News from Beirut November 11  1998 ...Search

Hrawi warns against a Mideast catastrophe

President Elias Al-Hrawi warned against agreements currently being planned that might be catastrophic to Lebanon and the whole Middle East region. Hrawi was speaking during a ceremony to honor Bank Audi's president of the board of directors, Ryamond Audi.

In another development, President Hrawi was admitted to hospital late yesterday due to a mild heart stroke. Presidential sources said the president's health condition is stable now.

Preparations for Lahhoud's accession continues

President Elias Al-Hrawi and President-elect General Emil held a business meeting at the Baabda presidential palace. This is the second meeting between the two leaders in a period of less than a week.

Following more than one hour of talks, Lahhoud left the palace without making any statements to reporters. Their meeting comes under the framework of ongoing preparations ahead of Lahhoud's official accession to the presidency of the Lebanese Republic on November 24. The two leaders are discussing the hottest political and economic files of the upcoming phase.

Lahhoud meets a number of deputies and ministers

President-elect General Emil Lahhoud held discussions with some 13 deputies who reported his insistence to modernize and reform the country's administration system and monitoring councils. Lahhoud later received deputies from the Northern Parliamentary Bloc.

The president-elect also met Minister of Vocational and Technical Training, Farouq Al-Barbir and Minister of Agriculture, Shawki Fakhoury. The former Prince of Yugoslavia also paid Lahhoud a congratulatory visit at his residence in the Bain Militaire.

Hariri meets King Fahd following Cairo visit

In Riyadh, Prime Minister Rafik Al-Hariri held talks with Saudi King Fahd Bin Abdel Aziz. Their discussions centered on bilateral ties and the general situation in Arab countries and the world. Hariri, who arrived late yesterday in the Saudi capital, is also expected to meet later today Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah Bin Abdel Aziz.

The premier yesterday concluded his three-day official visit to Cairo by meeting Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. Their talks focused on the Wye Plantation Accord, the subject of Israel's systematic theft of southern soil, and bilateral economic ties between the two countries.

Before leaving the Egyptian capital, Hariri held a press conference expressing his pessimism regarding restarting peace negotiations.

Boueiz and Kaddoumi discuss Wye River Accord

At Boustros Palace, Foreign Minister Faris Boueiz received the head of the Political Department at the Palestinian Liberation Organization, Farouq Al-Kaddoumi. Their talks mainly focused on the recent agreement signed between the Israelis and the Palestinians at the Wye Mills under US-sponsorship.

During a joint press conference with Boueiz, Kaddoumi later called on all the Palestinians to resist the agreement. Kaddoumi added the Israeli Premier is a liar and a deceiver. For his part, Boueiz described the accord as a real catastrophe for the Palestinian people.

Kaddoumi's two-day visit to Lebanon follows similar talks held in the Syrian capital with Foreign Minister Farouq Al-Sharaa.

Tabbara defends project on illicit wealth

Justice Minister Bahij Tabbara held a press conference to explain the details of the project to combat illicitly gained wealth by Lebanese officials. Tabbara defended the project refusing all criticisms voiced against it. Tabbara added the essence of the project should not be forgotten.

The Lebanese government approved the bill during last week's session and presented it to parliament. Joint parliamentary committees are expected to start discussing the project soon. The draft bill was formulated by the ministry with the assistance of UN judicial experts.

Public school students stay at home as teachers continue strike

Some 300,000 students at public schools are expected to stay at home today as their teachers continue their strike. Public high-school teachers had launched an open-ended nationwide strike on Monday and intermediary and primary teachers joined the move yesterday announcing a two-day strike.

The teachers are also expected to hold a sit-in later today in front of the UNESCO Palace in Beirut. They are trying to pressure the government to grant them salary increases and better end-of-service terms.

The strike comes at the beginning of the school year and it is also joined by a number of student committees who launched a campaign in support for the demands of their teachers.

Monitoring group meets as Israeli attacks continue

The international panel charged with monitoring the April 1996 Understanding between Israel and Lebanon started its session this morning at the headquarters of the UN Interim Forces in South Lebanon at Naqoura.

The meeting today looks into ten complaints filed by both sides over violations of the truce agreement. Lebanon filed three complaints over Israeli shelling of civilian areas in South Lebanon and the Western Bekaa.

Another Lebanese complaint deals with continuous attacks by the Israeli navy against Lebanese fishermen off the coast of Tyre. Sources also expected the Lebanese side will raise the issue of Israel's theft of rich soil from the occupation zone during the meeting.

For its part, the Israeli side to the group lodged seven complaints alleging the Lebanese Resistance launched attacks on Israeli outposts from civilian populated areas in the South. All attacks launched to or from civilian areas are banned under the April Understanding.

Meanwhile, Israeli attacks continued unabated. Israeli warplanes early this morning carried out an air raid on the hills of Sojod, Rayhan, and Jabal Al-Rafii. Heavy artillery shelling also targeted the riverbanks of Litani in the Iqlim Al-Touffah Mountain Ridges.

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