News from Beirut September 11  1998 ...Search

Email your presidential candidates. Member of parliament Boutros Harb said he would run in Lebanon's presidential elections planned for October. You can contact him using E-mail : or read about his Personal Biography, Political Life and candidacy speech.

Lebanon signs three cooperation pacts with Egypt

As part of the objectives of his official visit to Cairo, Prime Minister Rafik Al-Hariri last evening signed three cooperation agreements with his Egyptian counterpart, Kamal Al-Janzouri. The pacts were agreed upon yesterday during a meeting jointly headed by Hariri and Janzouri and attended by the accompanying Lebanese delegation and top Egyptian officials. The agreements aim at eliminating customs barriers to allow free trade between the two countries. Hariri stressed the need to increase trade among Arab states. The Lebanese Prime Minister also said he believed the accords would benefit both Lebanon and Egypt and will prepare for the establishment of a Common Arab Market. Hariri last evening concluded his two-day official visit to Cairo.

Lebanese officials condemn Turkey's alliance with Israel

Lebanon's Foreign Minister Faris Boueiz condemned the alliance between Turkey and Israel saying Turkey was wrong in thinking this new alliance would provide it with a gateway to Middle Eastern Markets. Boueiz told Tele Liban, Lebanon is not convinced by Turkey's explanations about the reasons for its new alliance. He also expected this would lead to counter-alliances in the region.

For his part, Information Minister Bassem Al-Sabaa considered the Turkish-Israeli alliance as dangerous on both Lebanon and Syria. He added the alliance stresses Turkey's internal and regional problems. Sabaa reiterated the importance of solidarity between the people of Lebanon and Syria in the face of the new regional alliances and threats.

Deputy Nicola Ghosson, Deputy Mahmud Awwad, and Sayyed Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah also released statements condemning the new alliance. Fadlallah said the alliance was directed against Syria and Iran because of their resistance to Israeli and US policies in the region.

Visiting Swiss Deputies hope to re-adjust their country's views of Lebanon

A delegation of the Foreign Affairs Committee in the Swiss parliament is currently on an official three-day visit to the country. The head of the delegation, Christine Beerli, stated that the Swiss deputies' regional tour aims at briefing their country on the situation in the Middle East in a bid to look into possible ways to help achieve progress on the peace track. She said Switzerland has until now played no political part in the Mideast peace process because of its size, but added her government is active on a humanitarian level and is helping Palestinian refugees in Lebanon through the United Nations Relief and Works Agency. The delegation stressed after meeting President Elias Al-Hrawi yesterday at Baabda that Lebanon has regained its vitality. The Swiss Deputies also visited Foreign Minister Faris Boueiz and stated after the meeting they were hoping to re-adjust their country's views of Lebanon based on what they see during their fact-finding mission here, adding the information they receive through the media in not enough.

Britain reiterates support for 425 implementation

Britain's ambassador to Lebanon, David Ross MacLenin, expressed his country's concern with the situation in the region and especially in South Lebanon. Following a meeting with the Secretary General of the Foreign Ministry, Zafer Al-Hassan, MacLenin revealed that Britain recently contacted Lebanon and Israel, urging both countries to safeguard the 1996 April Understanding. He also reiterated the continuation of his country's efforts towards the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 425, which would ensure security in the region.

Lahd to impose strict measures on Jezzine residents as of October 1

The leader of the Israeli Allied Militia in South Lebanon, Antoine Lahd, issued a statement barring the Jezzine residents from entering or leaving the area "without first acquiring a permit from the security authorities in Jezzine." The new restrictions, issued last Saturday and disclosed by security sources Wednesday, will affect civilians, military personnel and their families, and government employees, who are to apply for permits "48 hours earlier than the time of travel" at a new office set up for this purpose in the Militia barracks in Jezzine. These measures will be effective as of October 1 and will be enforced at the border crossings of Bater-Jezzine and Kfar Falous.

Haaretz report Lahd's militiamen are in low spirits

The Israeli daily Haaretz quoted Israeli security sources as saying Israeli Allied militiamen are now in low spirits adding they do not have confidence in their future in light of a possible Israeli pullout from South Lebanon.

The paper added the members of the Militia fear that they will be tried following Israel's withdrawal on charges of collaborating with the enemy. The newspaper also added that a number of high ranking officers in the Allied Militia have obtained foreign passports to be able to escape in case Israel pulls out its troops from South Lebanon and the Western Bekaa.

Iran's Information Minister to visit Lebanon next week

The Minister of Information, Tourism, and Culture at the Islamic Republic of Iran is expected to arrive in Beirut next week. His official visit to the country is scheduled to extend between September 17 and 21. This was announced following a meeting yesterday between Lebanon's Information Minister Bassem Al-Sabaa and a delegation from the Iranian Embassy in Lebanon. During his official visit, the Iranian Minister will hold meetings with President Elias Al-Hrawi, House Speaker Nabih Berri, and Prime Minister Rafik Al-Hariri. He will also hold discussions with Information Minister Bassem Al-Sabaa and Tourism Minister Nicola Fattoush. Talks will focus on ways to boost cooperation between Iran and Lebanon in the fields of information, tourism, and culture.

Prince Albert of Monaco arrives in Beirut Monday

Upon an invitation by Agriculture Minister Shawki Fakhoury and Deputy Nabil Boustani, Crown Prince Albert of the Principality of Monaco will visit Lebanon next Monday. He will be accompanied by the Prime Minister of Monaco. During the visit, Prince Albert is expected to tour a number of plantations and forestation sites, which was founded by the help of the principality. He will also inspect protected areas in Barouk and the Shouf region. During his three-day visit, Prince Albert is scheduled to hold meetings with President Elias Al-Hrawi, House Speaker Nabih Berri, Prime Minister Rafik Al-Hariri, Agriculture Minister Shawki Fakhoury, and Army General Emile Lahhoud.

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