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 today called President Jacques Chirac to thank him for the special efforts he paid in the release of Soha Bshara, a stunning symbol of our national resistance. In an interview with As-Safir daily, Hariri denied Soha's release was conditioned by her leaving Lebanon or even related by handing the body of French researcher Michele Serrat who was assassinated in Lebanon during the mid 80's. Serrat is believed to be buried somewhere near the airport area.
Meanwhile, Soha today continued receiving people, at the headquarters of the Communist Party in Beirut, who came from all parts of the country to wish her good health and congratulate her on regaining freedom. At a press conference she held yesterday after meeting the premier, Soha told reporters that although she was free, she felt that she was still in Khiam with mother Fatima, Intisar, and many others. Reflecting on her harsh experience in the notorious prison, she had one advice to give for the Lebanese- set up the resistance and support those who remain in jail. Her greatest salute was for those members in the Lebanese resistance. She also thanked those who are making young people aware that the resistance is the only path towards freedom. On her attempt to assassinate the head of the Israeli allied militia, Soha had no regrets. She said she still regards him as a traitor, adding she has never considered him as a Lebanese, but as a Jew. Soha has been detained in Khiam since her attempt to kill Antoine Lahd 10 years ago. She was subject to maltreatment and torture and spent most of her imprisonment years in solitary confinement.
France today welcomed the release of Soha Bshara from the Israeli-run Khiam detention center. The French Foreign Ministry issued a statement reporting France's mediation in the case. The statement added this is a very positive step but stressed there are many other Lebanese prisoners who are still kept by Israel without trial, hoping they will be released soon. The French statement also said many officials and institutions in France have contributed to Soha's release.
Reports say that her release came as Paris reportedly informed the head of the Israeli allied militia, Antoine Lahd that his French citizenship would be canceled if he did not free her immediately. Observers expect Lahd to move to France once Israeli troops pullout from South Lebanon. For its part, Amnesty International also issued a statement welcoming Soha's release. The organization called on Israel to free all other prisoners held in its detention camps, whether inside Israel or in the occupation zone in South Lebanon.
The Syrian daily Al-Thawra today reported that Israel has taken up the policy of "revenge from Lebanon". The report added Israel translates this policy daily through its continuous attacks on South Lebanon and the Western Bekaa in the framework of its "policy of burned land". Al-Thawra expected a wide-scale Israeli attack to be carried out on Lebanon very soon. The newspaper added such a possible offensive is part of Israel's hard-line and aggressive policies, which aim at destroying the peace process and evading the implementation of international resolutions.
Lebanon was present at the 12th Non-aligned Countries' Summit, which included its meetings last night in Durban, South Africa by adopting 514 resolutions that constitute the Durban Declaration and that specify these countries' common policies for the 21st century. Lebanon's Foreign Minister Faris Boueiz, who delivered Lebanon's statement at the summit meeting yesterday, accused Israel of changing the clear principles of UN Security Council Resolutions 242, 338, and 425. Boueiz also accused the Jewish State of blocking the American role in reaching a comprehensive peace in the region. Boueiz added Lebanon demands such just peace to be achieved. Boueiz leaves Durban this evening for returning to Beirut.
The committee of the modernization and enactment of laws today started its meetings in parliament during a session headed by Deputy Auguste Bacchus. The session discussed a number of laws and draft laws, which the committee was charged of studying by House Speaker Nabih Berri. Bacchus later said the committee prepared a schedule for these laws to be restudied with priority considerations. He also said the committee will hold a meeting next week with the house speaker to listen to his comments and instructions before ratifying any law.
The executive office of the Association of Chambers of Commerce and Industry in countries of the Mediterranean Basin opened its sessions this morning at the Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Beirut. The office is scheduled to discuss institutional, administrative, and financial issues related to the association. The head of the Lebanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Adnan Al-Qassar, said during the opening Lebanon is aware of the importance of the economic challenges that it currently faces He added the country has completed negotiations related to signing an agreement of free exchange with the European Union. Al-Qassar also said such an agreement depends on political stability in the region.
Acting Finance Minister Fouad Sanyoura this morning held talks with a delegation of the syndicate of importers and exporters of frozen fish, meat, and vegetables. The head of the delegation, Samir Halwani, presented the Finance Ministry with some demands related to import, export and custom duties. The delegation also demanded that they be allowed to import frozen chicken and frozen potatoes. It also called for decreasing custom duties on imported frozen meat. Halwani told reporters after the meeting Sanyoura promised to look into their demands and to present their views before cabinet.
The Association of Family Planning today opened the annual meeting of field workers at the UNESCO palace in Beirut. The session was held under the patronage of First Lady Mona Hrawi who was also present at the opening. The meeting was also attended by a number of political officials and social figures in the country. The First Lady said in her speech that the field worker's top task is spreading awareness, especially medical awareness among the families of our rural areas. At the end of the session, souvenirs and presents were handed to a number of workers in the field in appreciation of their efforts in voluntary work.
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