News from Beirut September 3 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 and Political Life

Soha Bshara regains freedom after 10 years of Israeli detention

The oldest female Lebanese detainee in Israeli jails, Soha Bshara, was released at 10:00 a.m. this morning after almost a 10-year detention in the Israeli-run Khiam prison. Bshara was detained on November 7, 1988 following her attempt to assassinate the head of the Israeli allied militia, Antoine Lahd at his house in Marjayoon. Lahd was then treated in Israel. Soha was released today upon an order by Lahd himself after a detention period of nine years and 10 months, including six years in solitary confinement. She was handed to the International Red Cross Committee which took her out of the occupied zone. Her release was a result of intense efforts paid by the French Government in cooperation with Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Al-Hariri. A militia source, however, quoted Lahd as saying Soha was released for humanitarian reasons after completing her sentence.

Bshara recounts her experience in Khiam after meeting Hariri

Upon her release, Soha Bshara headed to the Grand Saray where she met Prime Minister Rafik Al-Hariri along with her family. As a symbol of Lebanon's national resistance, Bshara later briefed reporters on her difficult experience in Khiam. She reflected on her attempt to kill Lahd having no regrets and saying, "if I had to do it all over again, I would". When asked about torture in the detention camp, Soha told reporters, "I am ashamed of talking of a few electric shocks when recalling the Qana massacre". She added she would continue fighting Israel and its allies. For his part, the premier thanked the French government particularly French President Jacques Chirac for his mediation in Soha's release. Soha later headed to her house in Mar Elias where she was welcomed and greeted by family members, friends and journalists with stunning enthusiasm and extreme joy.

Hariri heads to Egypt next week

Prime Minister Rafik Al-Hariri will leave for Egypt for a two-day visit on September 9 and 10. The premier will head the Lebanese side to the Joint Lebanese-Egyptian Higher Committee during its third session. Egyptian Prime Minister Kamal Al-Janzouri will head the Egyptian side. The first session of the committee was held in Cairo during Hariri's official visit two years ago. The second session was held in Beirut during Janzouri's official visit to the country last year. During his visit, Hariri is expected to hold talks with Egyptian top officials on a variety of topics such as the situation in South Lebanon in light of Israeli escalation of attacks, the stalled Mideast peace process, and issues related to bilateral ties between the two countries. Talks will also focus on ways to develop trade cooperation and the exchange of products and services between Lebanon and  Egypt. Hariri is also expected to sign a number of cooperation agreements related to holding trade exhibitions and increasing cooperation between the seaports of Alexandria and Beirut.

New US ambassador arrives in Beirut this week

The newly appointed US ambassador to Lebanon, David Satterfield, is expected to arrive in Beirut at the end of this week to take office in replacement of former US ambassador, Richard Jones. Satterfield will later hand his credentials to President Elias Al-Hrawi at Baabda. Before heading to Beirut, Satterfield last week was quoted by An-Nahar daily as reiterating his county's support for the sovereignty of Lebanon and the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 425.

Israeli attacks continue on the South

Israel today shelled the Southern villages of Yater, Kafra, Shakra, Harees, Majdel Selem, Kherbet Selem, Sawwaneh, Wadi Qaissieh and Wadi Slouki. Meanwhile, Israeli warplanes carried out intensive inspection flights over areas in the Western and Central Sectors of the zone Israel occupies in the South.

In another development, the Israeli allied militia radio today reported Israel lodged a complaint to the five-nation cease-fire monitoring group, claiming the resistance shelled Israeli outposts inside the zone from civilian areas near the village of Yater. The radio added the panel would meet next week to discuss two complaints. Lebanon is expected to file a complaint over Israeli shelling of the villages of Mashghara and Ain Al-Teeneh in the Western Bekaa which resulted in the injury of a civilian woman, Fatima Hijazi and the destruction of nine civilian homes in the area.

Ministerial meeting discusses ways to boost Agriculture and Industry Sectors

Minister of Trade and Economy Yassin Jaber today announced that the ministerial meeting headed last night by Prime Minister Rafik Al-Hariri discussed the possibilities of reducing production cost in the sectors of industry and trade through helping these sectors reduce extra burdens.

Minister Jaber added discussions focused on ways to provide fuel oil and gasoline in reduced prices for workers in both sectors. He also revealed that the ministers of oil and finance will prepare a report in this regard during a follow-up meeting.

Boutros Harb leaves for Switzerland before starting talks with Lebanese officials

MP Boutros Harb, who is currently running for presidency of the republic, this afternoon left Beirut for a private visit to Switzerland which will last for three days. Upon his return to Lebanon at the start of next week, Harb is expected to start his meetings and discussions with top political officials in the country. He will hold a meeting next Tuesday with Prime Minister Rafik Al-Hariri at the Grand Saray. Discussions are expected to center on issues related to the upcoming presidential elections, particularly Harb's candidacy.

Miss Lebanon in Sidney for pro-environment and anti-drug tour

Miss Lebanon 97, Joelle Bohlok, arrived in Sidney - Australia late yesterday for a tour that includes three Australian states. During her visit, Miss Lebanon is scheduled to hold talks, discussions, and activities related to the environment. Bohlok had recently suggested the formation of a "Party of Environment" in Lebanon. She will also hold anti-drug meetings and organize a marathon day in a bid to help anti-drug associations there.

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