Iranian parliament speaker Ali Akbar Nateq Nouri today arrived in Beirut for a three-day official visit accompanied by his wife and an official Iranian delegation. He was received at Beirut's International Airport by House Speaker Nabih Berri who stressed the importance of Nouri's visit, the first by an Iranian parliament speaker to Lebanon since the Iranian revolution in 1979. This afternoon, Nouri held talks at parliament with Berri. He later headed to the presidential palace in Baabda to meet president Elias Al-Hrawi. Tomorrow, the Iranian top official will hold discussions with prime minister Rafik Al-Hariri. He is also expected to visit South Lebanon, specifically the village of Qana in a bid to pay respect to the victims of the Qana massacre. Also on that day, Nateq Nouri is expected to celebrate the anniversary of the Islamic Revolution at the Iranian embassy in Bir Hassan. On the last day of his visit, the head of the Iranian Shura Council and the accompanying delegation will hold a press conference before heading to Tehran.
Cabinet today met in the president palace in Baabda. After the meeting, government sources said cabinet decided to transfer the latest developments in the Bekaa to the country's judicial council. But cabinet also decided to prolong the period of the Lebanese army's security control arrangements in the area for another six months. After the meeting, Interior minister Michel Al-Murr revealed cabinet also discussed a possible mechanism for the execution of the government's development program in all the impoverished and displaced villages of Lebanon. Murr added this would approximately cost about 900 billion Lebanese Liras. The session was preceded by a meeting between President Elias Al-Hrawi and Prime Minister Rafik Al-Hariri in the presence of Acting Finance Minister Fouad Sanyoura and Interior Minister Michel Al-Murr.
Mothers and families of Lebanese detainees in Israeli jails today converged in front of the International Red Cross headquarters in Beirut. This has become a weekly gathering every Thursday where mothers, fathers, sisters, and wives hold the pictures of their detained loved ones protesting the harsh realities of their detention, highlighting their plight, and demanding their release. One member of the follow-up committee for Lebanese detainees in Israeli jails, Rabah Shahrour, read the weekly statement which always tries to ease the pains of those families. The statement expressed support to the residents of the occupied village of Adayseh which has been under an Israeli siege since January 14. It also condemned Israel's detention of Lebanese civilians from the village of Ferdays in Hasbayya and the expulsion of residents from the occupied village of Shibaa.
The Israeli army radio today said Two Lebanese kidnapped several years ago by Israeli commandos have appealed to Israel?s supreme court for permission to consult lawyers. Sheikh Abdel Karim Obeid, a leader of Hizbullah, was kidnapped 1989 in an Israeli commando operation and Mustafa Dirani, also a member of the group, was nabbed in 1994. The radio added the Israeli defense ministry has prohibited either men from obtaining legal counsel in violation of international law. The radio also reported the two detainees filed their appeal on yesterday and the supreme court in expected to rule on the matter in the next few days.
Prime Minister Rafik Al-Hariri will visit Malaysia on Monday where is expected to hold talks with his Malaysian counterpart Mahatir Mohammed. During the visit which will be Hariri's second to Malaysia in less than two years, Hariri will discuss developments in the Mideast peace process and the economic problems facing south east Asia. The two-day official visit is aimed at strengthening bilateral ties between the two countries. In Malaysia, the Lebanese premier is also expected to sign a treaty on information exchange and investment guarantees and protection between the two countries. Hariri will also meet the Malaysian Sultan, members of parliament, and members of the Confederation of Malaysian Banks. He will be accompanied by Acting Finance Minister Fouad Sanyoura.
The Luxurious Hotel in the heart of Kaslik, Jounieh, Lebanon
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