Europe's special Mideast envoy Miguel Angel Moratinus is expected to arrive in Beirut tomorrow. Moratinus will hold talks on the latest developments in the Middle East peace process with President Elias Al-Hrawi and Prime Minister Rafik Al-Hariri. His visit to Lebanon comes as part of his continuous regional activities in this regard. The European envoy will arrive tomorrow coming from Damascus where he held discussions with top Syrian officials over the European initiative aimed at playing an active role in activating the peace process. Following his last visit to Beirut, Moratinus handed a strategic report on the Mideast to foreign ministers of EU countries during their meeting in Brussels.
Before leaving Beirut to Morocco, Foreign Minister Faris Boueiz announced the French-Egyptian initiative calling for an international peace conference has not yet been crystallized. Boueiz was speaking to reporters at the Beirut International Airport before heading to Al-Dar Al-Baydaa.
Boueiz also said such a conference could not be an alternative to the peace process also adding it does not differ from peace principles. The Lebanese Foreign Minister told reporters he was officially invited to visit Morocco by King Hasan II. The Moroccan King this year presides over the Jerusalem committee which is expected to hold an emergency meeting to discuss developments in the region in light of Israel's hard-line policies and its premier's rejection of all peace principles.
Prime Minister Rafik Al-Hariri told the Lebanese An-Nahar newspaper that political and administrative reform is highly needed in Lebanon. For its part, the daily As-Safir quoted sources in the country as saying the premier will not form a cabinet following the presidential elections in the fall as long as war mentalities dominate public administrations in Lebanon.
Prime Minister Hariri is expected to return to the country this evening after spending a short private holiday in Sardinia. The premier is expected to give a speech tomorrow highlighting a number of current local developments during a ceremony held to lay the foundation stone for the Lebanese University in Haddath.
Cabinet is expected to meet on Wednesday at the presidential palace of Baabda. 22 clauses are to top the agenda of discussions. The ordinary session will tackle issues presented by the Oil Ministry. A suggestion by the ministry concerning the case of a collective work contract to be signed with workers in the field in Tripoli and Zahrani is also included in the agenda. Decisions regarding a number of reconstruction projects are also expected to be issued. Telephone fees are also to be discussed.
The former chief of staff of the disbanded Lebanese Forces Fouad Malek today said the LF is not linked to the recently unveiled sabotage network. Malek was talking to reporters after he and Sethreeda Geagea, the wife of the leader of the disbanded Lebanese Forces Samir Geagea, appeared before the military court earlier today. Magistrate Riad Taleeh separately questioned Geagea and Malek. The military magistrate is trying to see whether they can contribute to investigations into activities of certain members in the sabotage ring who allegedly belonged to the LF. Malek later condemned the ring accusing Israel of being behind it. The network, believed to be working for Israel, is accused of a series of sabotage acts in the country.
At Boustrous Palace today, the foreign ministry's director general Zafer Al-Hasan today received the Russian ambassador to Lebanon Oleg Presipkin.
They discussed the schedule of the expected official visit of Al-Hasan to Russia next September. For his part, the Russian ambassador reiterated his country's support for the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 425. Presipkin said the resolution should be applied alongside the Syrian track.
An official in the Sultanate of Oman recently announced Sultan Qabbous would soon appoint an ambassador to Lebanon. Oman's embassy will re-open in Beirut next month. Lebanon and Oman had agreed to re-open the embassy in Beirut during Prime Minister Rafik Al-Hariri's visit to the Sultanate in the year 1993. In 1994, the Lebanese government opened an embassy in Muscat.
Under the patronage of Italian President Oscar Luigi Scalfaro and Lebanese President Elias Al-Hrawi, the famous Italian opera house La Scala Di Milano performed late last night at the Forum de Beirut. An entirely Italian program was presented by around 200 orchestra members. Upon his arrival to Lebanon, the opera's conductor Riccardo Muti expressed his joy at visiting Lebanon saying it is like a dream come true for La Scala to perform here in Beirut. He also stressed the importance of music in creating dialogue between the different cultures of the world.
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