The Lebanese Parliament today unanimously condemned the US-British strike on Iraq. The parliament adopted a stance announced by Prime Minister Salim Al-Hoss at the beginning of a session held to continue discussions on the new government's policy statement.
Hoss earlier today held consultations with Syrian Foreign Minister Farouq Al-Sharaa on the matter. In his statement, Hoss condemned the attack on Iraq calling on the United States to stop the aggression and adopt a more just policy regarding the issues of the region in accordance with its principles of justice, freedom, and human rights.
Hoss also called on lifting the economic embargo on the people of Iraq. Many deputies also condemned the strike against Iraq during the parliamentary session today.
The British Ambassador to Lebanon, David MacLenin today explained his country's stance regarding the military strike against Iraq during a meeting with the Secretary General of the Lebanese Foreign Ministry, Zafer Al-Hassan.
Meanwhile, the Spanish Ambassador to Lebanon expressed his country's concern for attacking civilians in Baghdad.
University students across the country today held sit-ins to protest the US-British military strike against Iraq. Students held banners condemning the attack and demanding the economic embargo be lifted on the people of Iraq. Some students at the American University in Beirut said Christmas and Ramadan gifts have reached the children of Iraq through the Desert Fox Operation.
Meanwhile, a meeting is scheduled to be held this afternoon at the Carlton Hotel in Beirut to denounce the latest aggression against Iraq, its people, and children. The meeting will also discuss ways to organize popular reactions condemning the attack against Iraq.
Deputies today continued discussing the ministerial policy statement announced by Prime Minister Salim Al-Hoss earlier this week. MPs voiced their views and criticisms of the policy statement before an expected vote of confidence to be given to the new government later tonight.
A number of MPs referred to statements made by Minister of Finance George Qorom in books he published earlier. Some of Qorom's articles and books dealt with the sensitive topics of Lebanese-Syrian ties, the unity of the Lebanese-Syrian tracks in the peace process, in addition to criticizing the role of the Lebanese Resistance and the Amal Movement in the South. A number of MPs decided to postpone their confidence vote until they hear an explanation in this regard from Prime Minister Salim Al-Hoss.
Parliamentary discussions are expected to end tonight following a statement by Prime Minister Salim Al-Hoss in which he is expected to respond to criticisms and demands made by deputies during the two-day parliamentary sessions.
Former Prime Minister, Beirut MP Rafik Al-Hariri this morning headed a meeting of his parliamentary group, the National Decision Bloc. The meeting tackled discussions underway in parliament on the new government's policy statement. The bloc charged Deputy Bshara Merhej with voicing its views and decisions in parliament this evening.
After the meeting, Mr. Hariri headed to the American University Hospital in Beirut to visit former President Elias Al-Hrawi who underwent surgery. Hariri sources said the former premier will not participate in the vote of confidence session in parliament this evening.
At the presidential palace today, President Emil Lahhoud received the head of the Papal Delegation in the world accompanied by the Papal Ambassador to Lebanon.
The president also met today delegations from the Syndicate of Engineers headed by Assem Salam and the Beirut Chamber of Commerce and Industry headed by Adnan Al-Qassar.
Meanwhile, Baabda Palace departments today issued a statement saying the presidency of the republic has launched a new e-mail address through which citizens can voice their different complaints and demands. Citizens can write to the following address: email@example.com or call 05/925091, 05/925092, or send a fax to 05/451217.
Prime Minister Salim Al-Hoss today announced his cabinet will meet at the beginning of next week in its first session after his government is granted the confidence vote in parliament.
Hoss also told reporters he did not set a date yet for his expected visit to Damascus. But Hoss reaffirmed the joint Lebanese-Syrian Economic Meeting will be held in Beirut on the 28th of this month.
Some 15 Lebanese detainees in the Israeli-run Khiam Detention Center today received their parents as part of weekly visits organized by the International Red Cross Committee in Lebanon.
An ICRC convoy crossed the Kfar Tibnit border crossing early this morning before arriving at Khiam. There, families met the following prisoners: Ghassan Saeed, Ghandi Ayyoub, Ahmad Hassan, Hussein Awad, Mohammed Hareesi, Yehia Abboud, Ziad Ghenwa, Mohammed Abboud, Rabah Bou Faour, Monzer Diab, Mohammed Termos, Mohammed Qazzan, Joy Abi Safi, Hassib Fakih and Adnan Yehia.
Grand Mufti of the Republic Sheikh Mohammed Rashid Qabbani today called on the Muslims of Lebanon to keep a close watch Friday evening for the new moon signaling the beginning of the fasting month of Ramadan. Qabbani is expected to address the Moslems of Lebanon tomorrow on the occasion.
For his part, the head of the Higher Shiite Council Sheikh Mohammed Mahdi Shamseddine earlier issued a similar call, urging believers who see the new moon to inform the council between 5:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. on Friday.
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