

Military Service

- Parliament defense committee postponed decision on a draft bill to exempt those born in 1973, 1974, and 1975 of the military service, also postponed a decision on the proposal to entirely cancel the service, after the Lebanese army personnel now stand at 46 thousands and the army institute has been built on solid basis. The committee decided to merge two bills in one and find out a solution "which maintains the military service or cancel it in accordance to the national interest".

Telephones Tapping

- Parliament committees of national defense, interior- security, justice and administration, P.T.T, and information, are to hold joint secret session under speaker Berri on June 11 to discuss tapping ordinary telephones and the cellulars. The general prosecutor, general director of the national security, general director of the ISF, commander of the gendarme, director of the army intelligence, director of the P.T.T, and chairmen of the cellular companies are all called to attend the session.

-Lebanese human rights association argued the hazardous tapping of telephones in Lebanon without specific rules and without the judiciary permission.

News In Brief

- Lebanon council of ministers meeting June 4 is to discuss 65 items, including establishing border offices with Syria and a L.L 55bn transferred budget allocation for the enlargement of the airport.

- Patriarch Sfair and 32 Maronite bishop began June 2 a three days spiritual enclave that will continue until Saturday in order to discuss church various issues, including namely generating and effectuating the apostolic guidance.The Maronite meeting will elect three new bishops.

- Islamic resistance said its fighters attacked SLA outposts at Rihan, Aramta, and Ghozlan, and fired at an SLA land patrol at Bir Kallab. Israeli and SLA artillery opened its artillery fire at middle sector and hills of Iqlim Toffah.

- Turkish ambassador in Beirut refrained to give details of his meeting with the Lebanese foreign ministry S.G Zafer el Hassan. He said however, the talks centered on the military movements in general.

- Lebanon's government is willing to decide budget allocations to rural areas such as Akkar and Hermel to improve its social and development situation and  lift its deprive.

- Lebanon council of ministers is to endorse at its tomorrow's session a proposal aimed to establish a security sole authority in Beirut airport. The sole authority will be named "civil aviation security unit" and directly under the airport presidency. The measure has been suggested in respond to terms of funding agreements with Europe and other world agencies.

- Iranian deputy culture minister Mohammed Ali Taskhiri met Monday prime minister Hariri, speaker Berri, culture minister Fawzi Hobeich, and Mufti Mohammed Rashid Kabbani. The Iranian visiting official said Lebanon represents a good example of common living, resistance, and defend of the Islamic nation causes. Taskhiri is to meet today G.O bishop Elias Audi. Taskhiri was hosted June 2 at a launch in Kaslik -Jounieh by the Arab Cultural Council.

- Kataeb party leader George Saadeh received at the party head office June 2 delegation from Hizbullah. The two parties discussed local developments including the case of Abu Rizk. Saadeh declared saying the arrest of Abu Rizk pulled the country 100 years back. On the provisional by elections, he said the party did not yet take final decision. Saadeh said it is important to have strong Maronite League and the political parties are not intending to monopolize it.

- Preparations underway for the upcoming by elections on 29th June. Interior minister Michel Murr issued several circulars prohibiting civil servants intervention in the elections, established special offices for complaints and remarks, and decided resumption of applications to obtain election cards in the constituencies of Bekaa, North, and caza of Jbeil. Mohammed Zohbi is the first Sunni candidate for the Sunni seat of Akkar.

- The USA based Human Rights Watch accused in a 36 page statement Syrian forces of kidnapping Lebanese and Palestinians in Lebanon, adding that in some cases Lebanese security forces were helpful. The organization urged Lebanon's government to halt that, and said those arrested in Lebanon were taken to Syria and some of them are missing since years. The organization asked president Assad publish a list of all non Syrian detainees in Syria.

The statement said "the Lebanese government clearly gave the Syrian intelligence inside Lebanon sort of police authority if not in a secret agreement". It said the Syrian forces maintain at least five detention centers in Lebanon and one joint center with the Lebanese intelligence at

Hazmieh. It said two Palestinians were reported kidnapped this year but were released later. The organization urged president Hrawi and prime minister Hariri to prevent the Syrians from kidnapping citizens in Lebanon.

- French nationals in Lebanon were split over the socialists victory. Some blamed president Chirac for not fulfilling his promises of change. Others affirmed that even the left won't be able to resolve problems. Some nationals blamed Chirac for sticking to the premier who is not popular.

-10 killed including 6 Lebanese, and two wounded in a tragic accident that took place June 2 Abdeh in Akkar region between a Syrian taxi and a Lebanese car.


- Prime minister Rafic Hariri paid June 2 a sudden surprise check visit to the sport city in Beirut now under construction. Major progress has been made in finishing the construction works before the opening on 12th July when the Arab 8th sports tournament will go ahead.

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

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