News from Beirut January 30  1998 ...Search

Congratulatory contacts at Baabda on the occasion of the feast

Lebanese President Elias Al-Hrawi today received a number of letters and phone calls from world leaders on the occasion of the feast of fast breaking or what is known as Eid Al-Fitr. Among the congratulators were US President Bill Clinton, Algerian President Liamine Zeroual, and Moroccan King Al-Hassan Al-Thani. For his part, Hrawi telephoned a number of Arab leaders on the occasion of the feast. He held talks over the phone with the president of the United Arab Emirates Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al-Nahyan.

Presidential palace sources said Hrawi thanked his Emirate counterpart for a recent donation he gave to Lebanon. Sheikh Zayed offered Lebanon a piece of land in Abu-Dabi were a new building of the Lebanese embassy is expected to be constructed. The Baabda sources added the two presidents agreed that President Hrawi inaugurate the new building during an expected visit to the United Arab Emirates to be scheduled by diplomatic channels in both countries. President Hrawi also discussed recent developments in the country with Education Minister John Obeid who visited Baabda this morning.

Hrawi later held talks with the Maronite Archbishop in Damascus Hamid Hourani on issues related to Maronites in Syria.

Hariri holds talks in Paris

Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Al-Hariri today headed to Paris after a two-day visit to Saudi Arabia. Hariri spent the Eid Al-Fitr holiday in Mecca were he performed a pilgrimage, met Saudi King Fahd and held talks with Saudi Crown prince Abdullah Bin Abdel Aziz. In Paris, the Lebanese premier is due to hold talks with French President Jacques Chirac.

Discussions are expected to center on the recent regional developments and the late Washington peace talks between US President Bill Clinton, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and Palestinian Leader Yasser Arafat.

Toufaily supporters occupy Hizbullah school in Baalbeck

About twenty supporters of Sheikh Sobhi Toufaily today occupied a scientific compound in Baalbeck which belongs to Hizbullah. Reports from Baalbeck said about thirty Hizbullah members later surrounded the empty school. The incident caused a tense atmosphere in the Baalbeck-Hermel area.

Toufaily was the former secretary general of Hizbullah between the years 1985 and 1987. He was also one of the founders of the group during the year 1982. He was officially dismissed from the group last Saturday.

Ragheb Alameh shot in foot in Amman

Hospital sources in Amman today said Popular Lebanese singer Ragheb Alameh is now in a private Amman hospital after being shot by an unknown attacker. A hospital spokesman said Alameh, who was undergoing surgery for removal of a bullet from his left foot, was in stable condition. Details of the attacks were not immediately available. Alameh was performing in Amman along with other Arab celebrities in shows by the Saudi-financed Orbit satellite television station during the three-day Moslem Eid Al-Fitr holiday.

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