News from Beirut August 23  1997 ...Search

Latakia Summit Laid Down Framework of Confronting Israel's Escalation

-The sudden summit yesterday held at Latakia-Syria from 11.00 a.m. to 7.00 p.m. between president Elias Hrawi and his Syrian counterpart president Hafez Assad said to have been motivated by the rapid developments in south Lebanon and the M.E.

Syrian foreign minister Farouk Sharaa attended the summit for a while before leaving the two presidents to hold a marathon private meeting. The seven hour summit, that came earlier to a meeting by the Lebanese Syrian high council scheduled for next week, has laid down framework of confronting the Israeli military escalation. The new date of the high council's meeting is not yet fixed. Syrian officials advised their Lebanese counterparts to defuse tension in their inter relation before the meeting takes place. The two major topics on the agenda were the developments in south Lebanon and Israel's persistence to separate the peace tracks of Lebanon and Syria, in addition to some local domestic files. News reports today mentioned a possible government reshuffle and the restructuring of the internal security forces ISF as some of the domestic topics. The Syrian presidency spokesman Jubran Kourieh said the two presidents discussed the Israeli military escalation in south Lebanon, its motives and backgrounds and its impacts, "also the camouflage purposes of the Israeli proposals on marginal and unilateral steps that were far from the peace process". The Syrian statement meant a rejection to any maneuver that might take place under the name of Jezzine. The BBC radio station quoted Syrian sources saying that president Hrawi briefed his Syrian counterpart on the military and internal situation in Lebanon. The same sources said Lebanon and Syria took notice that Israel is trying to intimidate Lebanon into a military confrontation.

The Ceasefire Monitoring Panel

-The five nation ceasefire monitoring committee continued its meeting at Naqoura for the third consecutive day. Israel yesterday filed another complaint bringing total number to 11. The new complaint was against the Islamic resistance operation on SLA patrol at Bint Jbeil-Ain Ibel main road where one SLA man reported wounded.

Israel claimed that the operation took place in a residential area. The resistance said the roadside bomb explosion there was not far from the command post of Israel's west sector brigade. The monitoring panel is facing difficulty to issue a final statement. Israel is opposing its condemnation, while Lebanon and Syria are persisting to condemn the shelling of Sidon. The Lebanese and Syrian delegation were facing an Israeli attempt to bring discussion far from the objective, and tried to shift it into discussing a new security accord.

-Israel's defense minister yesterday rejected Israeli unilateral withdrawal from the security zone in south Lebanon saying the mission of the zone is to prevent infiltration to Israel. He said such unilateral withdrawal would be a gambling on the life of people. He also rejected expanding the occupied security zone saying such a move will force Israel to pay a high cost in men and equipment, without being sure that the results would be better.

House Speaker-Resistance

House speaker Nabih Berri yesterday inaugurating a new public school in south Lebanon said Israel has not the efficiency to launch a front war against Lebanon but can launch war on installments. Berri said "now with loud voice and despite the massacre in Sidon, I say Israel is inefficient to harm Lebanon and cannot frighten the Lebanese with its artillery shells' war drums on the outlets of Beirut and Baalbek and the hills of Naameh". He said Israel is now releasing itself of Sidon's massacre same as it did on Qana massacre. Mr. Berri revealed that until (yesterday's) morning the Israeli delegation at Naqoura was reiterating that the SLA was the one responsible of the shelling at Sidon, but "we all know that it were the same artillery that shelled the village of Qana last year, and it is Israeli artillery, and in case some artillery pieces were delivered to the SLA Lahd it will be under the supervision of Israel". He added that Israel is responsible of Lahd's actions and neither the Lebanese delegation nor the monitoring committee can accept other than putting the responsibility on Israel, otherwise, "it means everyday Israel can instruct the SLA to shell our people and land and then release itself and figure out the battle as one between Lebanese against Lebanese". Berri said Israel should not play the game of Jezzine V/S Sidon, " as we are from Jezzine and for Jezzine also from Sidon and for Sidon". He affirmed that Lebanon is supporting the resistance as an option and said Israel is trying to cause a split between the resistance and the people. He preferred as a resistance tactic the explosive blasts and surprise attacks saying this tactic will continue. He said the AMAL movement is with the resistance explosive blasts' style but not with the resistance shelling.


-Lebanon foreign minister Fares Boueiz yesterday reviewed the situation in south Lebanon and the M.E. with the US visiting senator Robert Curry, a democrat and leading member of the CIA committee, who arrived from Damascus. The US senator said he is in Beirut as part of his M.E. tour to listen to the Lebanese officials views. He described the artillery shelling of Sidon as tragic. He said he has no information about a new US peace initiative in the foreseeable future. He said all he knows is that Mrs. Albright has postponed her visit to the region. He denied delivering any message from Israel to Lebanon over the peace process. Minister Boueiz said the postponement of the visit of Mrs. Albright is temporary and until a time she can undertake a real initiative after collecting more information and have clear image of the situation. Boueiz said the SLA cannot take any independent military action without consulting Israel, and consequently Israel is responsible of the shelling. He said it is expected that this fact is to be announced by the monitoring committee in order to maintain its credibility.


-The NLP party yesterday urged president Elias Hrawi to take initiative and rescue Jezzine by visiting the area to encourage its people to steadfast and deploy the Lebanese security forces. The party said the slogan Jezzine First is meaningless because the Lebanese state authority presence there always existed in Jezzine which is not a part of the occupied security zone.

-Sheikh Subhi Tufeili took the initiative and visited Hizbullah secretary general sheikh Hassan Nasrallah. News reports argue today if Tufeili will rejoin Hizbullah or reach a common denominator with Hizbullah on the social demands and its framework.

-The state run Tele Liban television station is facing bankrupt. Some news reports said the prime minister is thinking of announcing the bankruptcy that will help dismissal of the station's employees. The Tele Liban board meeting with the information minister Tuesday may result into a decision.

-Baccalaureate students including the three branches who failed in the first round can sit for the official examinations' second round on 10th to 12th September, the education ministry announced.


-The Ansar football player Malek Hassoun has been named the best player in the Viceroy Championship Cup/97. The announcement came at a press conference held at Marriot hotel in Beirut in presence of the Football Federation and massive participants. For the title of best striker Seven strikers were given equal grades including Ali Kazem, Abdel Latif Helou, Mohammed Moussa, Wael Nazha, Midhat Ramadan, Bilal Zaghloul, and Walid Dahrouj. Three cups were awarded by lottery to three players including Ali Kazem, Mahmoud Moussa and Bilal Zaghloul. The best player title went to Malek Hassoun, seconded by Ansar player Ahmad Saksouk, and the third was Korkine -Homenmen. Hassoun was handed the cup and a $1,000 financial award.

-Lebanese Safaa football team yesterday defeated the Syrian police 1-0 in a friendly match at Safa stadium in Beirut.

-The Egyptian football striker of Alexandria team Mohammed el Baida is to play for the Lebanese Ansar during the coming season. El Baida is the 7th player to join Ansar. He said he will not be able to play with Ansar during the Super Cup championship on Sunday.

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