Prime Minister Rafik Al-Hariri will start talks tomorrow in Washington. Hariri left Beirut this morning accompanied by Acting Minister of Finance Fouad Sanyoura, the secretary general of the prime ministry, Hisham Al-Shaar, and Hariri's advisors Nuhad Al-Mashnouk, Abdel Latif Al-Shamaa and Ghassan Daher. Government sources said the prime minister will meet US President Bill Clinton and his national security advisor Samuel Berger tomorrow morning at the White House. Hariri will also hold talks with US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and a number of US Congressmen.
On Friday, Prime Minister Hariri is schedueled to go to New York to meet UN Secretary General Kofi Annan. His talks with Annan are expected to center on recent Israeli offer regarding the conditional implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 425 and the extension of the mandate of the UN Interim Forces in South Lebanon.
Yesterday, Hariri met President Elias Al-Hrawi and House Speaker Nabih Berri to brief them on the schedule of his official visit to the United States.
Preliminary results in the Bekaa local polls showed that the list of the decision of Zahle won 16 seats in the city's municipal council. The list is supported by deputy Elie Skaff and George Al-Hrawi, the son of President Elias Al-Hrawi. The remaining five seats were occupied by candidates running under a rival ticket supported by President Elias Al-Hrawi, his two sons, Roy and Roland, his nephew deputy Khalil Al-Hrawi, Agriculture Minister Shawki Fakhoury and Tourism Minister Nicola Fattoush.
In Baalback, the electoral list supported by the Amal Movement and the political parties in Baalback also won 16 seats in the city's municipal council. Hizbullah-backed candidates won the remaining five seats.
Official results of the Bekaa local ballots will be announced later today by Interior Minister Michel Al-Murr. Voter turnout was estimated to have reached an average of 60% in the governorate.
A military source today said army forces charged with maintaining security in the Bekaa governorate during the municipal and mayoral elections arrested some 105 violators of security procedures in the areas of Marj, Hraybeh, Maaraboun, Tarayya, Baalback, Shmestar and Zahle. Some were arrested for firing machine guns and others for engaging in disputes and fist fights. All the arrested were referred to specialized judicial authorities.
Maronite Patriarch Cardinal Nasrallah Boutrous Sfeir today received deputy Bahiyaa Al-Hariri at Bkirki. Al-Hariri later stressed the importance of holding municipal and mayoral elections in the country. She added any complaints on the local elections law can be examined during the coming period and amended in the future. Deputy Al-Hariri also stressed the special relationship between the Maronite Patriarch and Prime Minister Rafik Al-Hariri is built of mutual respect. Al-Hariri also expressed disappointment at the disagreements witnessed in Zahle between members of the same family.
Former Prime Minister Salim Al-Moss is scheduled to visit former minister Fouad Boustrous later today. Discussions are expected to center on the results of the municipal and mayoral elections in Beirut. Al-Hoss and Boustrous will also hold talks on a number of current economic and political issues in the country.
The five-nation cease-fire monitoring group is scheduled to meet tomorrow morning at the UNIFIL's headquarters in Naqoura. The group will look into a complaint filed by Lebanon over Israel's violation of the truce agreement by shelling the civilian areas in the town of Joun in Iqlim Al-Kharroub.
The bombardment resulted in the damage of four civilian homes. The panel bans attacks to and from civilian areas. In another development, Israeli warplanes carried out extensive flights over different areas in South Lebanon. Mock air raids were also carried out over the village of Nabatieh and Iqlim Al-Touffah.
In her letter to her Lebanese counterpart Faris Boueiz, the Indian foreign minister stressed her country's support for Lebanon and for the unconditional implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 425. The letter comes as a reply to a message she earlier received from Boueiz revealing Lebanon's stance on the recent Israeli offer to conditionally withdraw from South Lebanon. The letter was delivered by the Indian ambassador to Lebanon. At Boustrous Palace, the Indian ambassador denied to reporters some Lebanese newspaper reports alleging that his country was involved in nuclear and technological cooperation with Israel.
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