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 : BoutrosHarb@Lebanon.com or read about his Personal Biography, Political Life and candidacy speech.
Prime Minister Rafik Al-Hariri will arrive in Beirut tomorrow after talks with top Syrian officials in Damascus. The premier is today in Paris where he is holding discussions with French President Jacques Chirac. The meeting is expected to center on the outcome of Hariri's US visit. The premier last week met world leaders in New York and Washington and discussed with them Lebanese and Arab stances regarding just and comprehensive peace in the region, the joint Syrian-Lebanese peace tracks, and the liberation of land from Israeli occupation. These stances were also stressed in Hariri's statement at the United Nations General Assembly meeting in NY.
From Paris, Prime Minister Rafik Al-Hariri today announced Europe's Mideast envoy, Dennis Ross will return to the region in the coming few weeks, but this time he will be accompanied by US Assistant Secretary of State Martin Indyk in another US effort to kick-start peace negotiations in the Middle East. Hariri also stressed the results of these efforts would soon be evident, adding it is a matter of few weeks and not few months. On the Lebanese-Syrian peace tracks, Hariri said a joint work plan was reached in this regard during his talks with Syrian Foreign Minister Farouq Al-Sharaa and US officials in Washington.
Deputy Qabalan Issa Al-Khoury today praised the accomplishments of President Elias Al-Hrawi since he took up office. Al-Khoury was speaking to reporters at Baabda after meeting President Hrawi this morning. He said President Hrawi helped unite the institution of the army and other Lebanese institutions. Al-Khoury added if Hrawi wants his mandate to be extended, this will be welcomed by all. But he said the president still refuses any extension or renewal of his mandate. Deputy Al-Khoury also said the date of an expected Syrian-Lebanese presidential summit has not been set yet.
The five-nation cease-fire monitoring group today started discussing two complaints filed by Lebanon and a third filed by Israel over violations of the April 1996 Understanding. The Lebanese side to the group accuses Israel of violating the accord when its troops shelled the village of Arab Saleem on the 25th of this month, wounding two Lebanese civilians and damaging a number of civilian homes there. For its part, Israel lodged a complaint claiming that Lebanese Resistance groups shelled an Israeli outpost in the South from civilian areas in the Iqlim Al-Touffah Mountain Ridges. This is the 24th session of the group since the beginning of the year. During this period, 14 Lebanese civilians were killed and 84 injured in Israeli shelling.
As the international cease-fire panel was holding its 24th session this year today, Israeli warplanes were carrying out intensive flights over villages in the central sector of the zone Israel occupies in South Lebanon. Israeli MK inspection planes also flew over the area. Meanwhile, the area of Wadi Al-Hojeir and the outskirts of Ghandourieh were heavily bombarded from Israeli positions in the Salaa and Qantara hills.
The French ambassador to Lebanon, Daniel Jouanneau, today visited the South reiterating his country's support to Lebanon. Jouanneau started his Southern tour by a visit to Kfar Roumman. He was received there by Deputy Abdel Latif Al-Zein along with members in the village's municipal council.
They discussed the suffering of the residents of Kfar Roumman due to constant Israeli attacks on their village. Jouanneau later visited the government house of Nabatieh where he met Minister of Trade and Economy, Yassin Jaber. Jouanneau described to reporters his visit as that of friendship, adding South Lebanon has a special place in our hearts. The French ambassador also noted the different projects his country funded in this area.
At the headquarters of the UN Economic and Social Commission for West Asia in Beirut, a meeting was held today by international experts in water resources in the world. Discussions centered on the quality of fresh water and its resources in the world. The subject of sewage systems was also tackled. The conference, which extends over a period of five days, will also study ways to help developing countries solve water shortages and enhance their management of water resources. The session today was opened by ESCWA's Executive Secretary, Hazem Al-Biblawi who told participants that the conference is being held in Lebanon because the Middle East is one of the most regions in the world that suffer from water crisis.
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