News from Beirut March 11  1998 ...Search

Hariri continues judicial, financial and political consultations

At government palace today, prime minister Rafik Al-Hariri held a meeting with members of the Lawyers Syndicates in Beirut and the North as part of  his consultation efforts aimed at discussing socio-economic, political and other vital issues with concerned officials in the country. The head of the lawyers syndicate in Beirut Antoine Klymos said after the meeting efforts should be made in the direction of bridging the wide gap between the Lebanese government and its people to give the Lebanese hope for a better future for their country. For his part the head of the syndicate in the North, George Tawk, called on the government to support the country's judicial authority financially and morally. The syndicate representatives also told reporters at the government palace a follow-up meeting will be held with prime minister Hariri soon to assess the situation of the country's judicial authority. The premier later received a delegation from the press syndicated headed by Mohammed Al-Baalbacki. He also met Deputy Abdel Rahim Mrad in the presence of Acting Finance Minister Fouad Sanyoura who later stressed the importance of administrative reform in the country's development. The premier also held talks today with the Egyptian Minister of Social Affairs, Mervat Tlawi in the presence of the Egyptian Ambassador to Lebanon, Adel Al-Khodari. The Egyptian Minister praised the country's efforts at reconstruction and development.

Hazeem and Fakhoury praise Hariri's consultation bid

Roman Orthodox Patriarch Ognatiuos IV Hazeem today praised Hariri's consultation bid describing his meeting with the premier at the beginning of this week and frank and useful. Hazeem was speaking to reporters following a meeting of the board of trustees in the University of Balamand.

Hazeem added a lot has been accomplished in the contrite during the past five years. Also present at the meeting was Agriculture Minister Shawki Fakhouri who later called for more consultations and exchanges of views between Lebanese officials in a bid to discuss ways to overcome current economic problems in the country. Fakhoury also said the Lebanese-Syrian summit might be held within the next two days and it might include a number of officials who will discuss recent Israeli maneuvers regarding UN resolution 425 and the Israeli proposal of a conditional withdrawal from South Lebanon.

Berri reportedly says any constitutional amendment must be discussed soon in parliament

House Speaker Nabih Berri was quoted today by visiting deputies as saying no date has been yet set for the Lebanese-Syrian summit expected to be held in Damascus. Berri also reportedly said any call for a constitutional amendment should be presented to parliament for discussions during before March 15. Berri was quoted by deputies as saying he had no information on any proposed amendment on Article 49 which deals with presidential elections. Parliament sources said the House Speaker told one of the visiting deputies municipal and mayoral elections will be held on time. He also reportedly reiterated Lebanon's clear stance regarding UN Resolution 425 which calls for the immediate and unconditional withdrawal of Israeli troops from South Lebanon and the Western Bekaa. Berri later spoke over the phone with Saudi King Fahd Bin Abdel Aziz after he was admitted to hospital on Monday for treatment of a bladder infection.

Baabda hosts a series of meetings

At the presidential palace in Baabda, President Elias Al-Hrawi today discussed current developments with Oil Minister Shahe Barsoumian. He also held a one-hour meeting with Archbishop Bshara Al-Raii who refused to disclose to reporters the subject of his discussions with the president.

Hrawi later met the regional director of UNESCO Qassem Bin Saleh. Deputy Abdel Latif Al-Zein later visited the president along with a delegation from the Al-Itimad Al-Shaabi Bank. Baabda will later host meeting between President Hrawi and Prime Minister Rafik Al-Hariri in the presence of Acting Finance Minister Fouad Sanyoura and Governor of the Central Bank Riyad Salameh among a number of economic advisors and financial figures in the country. Discussions are expected to center on finding possible ways to fund the public sector pay scales project.

Monitoring group meets over truce violations

The international cease-fire monitoring group is currently in session at the United Nations Interim Forces headquarters in Naqoura. The panel is studying three complaints filed by Lebanon and three other lodged by Israel over alleged truce violations. Sources close to the meeting say discussions presented by the Lebanese side will center on the injury of a Lebanese child in the village of Mashghara as a result of Israeli shelling of the Western Bekaa. The Lebanese complaints also discuss damage caused by Israeli shelling on four civilian homes, one in the village of Haddatha, and the destruction of a school bus in the South.

In another development, the Lebanese resistance in South Lebanon today attacked the Israeli Dabshe outpost saying in a statement it scored direct hits. Israeli sources in the South later admitted the injury of two of its soldiers in the attack.

Jumblatt and Saadeh to form joint committee on war-displaced file

The head of the Progressive Socialist Party in Lebanon, Minister of the War Displaced Walid Jumblatt today received the head of the Phalanges Party George Saadeh at the former party headquarters in the area of Msaytbeh in Beirut. The meeting was attended by members and officials from both parties and it was held to continue discussions started during a visit by Jumblatt to the Phalanges' Party Headquarters last month. Both Saadeh and Jumblatt later announced a joint committee from the two parties will be formed to organize a national conference which will discuss the war-displaced file among other issues.

England participates in Baalbeck development

The British Ambassador to Lebanon David MacLenin today inaugurated a rural development project in Baalbeck aimed at channeling the water resources of Ain Kawkab to the city. The event was attended by the director of the program of rural development of the city of Baalbeck, Mohammed Naser Al-Farajani and the head of the administrative committee in the Council for Development and Reconstruction, Ghassan Sabaalani. Britain funds part of the project by providing a sum of 65,000 US dollars for its execution.

Sfeir meets Pope in Vatican

Maronite Patriarch Cardinal Nasrallah Boutrous Sfeir was received yesterday by Pope John Paul II in the Vatican. Sfeir is in Rome for a one-week visit where he will take part in the Vatican's preparations for the Catholic Synod. The Maronite Patriarch headed to the Vatican last Sunday and is expected to return to Beirut during the weekend.

Two telephone directories to be available in the market

The Ministry of Communication is in the process of packaging two new telephone directories to be available in the Lebanese market soon. The directories are being organized by the French Company ODP. The first directory will be distributed at a fairly reasonable price of 15,000 LL. It will include three books: one for the capital, the other for the rest of country and the third for professions in the country. The second directory is electronic. Any Lebanese citizen can dial extension 120 from any area in Lebanon and ask for any number he wants. The electronic service will be available for 24 hours a day provided to all Lebanese areas.

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