President of the World Bank James Wolfenson arrived in Beirut last night coming from Damascus. He was received at Beirut?s International Airport by the governor of the Central Bank, Riad Salameh and the head of the Council of Development and Reconstruction, Nabil Al-Jiser. Upon his arrival, he held a meeting with Prime Minister Rafik Al-Hariri. After the talks, Wolfenson told reporters he discussed with the Lebanese premier the general economic and financial situation in the country. He also voiced great confidence in Prime Minister Rafik Al-Hariri and his team adding that the economic situation in Lebanon is good. The banker also said he was impressed by the significant financial management in the country. Wolfenson expressed the World Bank's desire to continue working with the Lebanese government particularly in the social and educational sectors.
Also last night, Wolfenson visited the headquarters of Solidere, the company in charge of reconstructing Beirut's central district, where he held talks with the president of the company's board of directors, Nasser Al-Shammaa on Solidere's accomplishments and future plans. His visit to Solidere was followed by a tour in the capital's central district to inspect reconstruction work. The president of the World Bank concluded his visit to Lebanon this morning. His visit comes following an invitation by Prime Minister Hariri.
Prime Minister Rafik Al-Hariri today held talks in Kraytem with the Egyptian ambassador to Lebanon Adel Al-Khodari. Discussions centered on recent regional developments, the Mideast peace process and bilateral ties between the two countries. Al-Khodari later said his country is following the situation in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip with great care. He also revealed foreign minister Faris Boueiz will call for a meeting to be held shortly in Beirut by a Arab foreign ministers to coordinate stances regarding recent developments in the Mideast. He also reiterated the importance of coordination between all Arab countries at this stage. The prime minister earlier met a delegation from the Islamic Group, Al-Jamaa Al-Islamiyyah, headed by secretary general Faysal Al-Moulawy. Discussions centered on the upcoming municipal and mayoral elections in all areas of the country. Prime Minister Hariri also received today a delegation from the Lebanese dance group Karakallah headed by Abdel Halim Karakallah. The group updated the premier on its plans for the expected tour in the USA.
Baabda today announced the program of the expected visit by French President Jacques Chirac and his wife to Lebanon. Chirac will arrive on the 29th of this month and his visit will be concluded on the evening of Sunday, May 31st. His two-day visit is marked by a busy schedule which he starts on the morning of Saturday 30th by a meeting with Prime Minister Rafik Al-Hariri in Kraytem. He will then visit House Speaker Nabih Berri at his residence in Ain Al-Teeneh. Chirac is later expected to meet his Lebanese counterpart Elias Al-Hrawi at Baabda. On Saturday afternoon, Chirac will visit Lebanon's National Museum. He will later attend the inauguration ceremony of the Palais des Pins where is expected to deliver a speech. On Sunday, Chirac will hold a press conference in the Palais des Pins. Before heading to Paris, the French President will open the conference of the International Committee for Francophone Mayors in Martyrs' Square.
The subject of municipal and mayoral elections topped discussions today between the country's different officials. Interior Minister Michel Al-Murr updated President Elias Al-Hrawi on the preparations underway in the country for local elections. These preparations were also the subject of discussions today between Justice Minister Bahij Tabbra and Prosecutor General Adnan Addoum. Addoum earlier headed a meeting of the Higher Judicial Council to discuss some judicial suggestions by Tabbara.
Deputy Bahiyya Al-Hariri today continued her meetings with officials and residents in Sidon as preparations for the elections in the city are underway. Al-Hariri met a number of teachers in public schools in the city and discussed with them her plans. Meanwhile, Abdel Rahman Al-Bizri, the son of former Sidon MP Nazeeh Al-Bizri, today announced he will not run for municipal elections in the city.
For a second day today, Palestinian camps around the country continued their strike and held demonstrations in the camps of Tyre, Ain Al-Helweh, Bourj Al-Brajneh, and Shateela. Demonstrators reiterated their adherence to their homeland, Palestine, and protested 50 years of Israeli occupation of their country. They also called on the implementation of UN Resolutions 194 and 181 and other international resolutions. They called on international committees to work on freeing Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails.
Palestinian children participated in these demonstrations carrying Palestinian flags and chanting slogans for Palestine.
A joint cooperation agreement was today signed between the Syrian Industry Chambers in Damascus and Aleppo and the Lebanese Industrialists Association in Beirut. The head of the association Jacques Sarraf said the agreement guarantees more success for industrial corporations in the two countries.
The agreement was signed by Sarraf and the head of the chamber of Damascus Yehia al-Hindi and other Syrian Industrialists. The accord also aims at boosting trade cooperation and investment between industrial corporations in both countries.
The Luxurious Hotel in the heart of Kaslik, Jounieh, Lebanon
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