News from Beirut July 19 1997 ...Search

South Lebanon- UNIFIL Mandate and Kfar Falous' Crossing

-UN secretary general recommended extension of the UNIFIL mandate in south Lebanon for six more months ending 31st Jan. 1998. In his report to the security council, Mr.. Anan noticed that scale of military operations in south Lebanon relatively increased during the past six months. He said the civilians once again became posed to danger and being targeted. The UN peace keepers in Lebanon are composed of 4,488 individual with battalions from Fiji, Finland, France, Ghana, Ireland, Italy, Nepal, Norway and Poland. Mr.. Anan said some $176mn are due amount to be paid by UN members. The annual cost of the UNIFIL is $125mn.

-Lebanese military sources said July 18 that the reopening Kfar Falous crossing "cannot be subjected to any prior or later condition and cannot take place through any contacts". The sources clarified that the real intentions of the enemy and those collaborating with it make access of civilians along the crossing unsafe at present, recalled that assaults against the force working to reopen the crossing did not affect the work to open the crossing.

Government- Economists; Ideas Forum

-Prime minister Rafic Hariri is to make opening statement Monday in a forum of ministers, government officials, and representatives of the private sector. The two days forum will be held at Coral Beach hotel as of Monday 9.00 a.m. The forum, initiated to open dialogue with the private sector's representatives to review the government socioeconomic policies, came after political and economical campaigns mounted up, both inside government and between the government and opposition. The accumulating impasses and crisis have injected the popular and political atmosphere with serious charges. Hariri government has called for practical and alternative programs to be presented instead of media campaigns. The government will center during the forum on the financial and tax policy also how to deal with the public debt and budget deficit. The economical groups joint working paper's guidelines centered on the problem of recession and the ways out, the deficit and its repercussions, and the various problems that are facing the economical sectors. Prime minister Hariri, who is planning to come back during the weekend after he traveled Friday from London to Paris, said "There are difficulties and obstacles from inside and outside the government". He said these problems can be solved and serious critic is what present alternatives. President Hrawi, speaking at a ceremony in Aley town to celebrate 35th memorial of well known writer Maroun Abboud, said "We shall not make the state an arena where we battle for private ambitions under any slogan or motto". In an indirect hint to the ongoing bickering he said "both the opposition and loyalists are meaningless if they do not succeed in readjusting the state drive". Hrawi's son in law and foreign minister Fares Boueiz has called prime minister Hariri to lay down real economical policy not complicated tactics. He accused the prime minister of wasting time on unjustified and futile trips outside the country which most of the time are for media show up.

-Mr. Hariri at a reception in London Friday said the world confidence in Lebanon is great and the country is going ahead in a right path. He admitted having problems and difficulties, both from inside and outside the government, but that will cause no despair. He warned that what Israel offered to pull out of the country was a trap.


-Greece deputy foreign minister in a short visit to Lebanon met president Elias Hrawi, foreign minister Fares Boueiz, and secretary general of the foreign ministry. He declared that his country's relation with Lebanon is excellent and that Lebanon's prime minister Rafic Hariri is going to visit Athens next week.

-Gen. Michel Aoun, in reaction to a statement given by president Hrawi on July 17, accusing him of meeting an Israeli general in Paris, affirmed that "we shall have no complex to meet publicly Israelis as we are not a downgrade in dignity, value, and responsibility from those Arabs who met the Israelis". The statement said "if any meeting of an Arab official with an Israeli is a charge, Hrawi and his government should open the prisons for themselves and for all the Arab officials". Gen. Aoun statement added that "when the circumstances are ensured and convenient to liberate the Lebanese land and national decision, we shall have no complex to meet the Israelis in public". News reports noticed that the statement neither confirmed Hrawi accusation nor denied it.

-State prosecutor Adnan Addoum today said he will follow up the news over Gen. Aoun meeting with Israelis in Paris once the evidences and further information become available.

-Former president Amin Gemayel, in another comment on Hrawi's statement, said he did regret the assassination of Israel former prime minister Rabin, same to the regret of most of the Arab leaders, who are at present miss Rabin's period of premiership, after the Likud win the office and after the hope to reach a just peace in the region collapsed. Gemayel said he won't be engaged in any bickering with president Hrawi, and recalled he did not visit the Israeli embassy in Paris, not in the occasion of condoling for Rabin's murder nor in any other occasion. Gemayel said he preferred Hrawi to focus on the national affair and work to regain his constitutional presidential prerogatives. He said the Lebanese people expect the president to struggle for the infringed sovereignty and the confiscated national decision, also to maintain the general freedoms and dignity of the citizens which are constantly disrespected.

-Raymond Edde, in another comment, said president Hrawi mentioning him together with Aoun and Gemayel has "spoiled" the word of appreciation to him that way.

-Ehden and north Lebanon prepare for the commemoration ceremony of late former president Suleiman Frajieh on 23rd July.

-Patriarch Sfair told his outnumbered visitors in his north seat Diman that the Pope's visit enhanced the Lebanese adherence to the sovereignty. He emphasized on solidarity and deep faith to face the danger which threaten everyone. Chuf MP Wadeeh Akl after a visit to the seat said "there is determination to implant aliens in Damour". Akl said the Taif agreement placed the displaced issue as top priority but it turned to be the last of the list of priorities.

-Damour's displaced committee, commenting on president Hrawi's denial of reports on land sales in Damour, said they notified the president of the danger of selling land and its impacts on unity of the country and the common living.

-Sheikh Subhi Tufeili, speaking at Burj Barajneh in the southern suburbs of Beirut, said the Katyusha is not representing a deterring repel against the Israeli enemy and might not lead to other than few casualties among the Israelis. Tufeili said in order to deter the enemy there should be methods and instruments that harms the enemy.

-Muslim clergy and spiritual leaders on Friday sermons called for an economical program which pours in the interest of the people. Muslim Shiite Mufti Abdel Amir Kabalan said Israel is preparing large surprises.

Pan Arab Games

-List of medals on 6th day

State------ -gold -silver -bronze -total

Egypt------- 23--- 16---- 15 ----54

Algeria------ 17---16---- 16 ----49

Morocco --- 12 ---11---- 5 ---- 28

Qatar --------8 ---- 4 -----2---- 14

Tunisia -------6-----3----- 7---- 16

Saudia------- 4 ----5------5---- 14

Syria -------- 2 ---10 ---- 13 ---25

Lebanon -----2 --- 6 ----- 9 ---- 17

Jordan------ 2-----2 ------6----- 10

Kuwait ----- 1----- 5------- 8---- 14

Oman -------1----- 1 ------1 ------3

Sudan - -------------1-----2 -------3

Libya -------------------- - 1 ------1


Total -------78-----80----- 90---- 248

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