News from Beirut February 11  1998 ...Search

Hariri arrives in Azerbijan after a two-day visit to Malaysia

Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Al-Hariri is on a one-day official visit to Azerbijan. After his Malaysian visit he returned to Beirut and later headed to Azerbijan where he is expected to hold talks with Azeri officials on bilateral ties and ways to boost cooperation between the two countries.

During his last round of talks in Kuala Lumpur, the Lebanese premier voiced confidence that Malaysia would emerge much stronger from its economic crisis and told the people to have in their country. Hariri told a gathering of Malaysian bankers Lebanon, which is reconstructing its economy from the ravages of a civil war, was in a much more difficult situation than Malaysia. He suggested that Malaysian bankers should exchange ideas with their Lebanese counterparts and benefit from them. But Malaysian Prime Minister Mahatir Mohammed said his country had shelved plans to invest in  Lebanon as it grapples with it sown economic crisis.

Lebanon reiterates opposition to military strike against Iraq

During his officials visit to Malaysia, Prime Minister Rafik Al-Hariri said Lebanon opposed military action against Iraq but wanted Baghdad to cooperate with United Nations weapons inspectors. Hariri accused the international community of applying double standards and said his country also wanted Israel to comply with UN resolutions. He added Lebanon wanted the international community to hold Israel to the same standards as Iraq and make the Jewish state comply with UN resolutions. Israel has so far refused to implement resolution 425 which calls for its unconditional withdrawal from South Lebanon and the Western Bekaa. The Lebanese leader further told reporters at Kuala Lumpur Lebanon wanted to see Iraq cooperating with UNSCOM which is there to assure that all the mass destruction weapons have been destroyed.

Monitoring group says Israel hit Lebanese civilians

During its second meeting in one week, the five-nation cease-fire monitoring group held Israel responsible for killing and wounding Lebanese civilians. The panel, finding Israel at fault also for a second time this week, held it responsible for three separate incidents on February six that killed a civilian man and wounded two others. Under the terms of the 1996 April understanding, civilians cannot be targeted. A statement by the group thus blamed Israel for killing a farmer, Mohammed Khalil Ibrahim, in Majdel Zoun on the edge of the zone Israel occupies in the South. Israeli mortar rounds also injured one civilian and damaged three houses and an electrical unit in the village of Yater, outside the zone. In a third incident, an

Israeli shell injured a shepherd in southeast Yater but monitors accepted that it was unintentional. Israel maintained that it was not responsible for the death of the farmer because it had not detonated bombs, which it said were aimed at Hizbullah. The statement added the group reiterated that Israel and those cooperating with it are responsible for the manner in  which they use explosive devices. The group last week found Israel responsible for three attacks that injured four Lebanese civilians and destroyed a water supply system in January.

In another development, Israel shelled the outskirts of Sojod, Rayhan, Mazraat Okmata, and Jabal Al-Rafii in the Iqlim Al-Touffah area. Israel also lifted its siege on the village of Adayseh by allowing its residents entry to and exist from their village for the first time after three weeks of Israeli siege.

International campaign to be launched for the protection of Tyre archeology

Minister if Culture and higher Education Fawzi Hobeish announced an international campaign will be launched to protect archeological sites excavated in the city of Tyre. the campaign will conduct comprehensive surveys on the city. This will be accompanied by development plans which include renovating, infra-structure, lighting, and sewage systems. The campaign will be officially launched during a visit to the city by UNESCO's secretary general Frederico Mayor scheduled for the third of March.

EU representative discusses Santer's expected visit to Lebanon

The European Commission representative in Lebanon, Demitris Korkolas, held a press conference in Beirut highlighting the program of the visit of the European Commission president, Jacques Santer to Lebanon which is expected on February, 12. Santer will visit Lebanon on a last leg of a regional tour in Cairo, Jordan, Syria, Israel, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Korkolas also discussed bilateral relations between Lebanon and the European Commission adding cooperation should be boosted on all levels whether social, economic, financial, or cultural.

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