News from Beirut February 18  1998 ...Search

Lebanese woman wounded as monitoring group convenes in the South

An elderly Lebanese woman, Kamila Hawila, 81, was lightly wounded in Southern Lebanon. She was injured by shrapnel after a shell landed near her house in the village of Nabatiyeh Al-Fawqa. Hawila was taken to hospital in the nearby town of Nabatiyeh. Two Lebanese civilians have been killed and 17 others wounded in the South since the beginning of the year.

The shelling came as the five-nation cease-fire monitoring group was meet at the UNIFIL headquarters in Naqoura to consider complaints of alleged truce violations filed by Lebanon and Israel. Four complaints were filed by Lebanon and four others by Israel. Under the terms of the accord, Israel and the Hizbullah agreed to avoid attacking civilians on either side of the border or to launch attacks to and from civilian areas.

US ambassador briefs Lebanese president on US stance regarding Iraq

US ambassador to Lebanon Richard Jones held talks with president Elias Al-Hrawi at Baabda on the current developments in the region. After the meeting, Jones told reporters at the presidential palace he had the opportunity to review events in the country and the region with the president both since his absence and since his return from Washington.

Jones described the current stand-off in Iraq as a very serious affair. He added there should be full compliance with all UN resolutions and that the American administration is doing its best to persuade Iraq that this is the correct course of action. The US ambassador also said his country is happy to explore all diplomatic means to resolve the crisis but added that if these means fail, the US have made it clear that there are other options.

Responding to a question, Jones saw no relation between the American escalation against Iraq and the recent Monica gate threatening the US president. He said the affair with Iraq have been developing since at least October adding it distracts attention originally paid towards the Mideast peace process. The US ambassador concluded by saying the goal of the US is not to strike Iraq but to have it comply with UN resolutions and to get the peace process backs to the forefront because he said there's were the focus belongs.

Also at Baabda, President Elias Al-Hrawi held discussions with the president of the Beirut Arabic University. He later received a delegation from Casino Du Liban protesting the recent attack aimed at the casino's manager.

Hariri receives Jones among other visitors

After his talks at the presidential palace, the US ambassador to Lebanon headed to Kraytem where he met Prime Minister Rafik Al-Hariri. Responding to a question on UN Resolution 425, Jones later said "if we look at the history of 425 and the conditions in which it was originally adopted and we look at the conditions now, I think we have made a great deal of progress particularly in the restoration of the Lebanese state and Lebanon's ability to take over the security situation in the South". He added the US have been working very hard particularly since 1991 to create the conditions for the implementation of 425. He said his country has contributed greatly to the restoration of the Lebanese Army adding, "we are much closer today to implementing 425 than we have ever been and we will continue to work in that direction?.

The Lebanese premier also received three delegation from the Saudi-American Bank, the Lebanese Ambassadors Club, and the Follow-up Committee for the Elderly. He also discussed education issues with head of educational inspection in Lebanon Kazem Makki. The new Libyan ambassador to Lebanon later paid Hariri a protocol visit at Kraytem.

Berri heads parliament session on Iraq

House Speaker Nabih Berri headed a special session for parliamentary committees to discuss the current Iraqi crisis. Deputies refused the double standards that are being followed in the region. They also stressed Iraq's sovereignty and territorial integrity and called on reducing the suffering of the Iraqi people under the existing economic embargo on their country.

Outside parliament, an official-popular demonstration also objected any military strike against Iraq and called for the lifting of economic sanctions implemented on Iraq since its invasion of Kuwait.

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