The questioning process of those arrested for involvement in a sabotage network in contact with Israel began today. The investigations are being handled by Lebanon's Military Court. The ring groups members belonging to the disbanded Lebanese Forces.
This topped the agenda of talks today between President Elias Al-Hrawi and Justice Minister Baheej Tabbara at Baabda. Discussions also centered on investigations underway regarding the recently uncovered 77-member spying network accused of collaborating with Israel.
President Hrawi also discussed today recent developments in the Mideast peace process with the Egyptian Ambassador to Lebanon Adel Al-Khodari. Al-Khodari later said he also tackled with the Lebanese President the expected visit of Egyptian Foreign Minister Amro Moussa to the United States in addition to the recent Egyptian-Jordanian-Palestinian summit held in Cairo.
A delegation of freed prisoners, their families and a number of officials today conferred with Prime Minister Rafik Al-Hariri on the occasion of the day of the detainee which falls on July 14. Hariri stressed to his visitors the government will continue its efforts to press for the release of all Lebanese detained in Israeli jails. He added the government will begin executing some concrete steps in a bid to help the freed ones re-integrate in society and assist them in leading a descent life. The head of the follow-up committee for Lebanese detainees in Israeli jails, Mohammed Safa, told reporters at government palace the premier reiterated to his visitors the government's duty towards the freed prisoners. The premier will also charge a team to conduct surveys on the situation of all freed detainees and their physical, financial, occupational, and social state in a bid to provide them with all their needs as soon as possible.
A conference on Arab Women was opened today at the Coral Beach Hotel in Beirut under the patronage of Prime Minister Rafik Al-Hariri. In his speech, the premier stressed the importance of the active participation of women in a country's political life hoping this will be applied in Lebanon during the next cabinet re-shuffle due after the presidential elections.
Hariri added the Arab woman is a politically mature woman. He also said the national balance achieved during the municipal and mayoral election process in Lebanon will still be marred by the imbalance in women's participation in the municipal council of the capital and all other areas in the country.
He added the government is determined to avoid this mistake during the next elections. In the name of President Elias Al-Hrawi, Hariri today honored the head of the Lebanese Women Council Linda Matar in appreciation of her efforts in serving women and society.
The parliamentary joint committees will continue studying and discussing the remaining clauses of the public sector pay scales draft law during a scheduled session next Tuesday. The committees yesterday ratified a 30% increase on the salaries of those retired prior to 1-1-97. Acting Finance Minister Fouad Al-Sanyoura today noted that the government could not ensure necessary funds for the ratification of the draft law up to now asking how could the government then cope with a 30% increase on retirement pensions.
Sanyoura suggested further dialogue be conducted in this regard between the deputies. He also called on the necessity of maintaining balance between justice and capabilities.
Assistant US Secretary of State Martin Indyk today stated US President Bill Clinton had taken the decision of lifting some American travel restrictions on Lebanon following the visit of Prime Minister Rafik Al-Hariri to the United States. He added the security situation in Lebanon is better than before saying the travel ban was lifted for this reason. Indyk also noted the Awkar incident did not target the US embassy but the security situation in the country and bilateral ties between Lebanon and the US. He also said the Lebanese authorities took a number of immediate and quick measures to handle the issue. On Israel's latest offer regarding UN Security Council Resolution 425, Indyk said the offer meant an Israeli acceptance of the resolution 20 years after it was issued adding this was a positive step.
The head of the political wing of the Palestinian Liberation Organization Farouq Al-Kaddoumi will arrive in Beirut tomorrow. During his three-day visit to Lebanon, Kaddoumi is scheduled to hold talks with a number of top officials in the country. His discussions will mainly focus on recent developments in the Middle East peace process. The PLO official is also expected to discuss the situation of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon.
Prime Minister Rafik Al-Hariri will open the Arab Scouts Camp held this evening in Smar-Jbeil. More than 3000 scouts are participating in the event which is held over a period of 10 days. The head of the Union of Lebanese Scouts, Mount Lebanon Governor Mohammed Suhail Yammout today announced most of the Arab scouts delegations have arrived to Lebanon. He added the scouts are laying their final touches on the scouts city of Smar-Jbeil in preparation for the opening of their camp this evening. Yammout also said the program includes a number of environmental, social, touristic, and educational activities to be carried out in a number of Lebanese areas.
A number of family members, friends, artists, government officials and diplomats today attended the funeral of famous singer and actress, Nour Al-Huda who died yesterday at the age of 74 after suffering from liver and lung infections. During her 60-year-career, Al-Huda was honored and received medals from a number of Arab and foreign officials who appreciated her art. With a record of around 100 songs and 30 movies, Nour Al-Huda's sweet voice and honest performance will never be forgotten.
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