News from Beirut September 22  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.

Presidential election tops talks at Baabda

At the presidential palace in Baabda, the upcoming presidential election was high on the agenda of discussions. After meeting President Elias Al-Hrawi, Deputy Ahmad Swayd stressed that there was no final decision yet regarding these elections. He said things would be clearer after the expected Lebanese-Syrian presidential summit. Deputy Swayd added Hrawi is a national president who can shoulder all his responsibilities. But, Swayd did not downplay the possibility of extending Hrawi's term. He also said any political change in the country should also be applied on the executive authority. For his part, the president was quoted by his visitors today as stressing he will leave the presidential palace when his term in office ends and he will return to his home in Zahle to have some rest.

Berri updated on Boutros Harb's political program

House Speaker Nabih Berri this morning received Deputy Boutros Harb who is a candidate in the upcoming presidential elections. Deputy Harb delivered the house speaker a copy of his political program. Harb later told reporters he updated House Speaker Berri on his recent meetings with Lebanese political officials and religious figures concerning his candidacy. Harb added his discussions with Berri also centered on a number of parliamentary issues related to the subject of presidential elections.

He hoped the elections would be held in a way that preserves the spirit of  the democratic system. On the amendment of Article 49 of the constitution, Harb answered, "I am very democratic and I will lean to the opinions of the majority". Asked whether he would withdraw his candidacy, Harb said this would be decided in light of his contacts with officials in the country. He also praised Army Leader General Emile Lahhoud's constructive performance in uniting the army on a non-sectarian basis, adding he would do his best to serve him if he was elected as the upcoming head of state.

Hariri from NY says Lahhoud is in top spot

Prime Minister Rafik Al-Hariri, who is currently on a visit to the United States, today said from New York that President Elias Al-Hrawi had expressed his wish not to extend his presidential term. Hariri also said a number of candidates are now running for the elections but added there was no agreement on any of them yet. The Lebanese premier also said Army Leader General Emile Lahhoud was in top spot among possible candidates.

Premier continues regional talks in New York

The situation in South Lebanon and recent developments in the Middle East peace process are the main issues that top Prime Minister Rafik Al-Hariri's discussions with world officials in New York. Hariri started his discussions by meeting Iranian President Mohammed Khatami and French Foreign Minister Hubert Vedrine. Their talks focused on the situation in the Middle East, the deadlock in the peace process, and recent developments in Afghanistan. Hariri is expected to deliver Lebanon's statement in the UN General Assembly meeting on Thursday, stressing the liberation of South Lebanon from Israeli occupation, the unity of the Lebanese-Syrian tracks in peace talks, and tackling the situation of Lebanese prisoners in Israeli jails. The importance of just and comprehensive peace in the region will also be reiterated in his statement.

Two Israeli soldiers injured in resistance operation

The Lebanese Resistance today attacked Israeli outposts in Beit Yahoun and Rshaf. The resistance announced direct hits were scored in the attack on Beit Yahoun. The resistance also attacked today an Israeli patrol passing on the road leading to Deir Seryan, killing two Israeli soldiers.

Meanwhile, Israel today shelled the villages of Haddatha, Harees, Yater, Mazraat Al-Hamra, and the outskirts of Yohmor, Zaffateh, Dabshe, and the riverbanks of Litani. Israeli warplanes also carried out extensive flights over the area.

Vatican intervenes in solving Jezzine dilemma as Lahd reiterates threats

Senior diplomatic sources in the country yesterday said the Vatican is stepping in to ease tension in occupied Jezzine in light of the recent measures taken by the Israeli Allied Militia to restrict the movement of residents there. The sources added the Vatican is contacting both Lebanese and world powers to cool the prevailing tension in the area.

But the head of the Israeli allied militia, Antoine Lahd today reiterated his threats to Lebanon. He issued a statement this morning saying the militia will not leave the area of Jezzine. He added the militia is responsible for this area and concerned with what happens there.

Boueiz receives credential of new US ambassador

At Boustros Palace today, Foreign Minister Faris Boueiz received the credentials of the new US ambassador to Lebanon, David Satterfield in the presence of the US embassy's charge d'affairs, Greg Perry and the Canadian ambassador to Lebanon, Daniel Marchand. Satterfield is due to present a copy of his credentials to President Elias Al-Hrawi on Thursday at the presidential palace in Baabda. The new US ambassador, who arrived in Beirut last Sunday, was appointed in replacement to former ambassador, Richard Jones.

Algerian ambassador stresses situation in his country moves to the better

The Lebanese Foreign Ministry's Secretary General, Zafer Al-Hassan, today held talks with the Algerian ambassador to Lebanon, Al-Hassan Bou Faris at Boustros Palace. Bou Faris later told reporters discussions centered on bilateral ties between the two countries and possible ways to boost them.

They also discussed common issues that interest both Lebanon and Algeria. Bou Faris added his meeting at the foreign ministry tackled the subject of the upcoming presidential elections in Algeria expected next February. The Algerian ambassador also described the situation in his country as constantly moving to the better.

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