News from Beirut September 21  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.

Lebanese officials lean towards amendment of Article 49

A flurry of contacts and meetings between Lebanese leaders and officials have intensified as the country nears the constitutional deadline for parliament to elect a new head of state. Politicians appear to be more inclined to call for an amendment to Article 49 of the constitution which would allow first-rank government employees to run for presidential elections. The amendment would also allow President Elias Al-Hrawi to seek another term and open the door for the formal candidacy of Army Commander General Emile Lahhoud.

Presidential elections discussed at Baabda

President Elias Al-Hrawi today reportedly reiterated his rejection for any extension or renewal of his presidential term no matter what the local or regional circumstances were. The president was quoted by Deputy Jamil Shammas who visited him today at the presidential palace in Baabda. Shammas also quoted President Hrawi as saying he was preparing himself to hand the presidency over to a new head of state at the end of his term.

Hrawi also received today Immigrants Minister Talal Arslan who later told reporters his meeting with the president did not tackle the subject of presidential elections, adding talks focused on the general situation in the country.

Hariri to deliver Lebanon's statement in NY next Thursday

Prime Minister Rafik Al-Hariri arrives this evening in New York heading the Lebanese delegation to the UN General Assembly meeting. In his statement, to be delivered on Thursday, Hariri is expected to stress the unity of the Lebanese-Syrian peace tracks, the liberation of land, and the principle of  just and comprehensive peace. During his different meetings there, the Lebanese Premier will also seek international support for Lebanon and its stance regarding the full implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 425 by the immediate and unconditional Israeli pullout from South Lebanon and the Western Bekaa.

Hariri to discuss peace process deadlock with US and world leaders

During his NY visit, Prime Minister Rafik Al-Hariri is scheduled to hold talks with UN Secretary General Kofi Annan and a number of world leaders and officials who are taking part in the General Assembly meeting. Among these officials are Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah Bin Abdel Aziz, Egyptian Foreign Minister Amro Moussa, Syrian Foreign Minister Farouq Al-Sharaa, and French Foreign Minister Hubert Vedrine.Discussions are expected to focus on the escalating situation in South Lebanon and the current stalemate in the region.

After delivering Lebanon's statement in New York, Hariri will head to Washington for talks with US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright on recent efforts paid by her country in a bid to revive the deadlocked Middle East peace process.

Iranian Minister reiterates support for the Lebanese resistance

The Iranian Minister of Culture, Information and Tourism, Atallah Mahajrani, today continued his talks with Lebanese officials. He held a meeting with House Speaker Nabih Berri in the presence of Information Minister Bassem Al-Sabaa and the Director of Radio Lebanon, Fouad Hamdan. Minister Mahajrani later told reporters that he traced among all Lebanese politicians and religious figures, a definite national will to support the Lebanese resistance in a bid to liberate the land from Israeli occupation and defend Lebanon's sovereignty and independence.

Mahajrani signs media cooperation accord with Sabaa

Visiting Iranian Minister of Culture, Information, and Tourism later today signed an understanding on media cooperation between Lebanon and Iran with Information Minister Bassem Al-Sabaa. The agreement aims at introducing both peoples to important current topics. It also serves joint Lebanese-Iranian cooperation in the fields of radio, television, and news agencies. Minister Atallah Mahajrani stressed good ties between Lebanon and Iran.

The Iranian Minister later discussed with Tourism Minister Nicola Fattoush ways to boost bilateral cooperation in the field of tourism. He also held talks today with Transportation Minister Omar Miskawi. The possibility of direct land transportation between Lebanon and Iran was studied, in an aim to bring the two countries closer and encourage tourism between them.

Israel continues attacks on the South and the resistance retaliates

Israeli attacks today continued unabated on liberated areas in South Lebanon. Israel this morning shelled the area of Jabal Ali Al-Dahr and its outskirts. Meanwhile, Israeli warplanes carried out intensive flights over villages in the Western Bekaa Valley and Hasbayyah.

For its part, the resistance retaliated by attacking an Israeli patrol that was passing near the outpost of Kassarat Al-Aroush inside the zone Israel occupies in the South. The resistance announced in a statement that a number of Israeli soldiers were wounded and others killed in the operation.

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