President Elias Al-Hrawi returned home during the weekend after spending five days at the Sacre Coeur Hospital where he underwent a heart operation. The president is currently recuperating at his residence in Yarzeh.
Hrawi today met House Speaker Nabih Berri and a number of visiting delegations. The president later received the head of the Higher Shiite Council Sheikh Mohammed Mahdi Shamseddine and his deputy Sheikh Abdel Amir Qabalan.
The president is expected to head cabinet's final session during his term at the Baabda presidential palace next Saturday. This according to Prime Minister Rafik Al-Hariri who visited him in hospital Saturday.
President-elect General Emil Lahhoud today received former prime ministers Rashid al-Solh and Amin Al-Hafez. He also held talks today with the general commander of UN Interim Forces in Lebanon, Georgio Konrote who was accompanied by UNIFIL's official spokesman, Timor Goksel.
Last night, Lahhoud held a meeting with Prime Minister Rafik Al-Hariri. Following more than two hours of talks, Hariri told reporters he reached with Lahhoud a mechanism for cooperation adding they discussed all the important files in the country.
Lahhoud's office also issued a statement yesterday hoping that citizens and private and public committees would not organize any kind of ceremonies or rallies when he officially takes up office on November 24. Lahhoud also thanked all those who would like to express their feelings towards him.
House Speaker Nabih Berri today called on parliament to hold a general assembly meeting on the morning of next Tuesday, November 24. During the session, President-elect General Emil Lahhoud will be sworn in as the next head of state.
Berri also today sent a congratulatory message to Syrian President Hafez Al-Assad on the occasion of the 28th anniversary of the Correction Movement that brought Assad to power.
Prime Minister Rafik Al-Hariri early this morning headed to Tehran for a one-day official visit to the Islamic Republic. Shortly following his arrival in the Iranian capital, Hariri held a meeting with Iranian President Mohammed Khatemi.
Hariri later told reporters talks centered on ways to boost relations between the two countries. He added the meeting also tackled the situation in South Lebanon in addition to the regional situation. The Lebanese premier also stressed the unity of the Lebanese-Syrian tracks in the peace process and a just and comprehensive peace formula in the region.
During his short visit to Tehran, Hariri will also hold discussions with Iranian Vice President Hassan Habibi, former Iranian President Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and other officials at the Islamic Republic. Their talks are expected to focus on issues related to bilateral ties and recent regional developments in light of the Wye River Accord signed between the Palestinian Authority and the Israeli government.
This is Hariri's third official visit to Iran since he took up office. The premier is later scheduled to travel to Saudi Arabia where he will hold a number of meetings and consultations with top officials in the kingdom.
Maronite Patriarch Cardinal Nassrallah Boutros Sfeir today hoped that local, regional, and international circumstances would help the new president, General Emil Lahhoud, fulfill the hopes of the Lebanese people.
Sfeir praised the qualifications of the upcoming president. He also stressed on building a new state free from bribery and malpractice. Sfeir was speaking during his opening of the 32nd session of the assembly of Catholic patriarchs and priests. The session was held under the title of "The continuation of implementing the apostolic guidance" issued by Pope John Paul II during his visit to Lebanon last year.
Security sources in Marjayoon today reported one Israeli soldier was killed and five others wounded in a Hizbullah operation in South Lebanon. The resistance group detonated a bomb on the road leading to the village of Markaba in the central sector of the occupied zone while an Israeli patrol was passing by.
Meanwhile, Israeli warplanes today carried out air raids over the areas of Sojod and Jabal Al-Rafii. Israeli artillery shelling also targeted today Wadi Slouki and the outskirts of Kherbet Selem, Majdel Selem, and Sawwaneh.
Bilateral relations between Lebanon and Australia were today the center of talks between Information Minister Bassem Al-Sabaa and the Australian Ambassador to Lebanon.
After the meeting, the Australian diplomat said he held discussions with the Information Minister on the possibility of boosting media cooperation between the two countries. The Australian ambassador added this would enable Lebanese immigrants in Australia to be updated on the latest news of their homeland. The Lebanese community there includes some 300,000 immigrants.
The French Ambassador to Lebanon, Daniel Jouanneau, this morning visited the city of Zahle. There, he held a meeting with members in the city's municipal council headed by Assaad Zgheib. Jouanneau discussed with them ways to boost cooperation on joint projects.
In another development, the French Ambassador today handed the secretary general of the Follow-up Committee for Lebanese Detainees in Israeli jails, Mohammed Safa, an invitation from French Prime Minister Lionel Jospin to visit Paris to participate in ceremonies marking the 50th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights at the beginning of next month.
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