News from Beirut July 22 1997 ...Search

Economy -Ideas Forum

-Economical ideas forum that started Monday went on with two morning sessions and another at 7.00 p.m. this evening. The discussions centered on industry, trade and agriculture. This evening's debate will center on finance and monetary situation. Agriculture minister said there was unanimous support to his agriculture plan. Economy minister said he expects some recommendations to be endorsed during the forum. Finance state minister said the discussions were exiting and it was a first chance for such a calm and subjective discussion.


-Minister for the displaced Walid Jumblat, after an hour meeting Monday with prime minister Hariri in presence of minister Akram Shehayeb and Jumblat's adviser Ghazi Aridi, in response to reporters question of the period of interruption or sever of relation with Hariri, said "it was illness from my side and travels from his side. There is no interruption. There are some technical points and it was necessary to discuss the central issue that is the displaced, which is a top priority for premier Hariri. It seems there is a breakthrough on the release and supply of money to run the work of the ministry and the displaced fund". Asked when is it going to be implemented, Jumblat said "there is a program for this summer, and if the government or the state borrowed money for a long term there will be a portion for the displaced. In the past period they mentioned the figure $150mn and that is a big amount".

-Minister Walid Jumblat and Chuf Mp Nabil Bustani in separate occasions said the return of the displaced is depending on the availability of enough money in the displaced fund.

-Patriarch Sfair, speaking to a delegation from Tarshish village where Muslim and Christian residents signed recently a conciliation accord, said the circumstances do not permit him to visit all places in Lebanon. He blessed the accord that aimed to build a church and a mosque there. He said he called and will continue to call for a solution of the displaced issue, because the case is a basic one, and as long the displaced do not return back to their villages, the present unstable living situation will continue.

-Kataeb party political bureau and central council, after a weekly meeting Monday under the party leader George Saadeh, said the party has noticed tendency among some official circles aimed to close the file of the displaced, particularly the mountain's displaced, without a solution, and after obtaining information that assured some people are working on changing demography of the mountain, wished patriarch Sfair to call for a Christian general conference to discuss this serious issue. The Kataeb party statement said the proposed conference is to include ministers, MPs, and all other Christian groups and unions, in order to lay down guidelines of a a material and political plan titled "the return plan". The party said the plan should be attached to a timetable and be implemented with or without agreement with the authority.

South Lebanon- The SLA and Border Tension

-An SLA 30 man force overrun a farm at Bisri 3km of an SLA outpost in Jezzine area owned by Druze sheikh Akl Bahjat Ghaith where it arrested 11 people including two Syrian labors. The SLA force backed by tanks and APC's cordoned off the farm and fired several shells and forced the arrested to go on foot to their nearby outpost where they were investigated. The SLA have released all of them after 3-4 hours arrest. They were asked about the Lebanese army moves and told to report to minister Jumblat that as long there are operations against Jezzine area it is prohibited to anyone to come to Bisri. SLA commander of Jezzine area admitted that the force overrun the farm, "to look into things that belong to terrorists", but said the farmers were accidentally there and were asked some questions without being detained. He affirmed that one Syrian labor was among the farmers but was not detained. He confirmed that the SLA patrol did not find anything that belonged to Hizbullah.

-Israeli commander of the northern front with Lebanon Gen. Levine described the situation in the security zone as tensed. He did not exclude deterioration of the security situation there. Levine, at a meeting with mayors of the Israeli "confrontation towns", close to the border with Lebanon, said the tension that is prevailing at north Israel and the security zone cannot be hidden. He said the tension was due to Hizbullah failure to achieve it's target and because of its human losses. He said the situation would reach a phase of large scale deterioration. Levine said the Israeli army is ready to face various possibilities, but it is carrying contradictory mission, on one side it wants to avoid the Katyusha rockets to fall down, and on other to avoid wounded and fatalities among the Israelis, arguing if that should force Israel to change its policy. According to security sources at the border with Israel, a new barrage of Katyusha rockets struck north Israel late Sunday precisely the Naharia settlement.

-A local Lebanese daily said today the commander of the SLA Antoine Lahd and some of his top aides were granted the Israeli nationality in a bid aimed to calm down those collaborating with Israel.

-As the reopening of Kfar Falous crossing continue pending, president Elias Hrawi was quoted telling Jezzine MP Suleiman Kanaan that the crossing will reopen on time after the practical measures be completed. Kanaan praised the president for placing Jezzine case under spotlight, demanded state services for the region, and asked that Jezzine area be out of the new regional formulas and instead attached to Lebanon until a time the 425 resolution is implemented.

-The M.E. director of the Amnesty International left Beirut Monday after participating in the 14th July day of solidarity with Lebanese captive. He presented in Beirut the organization's report titled "the Lebanese hostages forgotten in Israeli jails". The organization is to stage in three month time solidarity campaigns over the world demanding release of the Lebanese detainees. A French-Canadian joint delegation is due to arrive today to Beirut, upon an invitation from the Lebanese Follow Up Committee In Support of Lebanese Detainees in Israel, to meet families and relatives of the detainees. The delegation will try to enter the Israeli concentration camp at Khiam to check the conditions of the detainees.


-President Elias Hrawi told his visitors Monday that the opposition should not be given a personal character and should contribute to the improvement of the situation. He said it is unfair to ignore the reconstruction process in the country. President Hrawi argued the slogans of high sound and riding popular spates. He was referring to sheikh Subhi Tufeili "hunger revolution" without naming him. He also questioned what link between hunger and the instant construction of houses without license as it was called on by someone in Baalbek.

-Prime minister Rafic Hariri is due to leave to Greece Thursday in a two day official visit upon an invitation extended by his Greek counterpart. Hariri is scheduled to meet Greece's president, prime minister, and other top officials and party leaders. His talks will center on bilateral relations and regional situation, particularly the peace process and the Greek and European role. The prime minister is accompanied by deputy prime minister Michel Murr and ministers of economy and finance.

-The council of ministers meeting tomorrow will discuss one of the top issues on the agenda that is licenses to audiovisual media stations and the ruling of the Shura council on censorship. Information minister said he will refer the censorship case to the government to take decision.

-US secretary of state Mrs. Albright is still indecisive and hesitant over lifting the US travel ban on Lebanon. Reports said she is contacting and consulting her aides from outside Washington where she is now but the decision remained up to her. Most of the state department divisions recommended lifting the ban, but the decision is hard to the US administration, as its worried of the political embarrassment that would follow any security incident against Americans in Lebanon after the ban is lifted. The Americans are relaxed to the holding of the eighth Pan Arab Games in Lebanon, but still cautious of the "hunger revolution", splits inside Hizbullah and stands that have been announced by sheikh Subhi Tufeili. The US ambassador Richard Jones held separate talks today with Lebanon top three officials that centered on the travel ban and the possible decision that would be taken. Jones, coming back recently from a holiday, did not want to predict what the decision would be, denying he has any inside information. Jones admitted that positive developments had occurred in Lebanon but its up now to one person to take the decision, meaning Mrs. Albright. The decision would be taken in an approximate 72 hour before the travel ban's term expires at the end of this month. Lebanese lobbyists in the US sent letters to the US administration urging it to lift the ban, namely the Task Force.

-State prosecutor Adnan Addoum said he is proceeding collecting information on what president Hrawi mentioned about the meeting between Gen. Michel Aoun and an Israeli general in Paris. Addoum said when the required information on contacting the enemy are available the judicial authority in charge will be instructed to take the proper measures. Judicial sources said if the meeting took place when Aoun was a premier, the high council to trial officials will be in charge, and if it took place in his capacity as a citizen, the military tribunal will be in charge. The sources said that Addoum will inquire president Hrawi what information he has on the case.

-Garbage turned to be another additional crisis in Lebanon. The daily Hundred tons of house waste find no place to go. Environment minister Akram Shehayeb surrendered to the fact and reality. The crisis started after Bourj Hammoud dump has been closed yesterday for ever. Greenpeace said that 600 daily tons will be accumulating. Sukleen company which collect the garbage announced it will halt collection from areas of Beirut southern suburbs.

-Lebanon first lady Mona Hrawi received today spouse of the president of the African state Ivory coast who arrived today in a visit to Lebanon accompanied by a delegation of 70 people.

- Algerian former president Ahmad bin Bella who is visiting Lebanon, met president Hrawi and visited Qana scene of last year's massacre also Sidon. He warned of an Israeli scheme to attack Syria and Lebanon.

-Zghorta merchants and traders called for closure tomorrow in the yearly memorial of late president Suleiman Franjieh.

-Kesrouan MP Rshayd el Khazen reiterated his call for a massive popular meeting in Kesrouan to press the government to respond to the region's demands. He said, after briefing patriarch Sfair today on the motive, a popular open meeting will be held on Sunday at Mayrouba. Khazen said foreign minister Fares Boueiz would attend if he could arrive from abroad on time. He denied that civil disobedience is planned, but the people will be ready, in order to obtain its legitimate rights, to even stage disobedience if the situation continue unchanged. Khazen denied that his move is similar to sheikh Subhi Tufeili one, as the latter is calling for change of the entire regime. He said he told Tufeili, who asked to attend the meeting, that Kesrouan move is different than his.

-Greek Catholic synod on overseas churches started Monday and will end Saturday. Patriarch Hakim said the drive of church common life with orthodox will continue. Patriarch Hakim called for eliminating extremism and called for dealing with deprive in all rural areas.

-Baalbek festival to start again in 48 hours. This time with short brief three day performances. sheikh Subhi Tufeili ridiculed the festival and said he is opposed to it.

Pan Arab Games

-9th day list of medals

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

Egypt -------- 52 ----------25 ----------21 ----------98

Algeria -------24 ---------- 28 --------- 25 ---------- 77

Morocco -----12 ----------12 ---------- 6 ---------- 30

Qatar -------- 8 ----------- 4 ----------- 3 ---------- 15

Tunisia -------7 ------------5 ---------- 13 ---------- 25

Saudia -------6 ----------- 6 ----------- 15 ---------- 27

Syria -------- 4 ---------- 18 ----------- 23 ---------  45

Jordan ------ 4 ----------- 3 ----------- 10 ---------- 17

Lebanon ---- 2 ---------- 13 ----------- 22 ---------- 37

Kuwait ------1 ----------- 5 ------------ 10 --------- 16

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

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

Palestine ---------------------------------- 3 --------- 3

Bahrain ----------------------------------- 1 --------- 1

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


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