News from Beirut July 12  1997 ...Search

Pan Arab Games, An Event And Astonishing Come Back

-The eighth Pan Arab Games will be opened today at 8.30 p.m by president Elias Hrawi and prominent foreign guests namely the secretary general of the Arab league and chairman of the International Olympic Committee Juan Antonio Samaranch. Some 50,000 audience, with around 2,000 Arab player including 470 female players, 19 participant state, 20 sports, and 890 journalist and press reporter, will make the event as of today until 27th July.

-President Elias Hrawi is to announce during the opening ceremony today name of "Camille Chamoun Sport City", as he has repeated in past few days. The prime minister ordered yesterday removal of banners hanged recently at the viccinity of the sports city naming it "Rafic Hariri Sport City".

-Fourty years after the sports city hosted the 2nd Arab Games in 1955 during term of late president Camille Chamoun, the 1982 war devastated sports city which had been flattened by Israeli warplanes rise once again. Lebanese government describe it "jewel" of the ambitious $18 bn rebuilding program launched after the 1975-1990 war. The city become symbol of Beirut rebirth and today's event is the first and most ever huge project. It is an "Arab Wedding" and an Arab comeback to their beloved Beirut.

-7.30 p.m today the Iraqi athletes departed Masnaa border point after they realised they will not be allowed an entry visas to Lebanon. They shouted Iraqi national entheme and patriotic songs and thanked the Lebanese press for its role. Iraqi daily Babil assailed Lebanon for taking the decision and said it has lost trade packages worth of millions of dollars. The paper assailed too the Arab League.

-The Lebanese delegation is the largest with 480 competitors, trainers and officials, neighbouring Syria 395 and Egypt's 343. Djibouti has fielded the smallest team with one trainer and three competitors.

-Among the Arab athletes there are some of the world's finest. Moroccan runner Ibrahim Boulami, placed 7th at Atlanta Olympic Games will be competing. Others include Tunisian boxer Fathi Mensawi, Algerian boxer Mohammed Alalo, Syrian wrestler Khaled Faraj, Lebanese tennis player Ali Hamade, Egyptian swimmer Rania Alwani etc...

-This evening's ceremony will include Lebanese folk performances involving some 3,500 student and 1,320 army man.

-The $112mn sports complex has now the seating capacity of 50,000 and its 54 arched exits are designed to clear a capacity crowd of 54,000 in eight minutes, also it can absorb earthquakes up to Richter 8.6.


-Israel's northern commander Gen Amirane Levine interviewed by the SLA run Voice of South radio station said " If Israel and SLA are convinced that the opening of Kfarfalous crossing will serve Jezzine and its residents, the move would be welcomed on our side, but if the move turns out to be a manoeuvre or a trick to facilitate the movement of "terrorists" and Lebanese intelligence agents to the area, the crossing will not open". Levine said Jezzine is symbol of relation between Israel and security zone, and it will increase its economical and military support to jezzine. He said the reopening of the crossing at present time is a bad indicator, because of the recent kidnap of some citizens at Sfaray village. He wondered why the Lebanese government wants to reopen the crossing now, after it had closed it in the past, despite the approval then by SLA commander Antoine Lahd. He said "We and Gen Lahd are who decide on that issue. At a meeting with Jezzine town's prominent figures, Levine threatened them for demanding opening of the crossing. He told them that if they want the crossing be reopened, they should volunteer in the SLA militia in order to set up a gate-centre from Jezzine side to check those coming in to the security zone. Levine demanded that 50 young man from Jezzine and its neighbourhood to recruit in the SLA to take charge of the new military post, Otherwise, the Israeli army will not be ready to die alone". News said Israel is attempting to open channel of communication with Lebanon over the crossing, and blackmail Lebanon to hold bilateral talks over the case, but Lebanon definately will not accept that under any circumstance.

-Lebanese army source said four 120mm mortar shells yesterday landed near an army post as they were working to open the crossing. it was third mortar attack in third consecutive day. Hizbullah called on Jezzine's residents to rebel against the SLA and Israel's attempt to seal off their town from the rest of the land. The question in Beirut is whether the SLA firing at army near Jezzine is a unilateral act or if it is sanctioned by Israel.

-US Charge d'affaires Ron Schlicher after a meeting with Hariri said his administration welcomed the attempt to reopen the crossing."I think that any steps that could be taken to help all of the people of the south lead normal lives are steps that the US government should support and encourage", He said. About the SLA shelling of the army force there, he said "It is incumbent on all of the parties in the conflict to excercise the maximum amount of self-restraint because the people on both sides of the border should have the right to peace and safety", Schlicher said.

-Egypt's foreign minister Amre Moussa said it is possible to reach understanding over the problem in south Lebanon, but the Israeli provocative measures on the the Palestinian track, increase caution of the Syrian and Lebanese. He said the problem in south is more simple than some people think, as it is not a national or political problem, but a security one for which an understanding can be reached on it. He added that as it is known, there is no trust between the two parties. Asked who can replace the Israeli army in case it pull out from south, he said the Lebanese army and government announced they are ready to take charge of the security and guarantee the border.

News In Brief

-President Hrawi asked Lebanese expatriates in Maxico and US to lend support to Lebanon to force Israel out of the country. He noticed the Jews solidarity allover the world with Israel on all levels. He said Lebanon does not want financial support but a moral one.

-Lebanon formally asked the UN renewal of the UNIFIL mandate in south Lebanon two weeks before it expires. The renewal is normally approved as a matter of course and each term lasts six months.

-Syrian agriculture minister is due to arrive on Sunday in a two-day official visit to discuss exchange of agricultural products and Lebanese Syrian agriculture agenda. The Lebanese and Syrian agriculture ministers are to visit farms in south and Bekaa and hold meetings with economists in Zahle and Sidon.

-Sheikh Subhi Tufeili told Bekaa people to prepare for an allout battle with the authorities. "Everyone should build barricades around their houses, so when this significant government comes, the battle will begin to protect our children and pride", he said at a memoria service in Britel in Bekaa. "The best is yet to come. Using our own methods, we will find ways to treat the authorities as they treat us, and bring them down to the squalor we are forced to deal with", he went on saying. "They fear us, but we fear no one", he said. At Burj Barajneh, in the southern suburbs of Beirut, Tufeili said his hunger revolution has just started and preparations for a fourth stage in Beirut are underway. Political analys today argued if Tufeili started to prepare for hunger revolution this time in Beirut and its suburbs and what would be the impacts.

-NLP party under Douri Chamoun urged all civic and religious authorities to reveal the scheme of forcing the displaced to depression and sell their land. The party said that after prime minister Hariri washed his hands of the displaced file and discharged himself of the task the file is now subject to political stagnation. The party called the people to uprise against the tragic real situation.

-The displaced ministry said only 33 main road in the displaced return areas were allocated maximum L.L6.5mn out of L.L43bn allocation to the public works ministry to rehabilitate main roads in Lebanon in the fiscal year 1997. The figure is too minor and humble compared to allocations to other main roads. The ministry said rehabilitation the stretch Beirut-Dahr el Baidar on Damascus highway is included in the small amount of 6.5 mn.

-Patriarch Sfair received former MP Mikhail Daher and other visitors at Diman. Daher called the opposition leaders abroad to come back and live with the people adding that the leader should march in front in a battle.

-Governor of Athens is due to arrive today to Beirut upon invitation by his Beirut counterpart. His schedule includes meeting with civic and religious leaders, attend the Arab Games, and tour the construction project at downtown Beirut.

-Greek Orthodox Patriarch Hazim said Israel wants occupation and force people out of homes. Heading an academic meeting at Balamand, he said the apostolic guidance should be put into effect. He said he thinks Israel would return part of the occupied land but through begging style and keep the rest.

-Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak pledged support on Thursday for a plan to set up an Islamic university in Beirut, Egyptian government's minister said. Mubarak made the pledge during a meeting with Lebanon Muslim's Mufti Sheikh Mohammed Rachid Kabbani who is in a four-day visit to Egypt. "The ministry of religious endowments and Al Azhar will give all forms of assistance to this project to serve all Lebanese, Muslims and Christians”, minister of religious endowments said.

-The Maronite League executive board elected recently is due to meet today to name people in charge of various posts namely the secretary general. Former league's board visited the new board to extend congratulation and express their belief in democracy.

-Consul of Senegal Antoine Akiki denied that the Lebanese community in Senegal posed to any danger. He confirmed that the community enjoyed respect of Senegal president Abdou Diouf, who is a friend of both president Hrawi and premier Hariri. He said some news reach Senegal speaking over malpractices against Senegalese labors in Lebanon and that caused dismay, but it does not mean the community is in danger. Akiki warned of exploiting some Senegalese who work since long time in Lebanon in an illegal way.

-Hundreds of lawmakers from the Arab world , Europe, and US are to participate in a conference in Beirut on trade arbitration. Washington gave permission to its lawmakers to participate, in first such sign after the Friends of Lebanon's Conference held in Washington December last year.

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