Prime Minister Rafik Al-Hariri today held a series of meetings at his residence in Kraytem to discuss preparations for local elections in the different Lebanese areas. Hariri held talks with deputy Tammam Salam. The premier later said he discussed with Salam local elections in general and particularly those expected to be carried out in the capital. Hariri reiterated his call for the necessity of separating the issue of municipal council elections from politics.
Hariri held similar discussions with Mufti of the Republic Sheikh Mohammed Rashid Qabbani who later called on the massive participation of Lebanese citizens in these elections. The premier also received today deputy Ali Hassan Khalil, Information Minister Bassem Al-Sabaa and Deputy Bahiyyah Al-Hariri. Hariri stressed the important role municipal councils can play in the reconstruction process locally and nationally. He is expected to meet Minister of the War Displaced Walid Jumblatt later this evening.
The prime minister returned last night from a visit to Saudi Arabia where he held talks with Saudi King Fahd and top officials in the Kingdom concerning bilateral relations and recent developments in the peace process.
Maronite Patriarch Cardinal Nasrallah Boutrous Sfier today met at Bkirki deputies Qabalan Issa Al-Khoury and Joubran Tawk. The two deputies briefed the Maronite Patriarch on their efforts to form a consensus electoral list in the area of Bsharri. Sfeir also held talks with former minister George Ifram who later said he informed Sfeir about his efforts to reach a consensus electoral list in the elections of the municipality of Jounieh.
The Maronite Patriarch also received a phone call from President Elias Al-Hrawi concerning his latest trip. Sfeir returned from the Vatican this weekend where he attended the beatification of Lebanese monk Naamatallah Hardini.
German Deputy Foreign Minister Warner Hoyer today visited President Elias Al-Hrawi, House Speaker Nabih Berri and Prime Minister Rafik Al-Hariri. The German official accompanied by the German ambassador to Lebanon Peter Wittig also held talks with Foreign Minister Faris Boueiz at Boustrous Palace. He later said economic development in Lebanon will parallel Europe's future economic development. The German official is expected to deliver a speech this evening titled " Europe and the Middle East" at the Commodore Hotel in Beirut.
The French Ambassador to Lebanon Daniel Jouanneau today announced from the foreign ministry that the visit of French President Jacques Chirac to Lebanon is an exceptional issue especially that it will be his third visit during the last two years. The French ambassador said Chirac will express his country's support to Lebanon stressing its efforts in the reconstruction process of Lebanon. Jouanneau reiterated his country's stance which calls for the implementation of UN Resolution 425 without any amendments. The French ambassador was speaking to reporters at the foreign ministry following talks with Foreign Minister Faris Boueiz which centered on Chirac's schedule in Lebanon and the preparations for his visit.
Jouanneau also told reporters he briefed Boueiz on Chirac's recent talks with the UN Secretary General Kofi Annan in Paris last week concerning Resolution 425.
Lebanon's public technical and vocational education teachers today held a strike to protest the government's delay in appointing them as permanent staff. This despite a law issued two years ago stipulating this decision.
Teachers are threatening not to correct official exams at the end of the academic year. The strike was announced on May 15 in a statement issued by the higher committee for teachers on contract in technical and vocational training.
Two agreements were signed over the weekend by Lebanon and the United Arab Emirates on preventing double taxation on income and capital. The accords also aim to encourage investments and increase the trade volume between the two countries. Acting Minister of Finance Fouad Sanyoura signed the deals in Abu-Dhabi with his UAE counterpart.
The second annual campaign to clean up Lebanon's coastline was carried out yesterday in different areas around the country. Thousands of volunteers took up to the shores to clean up the garbage. The campaign is organized by the Operation Big Blue Association which also aims at protecting our environment and encouraging respect for it among the Lebanese. The private waste management company Sukleen also participated in the campaign by separating waste in glass, paper and metals in a bid to be taken to factories for recycling. Lebanese scouts, Red Cross volunteers, environmentalists, students, and even UNIFIL soldiers also helped in the one-day nation-wide campaign encouraged by Lebanon's Environment Ministry.
Agriculture Minister Shawki Fakhoury announced his ministry has opened a website on the Internet as part of a development plan expected to be completed by the year 2000. Those interested can visit the new homepage to check the ministry's newsletter and agricultural statistics on farming, investment and research. The site will be overseen by experts and technicians from the International Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
The Luxurious Hotel in the heart of Kaslik, Jounieh, Lebanon
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