Prime Minister Rafik Al-Hariri again rejected Israel's offer for a conditional pullout from South Lebanon. Hariri said Israel must either withdraw unconditionally or sign a peace treaty with Lebanon and Syria. He was speaking at his residence in Kraytem after receiving the Lebanese basketball team La Sagesse which recently won the Arab Club Championship.
The prime minister told his visitors Lebanon wants Israel to unconditionally and immediately withdraw from South Lebanon. Hariri added security will not be ensured unless peace prevails. He also stressed Lebanon will not be responsible for Israel's security in the absence of a peace treaty.
Former Prime Minister Salim Al-Hoss today voiced support to the stance of the Lebanese government in the face of Israeli maneuvers saying cabinet's rejection of the Israeli offer to unconditionally withdraw from South Lebanon also expresses the unity among all the Lebanese people concerning the full implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 425. Hoss stressed the Israeli plan was also aimed at destroying the unity of the Lebanese-Syrian tracks.
Deputy Talal Al-Merhbi saw that Israel is resorting to suggesting many solutions to the situation in South Lebanon that cannot be carried out. Merhbi stressed the necessity of a just and comprehensive peace in the region and the unity of the Lebanese and Syrian positions in regional peace negotiations. He added Israel does not want to implement Resolution 425 in the first place and it is placing many obstacles and conditions on Lebanon which it knows in advance that Lebanon will not accept.
The Syrian daily Baath today said the Lebanese leadership was very clear in stressing that the recent suggestions of the Israeli government are aimed at avoiding the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 425. The paper added the whole world is now called upon for exerting more efforts to save the peace process in the Middle East. It added peace will not prevail unless Israel complies with international resolutions.
The new Beirut International Airport is fully operational as of today. Passengers traveling to and from Beirut will use a new terminal building which was opened today. The building includes two VIP lounges and a substantially larger duty free space. A business center and health club for transit travelers will be completed at a later stage.
The agreement includes the issuing of bonds of one billion Lebanese liras. It was signed by Acting Finance Minister Fouad Sanyoura and the Near East Representative of Parisbas, Nicholas Constantinesco. After the signing, Sanyoura stressed the importance of the agreement saying the strong demand for the issue means reflects faith and trust of Arab and International financial institutions with the Lebanese economy and fiscal policy.
Around twenty-two foreigners, mostly Lebanese, were yesterday deported from Freetown, on charges of business dealings with a militia junta that was toppled in Sierra Leone last month. Many of those listed in an official statement were involved in diamond and rice trades. Some of them have already left the country. News of the deportations shocked the Lebanese community there which has long formed the backbone of commerce in Sierra Leone. The Agence France Presse yesterday carried out the official statement which added efforts would be made to recover evaded custom duties and taxes which formed the main revenue base of the country.
The three-day holiday on the occasion of Eid Al-Adha starts next Tuesday. This was announced by Mufti of the Republic Sheikh Mohammed Rashid Qabbani. For his part, Prime Minister Rafik Al-Hariri had issued a memorandum stating that public administrations will observe a three-day closure on this occasion. In a second statement, Hariri also ordered public administrations to close on Good Friday and Easter Monday, April 10 and 13, for the Catholic and Protestant faiths and on April 17 and 20 for the Orthodox.
The Luxurious Hotel in the heart of Kaslik, Jounieh, Lebanon
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