News from Beirut July 8 1997 ...Search

Government Policy- Parliament Plenary Session

-Lebanon parliament's plenary session continued today with sharp and soft criticism to the government conduct. The troika series of meetings after Damascus summit said to have settled issues of disagreement. Some MPs highlighted the living conditions and economical situation, while others criticized violation of law, and corruption. President Elias Hrawi praised the democratic practice at the parliament session but said some MPs have made exaggerating statements and called for a more realistic approach.


-President Elias Hrawi, after the house speaker, denied press reports saying a government reshuffle is under discussion and imminent. Hrawi said the reshuffle is only a media allegation and it is not placed over. Some press reports said Hrawi discussed the idea at his summit meeting in Damascus on Saturday. Political analyst today said change or reshuffle of the government is good for all parties but the problem is who will be the substitute.

-Deputy speaker of the German parliament who is now in an official visit to Lebanon yesterday met president Elias Hrawi, speaker Nabih Berri, deputy speaker, foreign minister, and toured the downtown Beirut. He said Germany's policy toward Lebanon is in framework of the European Union. He said he is not in Lebanon for any specific purpose but to explore the situation and ways to promote bilateral relations between Lebanon and Germany. He stated that number of Lebanese who are going to be deported from Germany is little, adding that those have originally no right to seek asylum, and the deportation will not cause a crisis between the two countries.

-Hizbullah warned it will continue firing Katyusha rockets as long Israel continues to target Lebanese civilians. The party official in south Nabil Qaouk said today during the burial ceremony of two Hizbullah martyrs said. Israeli daily Haaretz quoted Israeli officers saying despite the relative success of the commander of the northern front with Lebanon, through enforcing an offensive tactic against Hizbullah, the latter did not face a crisis. Israeli officers said that Hizbullah will resume its original tactic including good intelligence, cooperation with the local residents, planting roadside bombs at main road axis', and ambushes against Israeli patrols. Some Israeli officers warned that the relative success during the last two weeks, in operations against Hizbullah men, will not make Hizbullah stands idle. A senior officer said Hizbullah men are suffering fatalities and did not reach the fence along the borders, or fire at northern settlements, that is good, but as long the Israeli army is in south it will face losses and no magic solution for such possibility is in sight...

-The five nation cease-fire monitoring committee ended its session and examined four complaints lodged by both Israel and Lebanon. The committee blamed no side for the violation of the ceasefire, and accepted as factual the artillery shells that fell at Kfartabnite village, wounding among several other civilians, a 7 year old boy who lost his eye. The committee also accepted as factual some mortar and Katyusha shells that had struck the Israeli side of the border.

-Patriarch Sfair expressed the hope that the M.E. peace drive succeeds averting negative impacts of its failure on various levels. The patriarch praised the atmosphere that has prevailed during the Maronite League's poll hoping it would be practiced at all elections in Lebanon.

-Three members of the constitutional council who have been elected at the parliament plenary session said they reserved their predecessors going out of proper practice. Judge Amin Nassar would be chosen as the coming head of the council and Judge Mustafa al Ouji would be the deputy head.

-Minister for the displaced Walid Jumblat called the mountain people, particularly the displaced, to stick to their land and not to sell it.

-Kataeb president George Saadeh said the nationwide concern that was expressed over the Maronite League's poll has placed it as a national institution rather than a confessional one.

-New head of the Maronite League Pierre Helou said his win of the post is a victory for the moderate policy line. Helou received congratulations from the three presidents and other leaders. He will visit Patriarch Sfair Wednesday.

-AUB university in Beirut celebrated the 128th graduation ceremony with degrees delivered to 1,080 graduates. President Hrawi addressed the ceremony and appealed to president Clinton to initiate to save the peace process.

-Japanese Red Army five's case is to see an end on 31st July when the Lebanese court issues its sentence. Three court sessions were held so far in an unprecedented short trial in Lebanon. The Red Army five pleaded not guilty and some members asked political asylum at the court session on July 7. Their defendants said the charges against them were political. Lawyer-Mp Najah Wakim said the Lebanese government knew their whereabouts since 1985.

-Lebanese army units continue to check land mines along the Kfarfalous crossing. Journalists were asked not to come close to the eastern side of the Ain el Mir until the army clearance of land mines finishes.

-An angry taxi driver shot and killed four and critically wounded two others at Beit Shabab village in Metn. The reason was a dispute over transporting passengers at a local station at Bikfaya.

-A news agency dispatch today quoted a Lebanese organization fighting violence against women said many Lebanese women accept males violence and malpractice with silence, because having divorce is a hard mission. The dispatch said the Lebanese in general avoid to discuss violence, but women in their close meetings told stories of violence and rape cases, that were carried in the inner pages of the Lebanese dailies. The organization said male violence against women became an increasing phenomenon after the civil war.


4,200 girls and boys from 90 different schools came to the sport city yesterday to participate in first day of training for the inauguration of the Arab games next Saturday. Saleh Farroukh, who heads the inauguration and closing ceremony said the opening day will mark series of surprises, including a laser emblem welcoming to the games in Beirut. He said the opening will continue for two and half hour including the general demonstration of participating teams and delegations.

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