News from Beirut September 9 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.

Hariri starts talks in Cairo by meeting Mubarak

Prime Minister Rafik Al-Hariri today started his talks in Cairo by meeting Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak carrying him a letter from his Lebanese counterpart, President Elias Al-Hrawi. The letter points at ways to boost bilateral ties between the two countries in addition to issues related to the revival of the peace process, which is currently deadlocked as a result of Israel's hard-line policies. Hrawi's letter also referred to the siege that is being implemented on the region by Israel and Turkey under the patronage of the US. For his part, Prime Minister Hariri reportedly stressed that it is internationally prohibited for Israel to strike Lebanon's infrastructure, siting the wide condemnation to the US's strike of a medicine factory in Khartoum.

The Hariri-Mubarak talks were attended by the accompanying Lebanese ministerial delegation and Egyptian Premier Kamal Al-Janzouri. After the one-hour meeting, Hariri refused to deliver statements to reporters. But Mubarak's political advisor, Oussama Al-Bazz, reiterated that the Egyptian President told the Lebanese delegation that he earlier informed an Israeli delegation that the revival of Lebanese-Syrian peace tracks does not contradict with any progress on the Palestinian level.

After meeting the Egyptian President, Hariri held a closed-door meeting with his counterpart, Kamal Al-Janzouri. Later, the Lebanese-Egyptian Higher Committee started discussions. Hariri is scheduled to hold talks this evening with Egyptian Foreign Minister Amro Moussa, the Secretary General of the Arab League Issmat Abdel Majid and Mubarak's advisor Oussama Al-Bazz.

Lebanese officials trace Lebanese-Egyptian talks as positive

Transportation Minister Omar Miskawi today stated that bilateral ties between Lebanon and Egypt have always been strong. But he added that these relations could be boosted through the continuous meetings of the joint Lebanese-Egyptian Higher Committee, and also through reaching an agreement of free trade between the two countries. In a statement to Radio Sawt Al-Arab, Miskawi said Israel's daily attacks on South Lebanon and the Western Bekaa aim at severing ties between the Lebanese people and the Lebanese Resistance.

For his part, Lebanon's Ambassador to Egypt Hisham Dimashkiyeh today described the discussions of the Lebanese-Egyptian Higher Committee as positive. He also praised bilateral ties between the two countries referring to Egypt's constant support for Lebanon. He added a number of agreements and accords will be signed between the two countries in the fields of tourism, culture, education, transportation and electricity.

Hrawi says he has 70 days left in office

President Elias Al-Hrawi today reportedly said he has 70 days left in office stressing he does not want his mandate to be extended for another term. Hrawi was quoted by Deputy Ahmad Fatfat who visited him today at the presidential palace in Baabda. Fatfat later told reporters he would support Deputy Joubran Tawk if her runs for the presidential elections. Hrawi later held talks with the French Ambassador to Lebanon, Daniel Jouanneau. Discussions centered on the general situation in Lebanon and the region.

The president is expected to deliver a speech tomorrow afternoon during the opening of the Second Conference of Francophone Constitutional Councils, which will be held in the UNESCO Palace. The forum will be held for the first time in Beirut according to a suggestion by French President Jacques Chirac.

Harb briefs Hariri and Shamseddine on his political program

Deputy Boutros Harb, who recently announced his candidacy for the presidential elections, yesterday visited Prime Minister Rafik Al-Hariri at the Grand Saray. After the meeting, Harb told reporters the meeting was an occasion to discuss a number of constitutional and political issues. He added some common convictions were reached concerning ways to handle political malpractice, especially regarding the subject of "Troika".

Discussions also centered on ways to transcend these practices in an atmosphere of respect to the rules of the constitution and in the framework of considering judicial and constitutional rules as main principles in the political life of the country.

Harb also handed the premier a copy of the speech that he delivered upon the announcement of his candidacy, includinghis political program. Harb added he discussed with the Prime Minister some contradicting opinions and views in a variety of fields, referring to common grounds that can be utilized in this regard.

Asked on the expected parliamentary consultations to be carried out by House Speaker Nabih Berri, Harb said he does not know and he was not informed of any consultations. Harb added the House Speaker is always in a state of constant consultations with the deputies. Deputy Harb also visited yesterday the head of the Higher Shiite Council Sheikh Mohamed Mahdi Shamseddine. Harb handed Shamseddine a copy of his political program and discussed with him issues related to the presidential elections.

Harb will also discuss his political program during an interview with the National Broadcasting Network (NBN) in Beirut. The interview will be broadcast Wednesday evening at 9:30 p.m. local time under a program named "Aks Al-Sayr". Harb will also give the Arab Satellite Network (ART) an interview next Saturday at 10:00 p.m. as part of an episode named "Ahl Al-Dar". You can email Boutrous Harb at or access his web page at

Irish Parliament delegation arrives in Beirut

A delegation from the Irish Parliament today arrived in Beirut for a three-day official visit to the country. The delegation comprises members of the Foreign Affairs Committee in the Irish Parliament. During their visit to Lebanon, the Irish deputies will hold talks with top Lebanese officials including President Elias Al-Hrawi and members in the Lebanese Foreign Affaires Parliamentary Committee. Their visit comes as part of a regional tour, which takes them to Syria, Jordan, and occupied Palestinian territories.

Israeli attacks continue on the South

Israeli artillery this morning shelled the riverbanks of Nabaa Al-Taseh and Al-Zahrani. Israeli bombardment also targeted the hills of Jabal Al-Rafii in the Iqlim Al-Touffah area. Israeli shelling on these mountain ridges blazed huge fires in the area of Gargoua-Rwaysat. Civil Defense teams are still fighting the fires there.

In another development, Israel attacked a car of the internal security forces that was carrying files of official examination papers in a bid to prevent Brevet questions to be provided to schools inside the occupied zone. Thus exams were delayed for more than an hour in these schools. An education official in the governorate of Nabatieh, Anwar Dao, considered the attack as aiming to disrupt communication between the occupied area and other parts of the country.

Soha receives more congratulatory letters on her release

Following her release from the Israeli-run Khiam prison after 10 years of detention, Soha Bshara receives more congratulatory letters on her freedom. The follow-up committee of Lebanese detainees in Israeli jails today received a message from Lebanese detainee, Samir Al-Qantar, who is still held by Israel, and other congratulatory notes from Lebanese and Arab prisoners in the Nafha prison inside Israel. Soha also received a similar letter from the Organization of Amnesty International, praising her endurance and strong will.

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