Politics - Muslim-Christian dialogue features high on Rahi's meetings
 

Mon 27/02/2012 22:18

NNA - 27/02/2012 - Maronite Patriarch, Mar Bechara Boutros Al-Rahi, met on Monday with a visiting delegation from the American Church of Washington DC, accompanied by the Mufti of Tripoli and North Lebanon, Sheikh Malek Shaar, and Secretary General of the Muslim-Christian National Committee, Mohammad Sammak.

The meeting focused on the Muslim-Christian dialogue conference to be held on June 28, 2012 in Beirut.

The Maronite also held similar discussions with a delegation from the Marian Apostolic Movement in Lebanon.

He also signed the records of the beatification of Estephan Doueihi, to be delivered on Wednesday to the "Congregation for the Causes of Saints" in Rome.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Kataeb advocates scrutiny of past and present spending
 

Mon 27/02/2012 22:09

NNA - 27/02/2012 - Kataeb Party called on Monday for fully controlling previous and current state expenditures, following a general review on most recent developments at the Lebanese and regional scenes.

During their regular weekly meeting at Kataeb's Saifi headquarters, Kataeb political bureau members stressed the importance of respecting the constitution, especially with regard to principles governing expenditures and budget-related laws.

"These principles and laws are cornerstones for building institutions and the organization of expenditures," a statement issued following the meeting read.

Conferees deemed attempts at blocking the ratification of the budget as non-justifiable, no matter what the reasons were, calling instead for "the adoption of transparency and strict control to preserve public finances."

At another level, the meeting also touched on outgoing Labor Minister Charbel Nahhas's decision to organize the mechanisms of granting work permits to Palestinian refugees in Lebanon. Conferees warned herein from having this decision indirectly lead to any naturalization scenario, fearing that such an eventuality would endanger the interests of Lebanese and Palestinians alike.

The Kataeb Political Bureau also hailed the positive feedback of former President Amine Gemayel's visit to Tripoli where he had met with the Mufti of Tripoli and North Lebanon Sheikh Malek Shaar, the Bishop of Tripoli George Abu Jaoudeh, and former Prime Minister Omar Karami.

"This visit is a translation to the open policy adopted by Gemayel towards reaching agreement between the different parts of the country, in order to shield political stability."

Touching on the Syrian scene, conferees underscored the need to send a clear message to the Syrians to pave the way for a new approach in Lebanese-Syrian relations, based on the mutual rejection of violence and repression.
R.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Syrians in Lebanon, surging oil prices feature high on Mikati's evening talks
 

Mon 27/02/2012 21:07

NNA - 27/02/2012 - Prime Minister Najib Mikati chaired two consecutive meetings at the Grand Serail on Monday evening tackling the affairs of Syrians in Lebanon fleeing their country's unrest, as well as the increasingly souring oil prices.

The meeting which witnessed the attendance of Mikati, Social Affairs Minister Wael Abu Faour, and concerned officials, reportedly touched on mechanisms adopted to help ensure the needs of Syrians staying in Lebanon.

"It has been agreed that this case is purely humanitarian and in no way signifies any political connotations," Abu Faour said on emerging, stressing that the Lebanese state would take on its shoulders the responsibility of bringing relief to Syrians currently present in North Lebanon.

Separately, the Prime Minister discussed the surging oil prices in a meeting with the Ministerial Committee tasked to monitor this case, with Ministers Ali Hassan Khalil, Mohammad Safadi, Mohammad Fneish, Gebran Bassil, Nazem Khoury, and Shakib Qortbawi attending.

On emerging, Minister Bassil said that the committee has completed its study of the Petroleum Decree, adding that ministers were now waiting for the pending comments of the State Shura Council.
R.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Jumblatt scoffs at new Syrian Constitution
 

Mon 27/02/2012 20:05

NNA - 27/02/2012 - National Struggle Front Leader, Walid Jumblatt, on Monday dismissed Syria's constitutional reforms as a mere theatrical play.

Jumblatt's words came in an interview to Al-Anbaa weekly, one day after Syrian President Bashar Assad's promises of reform witnessed translation on Syria's ground in a public referendum to a new charter which promises to create a multi-party system in Syria.

"Alas, we have reached days where constitutional plays are being staged on the top of shattered body parts, under the sounds of barrages and zinging bullets," Jumblatt said.

He lashed at what he described as a double-entendre Syrian event, "where some people rushed to vote for a pretty expected outcome, whereas others chose to lose their lives in search for freedom, democracy, and diversity."

Furthermore, the Member of Parliament saw in Yemen's transitional phase a good example for Syria to follow.

"Syria's refusal to opt for a transitional political solution like that of Yemen is doomed to make things even more complicated," Jumblatt argued, highlighting the crucial necessity of implementing the Arab initiative with its full details, towards radical change in Syria.

Despite the Syrian oppositions' little satisfaction with regard to the outcome of "The Friends of Syria" meeting outcome, Jumblatt still stressed the importance of having all the supporters of the Syrian opposition relentlessly join forces, facing Assad's rule.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Rahi meets with Shaar
 

Mon 27/02/2012 17:54

NNA - 27/2/2012 Maronite Patriarch Mar Bechara Boutros Rahi met on Monday at Bkerke with Mufti of Tripoli and the North Sheikh Malek Shaar.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Ghosn denies statements on relating Lebanese, Iranian security
 

Mon 27/02/2012 16:34

NNA - 27/2/2012 - Minister of National Defense, Fayez Ghosn, on Monday denied having said that Lebanon's security was linked to that of Tehran.

A release issued today by the Minister's press office indicated that what has been circulated by some media outlets about the alleged statements was unfounded.

The Minister called herein upon media to keep credibility.
R.A.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved



 

Politics - Maronite Council sees dialogue necessary to weather upshots of neighboring unrest
 

Mon 27/02/2012 16:01

NNA - 27/2/2012 - The Maronite Central Council on Monday capitalized the importance of gathering around the national dialogue table so as to bolster the consensual climate amid the current critical juncture, mainly to weather the repercussions of the crisis in neighboring Syria.

"Proofing the internal domestic scene is the best bet to protect civil peace and stability," the Council deemed in a closing statement issued following a meeting held today under the chairmanship of former Minister Wadih Khazen.

Conferees, who lengthily tackled the current general situation in Lebanon and most recent developments in the broader Arab region, uttered relief for the return of cohesion inside the government, following the appointment of Salim Jreissati as the new Labor Minister in office, succeeding outgoing Minister Charbel Nahhas.

They said such step was tantamount to an indicator of the reactivation of the governmental work, and considered that the priority within the cabinet nowadays must be given to the ratification of the 2012 state budget.

They hence called to separate politics from the government's productivity process.

R.A.H.

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Politics - Makari: Berri given to find legal frame for spending, allocation
 

Mon 27/02/2012 15:49

NNA - 27/02/2012 - Deputy House Speaker Farid Makari said that House Speaker Nabih Berri was given the duty to find out a legal frame for the extra-budgetary spending of USD 11 billion and the exceptional allocation of L.L. 8.9 trillion in the public budget.

Makari's information came Monday in the wake of a meeting for the parliament bureau and the heads and secretaries of committees as well as lawmakers, under the chairmanship of Berri.
A.M.

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Politics - Grand Serail's Monday highlights
 

Mon 27/02/2012 14:57

NNA - 27/2/2012 - Prime Minister, Najib Mikati, on Monday met at the Grand Serail with UN Under-Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs, Valerie Amos, accompanied by newly appointed UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon, Derek Plumbly.

Mikati later met with Head of the Lebanese Studies Center at Saint Antoine Faculty in Oxford University, George Asseili.

The latter presented to the Prime Minister the call titled "cauterizing the wounds of history" issued in the wake of the Conference on Treating Roots of Violence, held under Mikati's patronage at the Lebanese American University (LAU), in Jbeil.

R.A.H.

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Politics - Sleiman bound to Romania, Czech
 

Mon 27/02/2012 14:36

NNA - 27/2/2012 Lebanese President Michel Sleiman Monday left Beirut with the first lady Wafaa Sleiman, heading to Romania and the Czech Republic.

The President is scheduled to meet with his Romanian and Czech counterparts.

L.W.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


 

Politics - Daouk: Cabinet convenes again Wednesday
 

Mon 27/02/2012 14:19

NNA - 27/2/2012 Information Minister Walid Daouk Monday declared, following today's session conclusion held under the chairmanship of President Michel Sleiman at Baabda, that another session is scheduled to take place next Wednesday at the Grand Serail.

Daouk said that President Sleiman inaugurated the session by welcoming newly appointed Minister Selim Jreissati and wishing him an effective role inside government.

The President uttered hopes that government components learn of the current political crisis, Daouk said and conveyed the Sleiman's confidence in the security system mainly within prevailing regional chaos.

"Constructive dialogue and discussions form the fundamental path to solve matters between government team," Daouk said quoting the President reminding of the Premier's role herein.

Also on behalf of Sleiman, Minister Daouk said that constitution encourages consensus within Cabinet sessions however, "if consensus seemed impossible, voting will be adopted and decisions of the majority as of the two third should be respected."

Minister Daouk also reported Prime Minister Najib Mikati's words and said that the resumption of Cabinet's session represents not the victory of one party over another but it is a victory for Lebanon and its institutions, calling herein for cohesion and governmental productivity mainly concerning the approbation of budget project, rationalization of spending, increase of growth, and finding job opportunities.

Minister Daouk also said, on behalf of Mikati, that administrative appointments are a fundamental step on the reform path as on the restructuring of the public administration.
He noted herein that nominations ought to be approved on the basis of competences.

At another level, Daouk conveyed Mikati's hopes for the victory of the Lebanese football team in the game scheduled to take place Wednesday against the UAE team.

Daouk affirmed that a new course of action shall be adopted at the Cabinet that ought to take into account inter-ministerial solidarity.


L.W.

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Politics - Siniora, Ozyildise meet
 

Mon 27/02/2012 13:24

NNA - 27/2/2012 - Future bloc's Head, Fouad Siniora, on Monday received at Sadat Tour the Turkish Ambassador to Lebanon, Inan Ozyildise, whereby they skimmed through general conditions and latest local and regional developments.
D.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Wehbe: Government's performance is crisis-inducing
 

Mon 27/02/2012 13:01

NNA - 27/2/2012 - Deputy Amin Wehbe on Monday said the government's performance is crisis-inducing as it was formed in a wrong way, with components which seek after hindering state's institutions.

The MP told the Orient radio station that his camp objected to the government's policy, yet tended to deal positively with any matter that served the country's interest.

Pertaining to House Speaker Nabih Berri's call for a parliamentary session to find a settlement on the L.L. 8.9 trillion versus the $11 billion issue, Wehbe said former Premier Fouad Siniora had been very objective and transparent in explaining the reasons behind this spending, blaming it on the other party which had put the country through exceptional circumstances by closing the doors of the parliament and trying to paralyze the government.

"Spending from outside the budget was conducted according to a certain mechanism," said the Future bloc member.

He also called for investigations and auditing on the past period of time, from 1/1/2006 till 31/12/2011.
D.K.

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Politics -(updated) Rahi, Gemayel meet
 

Mon 27/02/2012 12:07

NNA - 27/2/2012 Maronite Patriarch Marbeshara Rahi is currently meeting with head of Kataeb party Amine Gemayel at Bkerki.

Later on, Rahi recieved head of the Maronite Diaspora Foundation and former Minister Michel Eddeh.

Also, Rahi convened with Malta Ambassador Charles d'Aragon and a delegation of the Independent Gathering of Christians.

L.W.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Youssef: Opposition MPs will fully exercise their democratic right
 

Mon 27/02/2012 11:55

NNA - 27/2/2012 - MP Ghazi Youssef stressed that the opposition MPs would fully exercise their democratic right either by voting or by withdrawing from the meeting.
The Deputy said that opposition has no desire to escalate the situation over the expenditure issue outside the budget, but there is a reality and logic to reach an end which satisfies everyone.

"The approach should be in an accurate and scientific manner based on facts and discussion," the MP told "Voice of Lebanon" radio on Monday, pointing out that all the details about the money expenditure in the era of Prime Minister Fouad Siniora exist, " we are not trying to evade any accountability or questioning", he stressed.
Responding to a question about reviewing the 69 decrees issued by the government of Siniora when the Shiite ministers submitted their resignation and without obtaining the signature of the President of the Republic, he said: "We are with its re-consideration, but I do not know to what extent can Speaker of the House Nabih Berri place these laws under an urgent category, because it is useful to send them to the committees to study and approve them."

A.A.M
 

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Politics - Qabbani, Ozyildise tackle bilateral ties
 

Mon 27/02/2012 11:55

NNA - 27/2/2012 - MP Muhammad Qabbani on Monday received the Turkish Ambassador to Lebanon, Inan Ozyildise, with talks touching on bilateral relations as well as local and regional affairs.
D.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Jeser: Committee to solve spending issue politicized
 

Mon 27/02/2012 11:32

NNA - 27/2/2012 - MP Samir Jeser Monday argued that the committee designated to solve spending issue has a political nature rather then governmental or institutional one.

"Parliamentary session gathering today at Ain-El-Tineh has nothing to do with what was suggested during the legislative session about forming the commission designated to tackle the LL8.9 trillion and the $11 billion issue," Future bloc member told Voice of Lebanon- Freedom and Dignity- radio.


L.W.
 

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Politics - De Freij: Aoun is afraid of auditing $11 billion
 

Mon 27/02/2012 11:25

NNA - 27/2/2012 - Future MP Nabil De freij told Future TV news channel that MP Michel Aoun is afraid of auditing the $11 billion account because he realize that he won't find any wrong doing.

"Contrary to Aoun's argument, the Lebanese public will soon discover that there is nothing wrong with the accounts and then Aoun will not be able to open his mouth," the MP said.

He dismissed reports which claimed that the MPs who withdrew from the parliamentary session belonged to one religious sect only.

"We at the Future movement decided to withdraw from the session when we found out that there is no agreement between the MPs on the issue of the budgets. We have agreed in principle that if both the $11 billion and the $9.8 billion budgets were not reviewed in the same session then March 14 deputies will withdraw," De Freij said.

The MP added that there was an initial agreement between Speaker of the House Nabih Berri and MP Aoun to approve the LL8.9 billion and at the same time keep the $11 billion as bargaining chip to blackmail March 14 forces and use it in the next parliamentary elections.

He reminded that Berri refused to call for a parliamentary session in 2006 to discuss the 2006 draft budget under the pretext that the government at that time was not legitimate.

De Freij repeated that Hezbollah is the real driving force behind the government and is only using the Free Patriotic Movement as a Christian cover only to achieve its strategic goals in Lebanon.

O.H

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Politics - (correction)Layoun expects government's new beginning
 

Mon 27/02/2012 10:52

NNA - 27/2/2012 - Culture Minister Gaby Layoun on Monday hoped that the government's resumption for its activity would be a first step towards a new beginning. He noted that today's session will tackle regular topics, away from the latest controversial issues.

The Minister said cabinet sessions will later be intensified, as in two sessions per week, to discuss crucial tropics on top of which the budget and the electoral law which should not be missed.

In his interview with the Voice of Lebanon station, Layoun estimated that the administrative appointments issue was supposed to be tackled in Wednesday's session.

On a different note, Minister Layoun considered that spending from outside the 2005 budget is a need for running the state's affairs.

He accordingly called for putting an end to the controversy over the $11 billion issue through auditing and serious investigation.
D.K.

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Politics - Layoun expects government's new beginning
 

Mon 27/02/2012 10:49

NNA - 27/2/2012 - Culture Minister Gaby Layoun on Monday hoped that the government's resumption for its activity would be a first step towards a new beginning. He noted that today's session will tackle regular topics, away from the latest controversial issues.

The Minister said cabinet sessions will later be intensified, as in two sessions per week, to discuss crucial tropics on top of which the budget and the electoral law which should not be missed.

In his interview with the Voice of Lebanon station, Layoun estimated that the administrative appointments issue was supposed to be tackled in Wednesday's session.

On a different note, Minister Layoun considered that spending from outside the 2005 budget is a must for runing the state's affairs.

He accordingly called for putting an end to the controversy over the $11 billion issue through auditing and serious investigation.
D.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Cabinet meets at Baabda Palace

 

Mon 27/02/2012 10:17

NNA - 27/2/2012 - Lebanese Cabinet met at Baabda Palace on Monday at 9:45 am in its ordinary session, chaired by President Michel Sleiman, in presence of Prime Minister Najib Mikati and ministers.

The Cabinet will discuss 78 items, in addition to emergency matters where the appropriate decisions to be taken.

President Sleiman started the session by stressing the importance of solidarity and necessity to enhance the productivity of the government.
Sleiman and Mikati met in a closed meeting before the cabinet session, in which they discussed the general situation and latest developments.

A.A.M

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Politics - Rahi, Gemayel meet
 

Mon 27/02/2012 10:10

NNA - 27/2/2012 Maronite Patriarch Marbeshara Rahi is currently meeting with head of Kataeb party Amine Gemayel at Bkerki.


L.W.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Qabbani calls for emergency meeting

 

Mon 27/02/2012 09:54

NNA - 27/2/2012 - Mufti of the Lebanese Republic Sheikh Mohammed Rashid Qabbani called for an emergency meeting of scholars at six o'clock this evening (Monday) at Dar Al-Fatwa to discuss Islamic Affairs and conditions of the Sunni sect.

A.A.M

Politics - Sleiman meets Mikati before Cabinet session
 

Mon 27/02/2012 09:13

NNA - 27/2/2012 - President of the Republic Michel Sleiman received Prime Minister Najib Mikati at Baabda Presidential Palace this morning minutes before the government session convenes.

The ministers will review 78 items on the agenda.

O.H

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Politics - Khreis upholds national principles
 

Mon 27/02/2012 09:06

NNA - 27/2/2012 - Deputy Ali Khreis stressed attachment to national principles amid the changes that are engulfing the Arab and Islamic scenes.

Khreis emphasized that Israel is our enemy while Syria is our friend, stressing that "ties with Syria should remain since Syria supported Lebanon and its resistance under critical conditions"

The MP's remarks were made at a memorial ceremony in Maaroub Village, in presence of Minister Mohamad Fneish, MP Ali Khreis and dignitaries.

Khreis called on the Arab regimes which stand against their cause and support the American and Zionists schemes to wake up and confront Israel and not to engage in any strife planned by it.

A.A.M

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Fares: Lebanon cannot adopt a self-distancing policy towards Syria
 

Sun 26/02/2012 20:11

NNA - 26/2/2012 - MP Marwan Fares disclosed Sunday that the Lebanese and International Red Cross have evacuated around 200 Syrian casualties via the Lebanese-Syrian borders throughout Saturday, who were admitted into Lebanese hospitals for medical attention. He added that the Lebanese and International Red Cross have established a center in the town of Ras Baalbak for this reason.
"The battle in Homos has neared its end," said Fares during a press gathering in Baalbek on Sunday. He considered that said battle shall signal the end of incidents in Syria since Homos is the center of armed militants and terrorists, succeeding Hama in this respect, Fares noted. He added that the Syrian Army might move to the town of Al-Qassir following Homos. Furthermore, he indicated that the Syrian security forces have detained a number of French officers working with armed militants and gangsters in Homos.
Fares considered herein that the French policy aims at thwarting President Bashar Al-Asad's regime, since Syria is the sole remaining 'forte' in the face of the Zionist Movement, he noted. "However, the Syrian people are supportive to President Asad while wishing for reform; a fact clearly evident through their steadfastness, alongside the administrative and diplomatic apparatuses in Syria in support of Syrian leader," said Fares.
Over Lebanon's stand vis-�-vis the events occurring in Syria, Fares considered it impossible for Lebanon to adopt a "self-distancing" policy in this respect, since both countries are directly related via a cooperation agreement.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Bassil: We have come to build and we hope all would place their hands in ours
 

Sun 26/02/2012 19:34

NNA - 26/2/2012 - Water and Energy Minister, Gebran Bassil, expressed hope that all sides would place their hands together in order to build the country. "We have come to work, to build and to show our people and youth that there is hope in the future," said Bassil during his inauguration of the 'Saint Rafka Street Round-About' on Sunday. The inauguration comes within the framework of launching works on the "Saints Road" which connects the Monasteries of Saints Rafka, Hardini and Estphan Nehme with that of Saint Charbel. Bassil welcomed works on the project, hoping that they would begin very soon. He considered such a road as one of the most important in the world at the level of religious tourism, since there exists no similar 12 Km road in the world at large that links 4 Saints together, he noted.
"This Road has been a 'Batroun Dream' for a long time," said Bassil, as he planted an olive tree within the inaugurated 'St. Rafka Round-About' as a symbol of steadfastness, giving and kindness. "We have come to build and not destroy; and we hope that we would work together on building this region and this country,' added Bassil.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Patriarch Rahi at Khayrallah's ordination in Batroun
 

Sun 26/02/2012 17:48

NNA - 26/02/2012 - Maronite Patriarch Bechara Rahi abruptly appeared at the ordination ceremony of newly-installed Bishop of Batroun, Mounir Khayrallah.

The new Bishop officiated over Sunday mass service today at the Maronite Cathedral of Saint Steven in Batroun in presence of cabinet Minister Gibran Bassil, a number of deputies of the House, leading clerics, municipal heads and Directress of the National News Agency (NNA) Laure Sleiman Saab.

In his sermon, Bishop Khayrallah said it was a great honor for him to become head of the Batroun diocese but he acknowledged that his new position as head of the Parish involved a high responsibility. He paid tribute to his predecessor outgoing Bishop Boulos Saadeh and listed his three point-program for the renovation of the Maronite Church in the 21st century.

Patriarch Rahi who took everybody by surprise thanked Church hierarchy and welcomed newly-ordained Bishop Khayrallah for his services to the diocese. He also thanked outgoing Bishop Saadeh who in his turn, prayed the Lord to illuminate the path of newly-ordained Bishop Khayyrallah in his sacred mission.
G.G./P.BC.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Syrian sit-in in Tripoli
 

Sun 26/02/2012 17:19

NNA - 26/02/2012 - A large number of Syrian refugees staged a sit-in in front of the Palace of Justice in Tripoli. They raised flags of Syrian independence and demanded urgent relief supplies including medical assistance to help casualties of the civil strife.

They called on Arab, International Communities and the Red Cross to exert pressure on the Asad regime in a bid to let in teams of physicians into heavily destroyed areas in the Syrian interior particularly in Homs, Baba Amro, Edleb, Hama and Deraa.

They urged the world not to sit idle and watch them get butchered by the Asad regime.
G.G./P.BC.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Terro for dialogue and understanding
 

Sun 26/02/2012 17:12

NNA - 26/02/2012 - Minister of the Displaced Alaeddin Terro favored national dialogue prone to protect the country and safeguard our national institutions.

Speaking at a PSP scouting event at Shhim vocational training school, Minister Terro referred to General Aoun without calling him by name saying no one could manipulate the council of ministers nor could he tamper with the Lebanese State.

Terro who spoke at the behest of Druze leader Walid Jumblatt paid tribute to the late deputy of Parliament Nabil Boustani who was member of Jumblatt's parliamentarian bloc.

There were speeches in honor of Socialist Scout Organization by Youssef Khaddaj who defined the organization as a non-political voluntary organization.

Terro criticized Arab armies who turned weapons against their own people rather than on Israel. He reiterated PSP support for the Arab anti-regime revolt.

He justified the 8900 billion allocated for public expenditure saying the parliament was in the process of reaching a compromise. He exonerated Hariri and Siniora on grounds that they were acting within the confines of the law.

The Minister concluded on a call to politicians to let both Prime Minister and President do their work unhindered by political machinations.
G.G./P.BC.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - President Sleiman attends ordination of new Jbeil Bishop
 

Sun 26/02/2012 16:55

NNA - 26/02/2012 - President Michel Sleiman attended the ordination of the new Bishop of Jbeil Michel Aoun at the Cathedral of Saint John-Marcus.

Officiating over the Sunday mass service has been Bishop Michel Aoun assisted by Beirut Metropolitan Maronite Bishop Boulos Matar, Bishop Joseph Mouawad and Father Fadi Khouri.

In his Sunday sermon, Bishop Aoun who succeeded Patriarch Bechara Rahi to the Bishopric vowed in his sermon to reactivate peaceful coexistence between various Lebanese sects and denominations. He renewed confidence in President Sleiman and the Maronite Patriarch in their bid to fathom peaceful coexistence in the country.

Earlier, Bishop Mouawad beseeched the Virgin and Saint John-Marcus to bestow their benedictions on the Bishopric and congregation at large.

At the end of the mass service, head of the Maronite Church Patriarch Rahi thanked the President and Lebanese people saying he and his Church are fortified by the moral backing. He told the President that he remains indebted to him and Saint Charbel for the present state of stability and security in the country.

Jbeil Municipal Head Ziad Hawwat, seized the occasion to inform congregation and emerging clerics that years of conflict proved beyond doubt that Jbeil adamantly rejected violence in favor of peaceful coexistence.
G.G./P.BC.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - President Sleiman attends ordination of new Jbeil Bishop
 

Sun 26/02/2012 16:55

NNA - 26/02/2012 - President Michel Sleiman attended the ordination of the new Bishop of Jbeil Michel Aoun at the Cathedral of Saint John-Marcus.

Officiating over the Sunday mass service has been Bishop Michel Aoun assisted by Beirut Metropolitan Maronite Bishop Boulos Matar, Bishop Joseph Mouawad and Father Fadi Khouri.

In his Sunday sermon, Bishop Aoun who succeeded Patriarch Bechara Rahi to the Bishopric vowed in his sermon to reactivate peaceful coexistence between various Lebanese sects and denominations. He renewed confidence in President Sleiman and the Maronite Patriarch in their bid to fathom peaceful coexistence in the country.

Earlier, Bishop Mouawad beseeched the Virgin and Saint John-Marcus to bestow their benedictions on the Bishopric and congregation at large.

At the end of the mass service, head of the Maronite Church Patriarch Rahi thanked the President and Lebanese people saying he and his Church are fortified by the moral backing. He told the President that he remains indebted to him and Saint Charbel for the present state of stability and security in the country.

Jbeil Municipal Head Ziad Hawwat, seized the occasion to inform congregation and emerging clerics that years of conflict proved beyond doubt that Jbeil adamantly rejected violence in favor of peaceful coexistence.
G.G./P.BC.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Qabalan for Asad's referendum and the people of Bahrain!
 

Sun 26/02/2012 16:32

NNA - 26/02/2012 - Deputy-head of the Shiite Supreme Council Abdul-Amir Qabalan came out in favor of the referendum on a new constitution set for today.

The senior cleric and, in a public statement today, perceived in the intended referendum a "great breakthrough for a Syrian regime striving for self-amelioration." Qabalan regarded the referendum a step forward toward achieving Syrian people's aspirations for reform. This would eventually lead to security and stability. Referendum, Qabalan added, lays the foundations for fresh political rectification as he called it.

He urged heavy popular turnout in favor of Asad with people effectively slamming doors in the face of foreign intervention such that they prove once more their loyalty to the regime. By doing so, he contended they would be able to thwart strife-ridden conspiracies concocted by a number of Arab and Muslim nations as he said.

He remained pretty confident that the Syrian people led by Asad would soon prevail in order to resist Israel in a bid to defend Hamas and Hizbullah.
He rightfully supported the people of Bahrain in their struggle and urged king and government to grant Bahrainis their full-legitimate rights.
G.G./P.BC.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Ghosn, Ahmedinejad meet and discuss present juncture
 

Sun 26/02/2012 15:12

NNA - 26/02/2012 - National Defense Minister Fayez Ghosn currently on a visit to the Iranian capital Tehran met today with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad in presence of delegation members. Discussions reportedly focused on domestic and regional developments with both sides exploring venues for boosting bilateral relations in all respective fields.

Minister Ghosn also met with Iranian counterpart General Ahmad Wahidi with both men discussing future military cooperation.

Among itinerant personalities met by Ghosn has been Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Larijani. Discussions between them boarded more of the same topics of concern.
G.G./P.BC.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Rahi arrives to Batroun
 

Sun 26/02/2012 14:37

NNA - 26/02/2012 Maronite Patriarch Beshara Rahi arrived to the northern city of Batroun to congratulate newly-ordained Bishop Mounir Kheriallah.
R.Z.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Zahle MPs demand government assistance to Syrian refugees
 

Sun 26/02/2012 13:43

NNA - 26/02/2012 - Zahle MPs demanded unconditional government support for Syrian refugees fleeing strife in their country.

Zahle MPs who met under Deputy Toni Abou Khater condemned the bloodshed perpetrated by the Asad regime against women, children and old with the whole world witnessing and doing nothing.

The Zahle Bloc of Parliamentarians urged the Lebanese government to extend a helping hand to Syrian refugees in line with high Arab moral principles and neighborly hospitality.

Zahle deputies also criticized what they termed as Mikati-government malpractice. They also condemned the sacking of Charbel Nahhas and installing of Jraisaty as his successor. Zahle parliamentarians however, paid tribute to Speaker Berri saying he proved astuteness in running parliament sessions.

They however urged house sub-commissions to pass bills featuring on their agendas. Deputies also commended commissions for scrapping of Value Added Tax (V.A.T) off diesel oil canister.
G.G./P.BC.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Chehayeb: Regime abolished role of Druze in Syria
 

Sun 26/02/2012 13:22

NNA - 26/02/2012 - MP Akram Chehayeb said Sunday that the Druze of Syria are part of the social fabric, and should not be dragged into a confessional fight.

The Syrian regime has abolished the political role of Druze and sowed division between religious communities, according to the MP during a radio interview.

"Do not be a tool in the hands of authority and do not kill your fellow citizens," he added, addressing the citizens of the Syrian Druze community.

He also said that the uprising in Syria was not sectarian but rather national and should not be abused to create religious strife.

On the domestic scene, Chehayeb said that Labor Minister Charbel Nahhas was forced to resign to be replaced by Minister Selim Jreissati, one of the people who helped develop the new Syrian constitution. Jreissati is close to former President Emil Lahoud and known for his position on the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL), probing 2005 assassination of PM Rafik Hariri.

Nahhas, loyal to Change and Reform Bloc, resigned earlier this week on the backdrop of dispute over decree to cover transportation fees for workers.

"The performance of Prime Minister Najib Mikati is good, especially with regard to the STL," he reported, noting that the government finally gave Lebanon a chance to maintain security and stability and to preserve state institutions.

 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Siniora in defense of 2006-2011 expenditure
 

Sun 26/02/2012 13:21

NNA - 26/02/2012 - Head of the Hariri Parliamentarian Bloc, Fouad Siniora, held a press conference at his Hlaliyeh office in presence of a crowd of supporters from Saida and surroundings.

Siniora opened his press conference by defining his expenditure policy between 2006-2011. He challenged his critics to the fact that the yardstick they used to judge his expenditure between those years must also apply to previous years when they were in power or when they were effectively copartners with the Hariri bloc.

He minimized the significance of criticism waged by the pro-Hizbullah camp saying "these were storms in tea cups." He added that utterances by government loyalists and their allies were mere fabrications intended for justifying their own malpractices.

Siniora added that once there was a good will there was a good way in that the other group armed itself with bad intention. He went on to say that ill-intentions fail to yield any substantive results.

Siniora criticized the pro-Syrian group for portraying the pro-Hariri Bloc as being against reform while striving to attach false attributes of reforms to themselves. This was a big mistake he exclaimed. The mere fact that they spoke reform and did the opposite speaks for itself.

He denied any involvement whatsoever in the Syrian revolution saying all that amounts to is moral support. He added that no arms or no cash passed over to the Syrian revolutionaries and that any news to the contrary were absolutely unfounded.

He concluded that we must alienate our country from problems surrounding us while at the same time sticking to Arab consensus.

G.G./P.BC.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Hmadeh: Jumblatt's mind set on anti-Syrian course!
 

Sun 26/02/2012 12:49

NNA - 26/02/2012 - MP Marwan Hmadeh reiterated Walid Jumblatt's present anti-Asad mindset based upon his endeavors to maintain civil peace in Lebanon.

The MP and, in an interview on al-Fajr (the Dawn) radio station today, restated Jumblatt's position in which he predicated any settlement with the Asad regime on the amount of peace this is liable to bring about for Lebanon.

Hmadeh had strong words for the Mikati-led cabinet describing it as being "all for a stalemated and inept government!" He minimized the importance of any future role played by Islamists in Arab politics and drew a distinction between Jumblatt's support for the Syrian revolution and Hizbullah arguing that such attitudes were in no way incompatible.

He termed judge Jraysati's appointment as Nahhas's successor a Hizbullah nomination and ruled out party handing-over of those indicted in Hariri's murder to the STL.

G.G./P.BC.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Aram I invokes legal rights of Armenians
 

Sun 26/02/2012 12:39

NNA - 26/02/2012 His Holiness Aram I announced Saturday his plan to collaborate with the Armenian Catholic and Evangelical Churches to seek compensation from Turkey for the confiscated properties of Armenians and demand retribution for the genocide.

The Armenian Genocide was the systematic destruction of the Armenian population of the Ottoman Empire during and shortly after World War I.

"The policy of denial does not exempt Turkey from its legal obligations towards the Armenian properties," said Head of the Catholicosate of the Great House of Cilicia.

"Church and community properties must be returned to their rightful owners."

Aram I added that he planned to seek an advisory opinion from the International Court of Justice through the United Nations on the legal consequences of said genocide.

"I will explore the possibility of raising the Armenian case to the European Court of Human Rights."

R.Z.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Fendi winds-up his visit to Lebanon
 

Sat 25/02/2012 21:15

NNA - 25/2/2012 - Iranian Assistant Foreign Minister, Behrouz Kamal Fendi, ended his 2-day official visit to Lebanon. Iranian Ambassador to Lebanon, Ghadanfar Rukn Abadi, was at the Airport to bid him a safe return to Tehran.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Safadi lobbies for new electoral law
 

Sat 25/02/2012 15:14

NNA - 25/02/2012 It is high-time for the state to decree a new parliamentary electoral law that observes proportionality while maintaining sectarian balance, according to Finance Minister Mohammad Safadi Saturday who addressed a visiting delegation of contractual Lebanese University professors.

New parliamentary elections are scheduled for Spring of 2013, still pending a new electoral law that would cater for a diverse Lebanese society. A law based on proportional representation also aimed for the rise of national parties that kept sectarian influence on the country's politics in check.

"Time is of essence for cabinet and House to decree such a law...which we want to be a true Spring of change and democracy in Lebanon."

Safadi assured his visitors that his ministry was placing the final touches on a state budget project for 2012.
R.Z.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved







 

Politics - Baabda palace activities and itinerants
 

Sat 25/02/2012 14:42

NNA - 25/02/2012 - President of the Republic Michel Sleiman, urged politicians to practice their profession in a righteous way. Speaking to itinerant visitors coming to see him at the presidential palace in Baabda today, he urged them to exploit the civility of the system based on participation and pluralism.
He credited the present state of security and stability on the plurality and participatory aspects of the Lebanese regime.

On the other hand, he criticized sectarian quotas in politics and public administration saying they betray the system and prevent sound nation-building.

Among itinerant Baabda palace visitors, were members of the National Gathering in the Kharroub district headed by Amer Machmouchi.

Former PM Fouad Siniora, reportedly conducted a general situation review with the president and duly presented him with a number of suggestions bearing on the present political juncture.

Special Iraqi presidential envoy Ali Chukri, conveyed a special message from Iraqi counterpart Jalal Talibani over the prospective Arab summit conference due to open in the Iraqi capital Baghdad upcoming March.

The president also headed a preparatory meeting comprising Lebanese delegation members to Romania and the Czech Republic upcoming Monday.
Final touches to visit arrangements were duly put.

State Security Chief, George Karaa, briefed the president over directorate's work and tasks.

Newly-elected Union of Lebanese Scouts board headed by Nabil Baydoun put the president into the picture of preparations leading to Smar Jbeil's Arab Scouting Camp upcoming summer.

 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved




















 

Politics - Social justice a priority - Rahi
 

Sat 25/02/2012 14:20

NNA - 25/02/2012 Maronite Patriarch Beshara Rahi presided over ordination of three new bishops Saturday, advising them to be a uniting force that does not stand silent in the face of injustice.

The Bkirky ordination was attended by First Lady Wafaa Sleiman who represented the President, Head of Change and Reform bloc, General Michel Aoun, Minister Gebran Bassil and MPs Antoine Zahra, Boutros Harb, Samer Saadeh, Elie Aoun, Simon Abi Ramya, Abbas Hashem, and Naji Garios as well as Syrian Ambassador Ali Abed el Karim Ali and National News Agency Director, Laure Sleiman Saab.

"We emphasize adherence to the Patriarchate, and consolidation of Maronite identity as we hold on to Lebanon," Rahi told his congregation.

"The church cannot have a political color or cling to a certain regime."

Newly ordained bishops Mounir Khairallah, Michel Aoun and Elias Sleiman were directed by Rahi to preserve social justice and equality for the sake of the general good.

R.Z.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Ghosn Bound to Tehran Conference
 

Sat 25/02/2012 13:50

NNA - 25/02/2012 - National Defense minister Fayez Ghosn arrived in the Iranian capital Tehran to partake in a "Defend Jerusalem Conference." He is expected to deliver a speech along with Foreign Affairs' minister Adanan Mansour over the best approach for protecting Jerusalem against Judaization by Israeli occupation.

Also visiting Iraqi Planning minister Ali Shukri, wrapped up a visit to Beirut bound to Baghdad on board a private executive jet. The outcome of the visit was not disclosed.

G.G./R.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Berri calls for joint house sub-commission meeting
 

Sat 25/02/2012 13:12

NNA - 25/02/2012 - Speaker of the House Nabih Berri, Saturday, called for a parliamentary joint house sub-commission meeting for upcoming Wednesday at 10:30 to study a number of proposed law-projects.

Speaker Berri is scheduled to preside on Monday over a meeting for the parliament bureau and joint commission clerks.

Earlier today, Berri conferred with Justice Minister Chakib Kortbawi, with discussions featuring high on general situation and judiciary-related affairs.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Grand Serail activities and itinerants
 

Sat 25/02/2012 12:51

NNA - 25/02/2012 - Newly-installed Labor Minister Judge Selim Jreissati, paid PM Najib Mikati a courtesy visit early this morning the outcome of which was not disclosed.

A delegation from the Pilots' Syndicate Headed by Fadi Khalil, briefed the PM over MEA syndicate relations. He reportedly solicited the PM's go-between company and syndicate in order to settle a long-standing conflict. Khalil also conveyed the PM's instructions to the Public Transportation minister to speed up prospective solution to the ongoing conflict.

Former Cabinet minister Charles Rizk, discussed with the PM the present standing of the STL saying all parties concerned were agreed in principle over the need for a proper court functioning.

Head of Security State General George Karaa also conferred with PM Mikati albeit the outcome of today's meeting was not disclosed.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Makari: Syria Bent on Sowing Strife in Tripoli
 

Sat 25/02/2012 12:38

NNA - 25/2/2012 - Deputy House Speaker Farid Makari, warned against attempts by the Assad regime to sow seeds of sectarian strife in Tripoli via its local clients and agents.

Makari and, in an interview on Voice of Lebanon radio station today, stated that the regime is prone to fan sectarian strife in the city albeit, the preponderant majority of Tripoli politicians and commoners alike proved pretty immune to such attempts.

The deputy dubbed Miqati-led government "a cabinet of protagonists rather than that of a uniform team" He cited the tactical understanding reached between general Aoun and Speaker Berri as further proof on its manipulability by an external maestro.

He regarded Sleiman and Miqati as the prime winners and urged what he termed "a fairer Christian representation by allowing non-Aounist Christian rivals a better chance for a say in this matter.

Makari recalled Saad Hariri's 50/50 quota between Christians and Muslims arguing that merit and fairness were the proper yardstick for appointments
to key administrative and judicial positions.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Beginning of the ordination of new bishops in Bkerky
 

Sat 25/02/2012 11:48

NNA - 25/02/2012 - The ordination of new bishops Mounir Khairallah, Michel Aoun and Elias Sleiman began Saturday morning at Bkirky during a Mass presided over by Maronite Patriarch Bechara Rahi, in presence of the first lady Wafaa Sleiman, representing the President.

The ordination was attended by Head of Change and Reform bloc, General Michel Aoun, Minister Gebran Bassil and MPs Antoine Zahra, Boutros Harb, Samer Saadeh, Elie Aoun, Simon Abi Ramya, Abbas Hashem, and Naji Garios as well as other public figures.

R.Z.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Aoun: Assad victorious, Hezbollah arms national need
 

Fri 24/02/2012 21:21

NNA - 24/02/2012 MP Michel Aoun hailed Syria's Bashar Assad as triumphant, and described artillery of Hezbollah as "essential" for self-defense, during a TV interview Friday.

The Syrian administration faced a popular revolt that refused to die out despite violent crackdown by the regime, which killed thousands of citizens across Syria in the past eleven months. A close ally to Hezbollah, Aoun vehemently defended Assad's regime.

"Lebanon must abide by treaties signed with Syria," the former General said, "Lebanon must maintain its borders and respect security of Syria from within Lebanese lands."

Much speculation about foreign military intervention clouded regional politics; however, Aoun did not anticipate any such action.

"[Arab countries] demanding human rights in Syria must work on said rights domestically first," he stated addressing the Arab League.

He warned the U.S. that Assad's regime would eventually win, as he deemed Homs the final battle in Syria, after which the administration would "cleanse" the remains of the uprising.

"Syria will never yield, and President Bashar Assad will not be defeated."

Aoun embraced Iranian support for the Islamic Resistance in Lebanon. He confirmed the necessity of Hezbollah's arms in the country for defense purposes.


R.Z.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - No political transaction in resignation of Charbel Nahhas - Aoun
 

Fri 24/02/2012 20:57

NNA - 24/02/2012 Following the extraordinary meeting of Change and Reform Bloc Friday, MP Michel Aoun said that the dispute with recently resigned Labour Minister Charbel Nahhas has ended, denying that said resignation was part of a political transaction with the cabinet in return for better posts in administrative assignments.
Nahhas refused to sign a cabinet decision taken by the majority on the transportation and education allowances decree, which created a conundrum that almost led to cabinet collapse. Nahhas resigned Thursday.

Speaking in the presence of new Labour Minister Selim Jreissaty, Aoun lauded the accomplishments of Nahhas including wage increases, meetings of Index Committee and the correction of errors with the help of the State Shura Council.

Head of the Bloc confirmed that the resignation was due to faulty decree that could not be lawfully averted. He insisted that dignity of Nahhas was preserved and the resignation did not reflect on their friendship.
For his part, Jreissaty thanked General Aoun's confidence in him. He asserted that legislation and implementation were instrumental for activating government work.

R.Z.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - De Freige cautions against state ruin
 

Fri 24/02/2012 19:32

NNA - 24/02/2012 MP Nabil De Freige warned Friday of national bankruptcy in case spending persisted without adopting a state budget, adding that this was the eighth year without such budget.

The Future Bloc Parliamentarian gave MTV an interview today, remarking that Lebanese parliament was heading in the same direction as the Greek one. House of Parliament lost quorum Thursday due to a row over not linking the controversial 11 million USD with the cabinet's LL 8.9 trillion spending project, aimed at covering the budget expenses till December 31, 2011.

"The cabinet is spending in a horrific way, and there is no Rafik Hariri to salvage the situation as he did in 2000 when he organized Paris 1 convention to save the treasury from economic failure," said De Freige.

On February 27, 2001, Prime Minister Hariri headed the Lebanese delegation to the Friends of Lebanon conference at the Elys�e Palace in Paris under the auspices of French President Jacques Chirac. Hariri presented his government's economic reform program, which was based on stimulating and modernizing the economy. The reform program won the support of the participants of the conference. The World Bank and the European Investment Bank agreed to provide Lebanon with 500 million Euros to finance development projects.

R.Z.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - (CORRECTED) Hout: Jamaa Islamiya supports Friends of Syria conference outcome
 

Fri 24/02/2012 18:55

NNA - 24/02/2012 - Deputy Imad Hout recited a letter sent by the political bureau of Jamaa Islamiya to the Friends of Syria conference, affirming full support for all the conference's decisions.

The Jamaa Islamiya Deputy, Imad Hout, spoke on Friday to Al-Fajr radio and called upon the government to regard the Syrian people's sacrifices as a standard to be adopted by the government to participate in said conference in Tunis.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Nasrallah warns of Israeli bids to jolt Mideast with religious conflict
 

Fri 24/02/2012 18:29

NNA - 24/2/2012 - Hezbollah Secretary General, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, on Friday maintained that Israel was sparing no effort to undermine the Mideast region, warning of unremitting bids by the enemy to sow seeds of religious and sectarian warfare among Arabs.

He said that Israel saw in the Muslims-Christians conflict an excellent opportunity to recuperate its sturdy status in the region.

Hezbollah marked today the seventh day of the passing away of Sayyed Abu Hussein Moussawi, father of the party's former Secretary General Sayyed Abbas, in Annabishit village.

Raking up fresh statements by Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, therein threatening of a US and Gulf states-backed strike to Lebanon, Nasrallah stressed that "the New Middle East" project was certainly doomed to flop.

But he reassured that the best means to face the American-Israeli concocted plot lied within awareness, especially as the US and Israel resort to chaos and destruction when their control is at slim.

He did not fail to evoke current developments in Iraq, Pakistan, Somalia, and Palestine, where tens of Palestinians were injured today during a confrontation with an Israeli police unit, which stormed Al-Aqsa Mosque and brawled with hundreds of Muslims after Friday Prayers.

Nasrallah spoke today at a time when a Western and Arab-backed contact group, labeled "Friends of Syria" was meeting in Tunis to lobby for gleaning international support for the Syrian opposition and to pressure the [Syrian] regime to allow in humanitarian relief in the unrest-swept nation.

Tunisia's mass conference fell short of mention in today's speech of the Hezbollah leader, who renewed calls upon Arab and Islamic peoples to cleave to dialogue as well as to the political solution to the 11-month crisis in Syria.

Turning to the Lebanese domestic scene, Nasrallah shone light on the necessity to exploit offshore oil and gas resources in an effort to address fiddly economic hardships.

Reiterating his party's holding onto political stability and security in Lebanon, Nasrallah reminded of the importance to protect the incumbent Najib Mikati-led government, which he called to be more productive.


 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


























 

Politics - Hout: Jamaa Islamiya supports Freinds of Syria conference outcome
 

Fri 24/02/2012 18:23

NNA - 24/02/2012 - Deputy Imad Hout recited a letter sent by the political bureau of Jamaa Islamiya to the Freinds of Syria conference, affirming full support for all the conference's decisions.

The Jamaa Islamiya Deputy, Imad Hout, spoke on Friday to Al-Fajr radio and called upon the government to regard the Syrian people's sacrifices as a standard to be adopted by the government amidst its participation in said conference in Tunis.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Jumblatt deplores Iraq blasts, contacts Talbani, Maleki
 

Fri 24/02/2012 18:20

NNA - 24/ 02/ 2012 - Progressive Socialist Party Leader, Walid Jumblatt, highly condemned the abominable attacks which shook Iraq on Thursday, saying they only aimed at striking the country's internal unity and stability.

A wave of bombings and shootings across Iraq killed as many as 70 people and injured 200 others on Thursday, security officials said.

"This proves that Iraqis, despite all moral wounds, are found today asked to join national ranks more than ever," Jumblatt said in a cable to Iraqi President and Prime Minister Jalal Talibani and Prime Minister, Nouri Maleki.

"I see this as the sole means for Iraq to preserve its stability," he added.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Jumblatt deplores Iraq blasts, contacts Talbani, Maleki
 

Fri 24/02/2012 18:18

NNA - 24/ 02/ 2012 - Progressive Socialist Party Leader, Walid Jumblatt, highly condemned the abominable attacks which shook Iraq on Thursday, saying the only aimed at striking the country's internal unity and stability.

A wave of bombings and shootings across Iraq killed as many as 70 people and injured 200 others on Thursday, security officials said.
"This proves that Iraqis, despite all moral wounds, are found today asked to join national ranks more than ever," Jumblatt said in a cable to Iraqi President and Prime Minister Jalal Talibani and Prime Minister, Nouri Maleki.

"I see this as the sole means for Iraq to preserve its stability," he added.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Sleiman: My concern is to end presidential period in peace


NNA - 24/02/2012 - Lebanese President Michel Sleiman expressed a high concern about ending his presidential period with peace prevailing all across Lebanon, affirming his refusal to postpone pending deadlines.

The President met on Friday at Baabda Palace with members of the new council for Arab correspondents.

Sleiman said he did not feel despair, but expressed optimism, especially under the current rule in Lebanon. "It fits Lebanon best, perhaps even within the frame of globalism across all the countries."

The President affirmed he would ceaselessly carry administrative reforms, promising that he would present within the few coming months a series of constitutional reforms that would be passed to the cabinet for discussion.

Sleiman expressed exaltation over three matters in Lebanon: Lebanon's democratic regime, military institution and the economic and financial systems.

Turning to civil services appointments, Sleiman said the constitution stipulated choosing well-qualified candidates for the right administrative place, regarding political belongings least. "The same should hold true with military, judicial and diplomatic departments."

Evoking the national dialogue matter, Sleiman explained that dialogue was just related to the national strategic defense issue, primarily necessitating a look into the Palestinian arms matter. He also favored an organized method for using the resistance's arms by answering the following questions - "Who uses those arms? How to use them? Why and where to be used?"

Concerning the Syrian crisis, the President pointed to the logic which admits of fears from regional turmoil. However, Sleiman wrapped up by saying the issue was within the hands of the Lebanese, "whether they would allow setting their country ablaze, influenced by the region's turbulence."

Asked about Taef Accord and calls for some amendments to this accord by Deputy Walid Jumblatt, Sleiman reminded that said deputy demanded discussions in this concern, same as Taef stipulates. The President also quoted Maronite Patriarch Bechara Rahi and Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah's calls for reconsideration to be made over the local governing and ruling system. "Nevertheless, the Taef would remain our defense."
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved

Politics - Lebanon source of Israelicomplexities - Berri

NNA - 24/02/2012 - Lebanon is causing Israel major psychological problems, House Speaker Nabih Berri said on Friday in response to a statement by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in which he promised that Lebanon will not be part of the so-called new Middle East map.

"Lebanon, with its smashing victory along with the Resistance, over the destruction machine and criminal thoughts [Israel] is causing this entity many complexities," he said, promising that Lebanon shall never cease to exist, but shall remain a robust state, free of Israel's occupation.
R.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved
 

Politics - Geagea meets former MP, Bdadoun delegation
 

Fri 24/02/2012 17:02

NNA - 24/2/2012 - Lebanese Forces leader, Samir Geagea, on Friday met with former Deputy Jawad Boulos, over most recent political developments in Lebanon and the broader Arab region.

Earlier today, Geagea received at his residence in Meerab a delegation of Bdadoun locality.

Talks reportedly touched on an array of developmental affairs.

 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Biography of Minister Salim Jreissati
 

Fri 24/02/2012 16:59

NNA - 24/2/2012 - Salim Jreissati, born in 1952, has been newly appointed as Minister of Labor in Najib Mikati's government, succeeding outgoing Minister Charbel Nahhas.

Jreissati, born in Zahle on April 4, 1952, married to Nada Youssef Husseini and father of three, is an Appeal attorney registered before Beirut Bar Association since November 8, 1974.

Professor at the Law and Political Science Faculty at Saint Joseph University (USJ) since 1976, he is also member at the Parliament's laws modernization committee, at the legislative committee of Beirut Bar Association, and at the Constitutional Council until June 2009.

Holder of both, the Lebanese and French BAs in law, and a diploma in private law, Jreissati has taught at the Banking Studies Center affiliated to the Lebanese Banks Association, the American University of Beirut (AUB), and the School of Translation at USJ.

In 2008, Jreissati became member at the directors' board of the Bank of Emirates and Lebanon.

Earlier in 1993, he was a member at the directors' board of At-Tamwil Bank for four years.

He was also member at the directors' board of the Insurance Studies Center affiliated to the Insurance Companies Association in Lebanon and USJ, from 1981 till 1997, and founding member at the Lebanese Arbitration Association.

A much rich pile of lectures, research, and comments, signed Salim Jreissati, begot the newly appointed Minister to be decorated with the National Cedar Medal in 2006 and the Lebanese Merit Shield in 2007.

Some of his most prominent works are:

-Lectures on trade deeds and special banking transactions,

-Preamble to the Civil Code,

-Lectures on credits opening and advances,

-Lecture on the Arab-European arbitration,

-Comment on a decision by the Lebanese Court of Cassation (108/2003) on absolute arbitration,

-Intervention on the Constitution (9/10/2009),

-Evaluation of the 2009 legislative elections,

-Lecture on the means to enhance the presence of the Catholic community in Lebanon on March 10, 2010,

-Article on the Special Tribunal for Lebanon,

-Lecture on the role of the President of the Republic and the Constitution of Taef,

-Lecture on the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran.


R.A.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Berri engages in developments with Gemayel, Kassar
 

Fri 24/02/2012 16:53

NNA - 24/02/2012 - The priority of the Lebanese should be fixed on invigorating their internal scene, facing surrounding storms, the Kataeb Party Leader said on Friday following a visit to House Speaker, Nabih Berri.

Pending internal and external deadlines are what prompted MP Amine Gemayel to meet with the House Speaker, especially one day after the House of Parliament lost quorum over a row over not linking the controversial 11 million USD with the cabinet's LL 8.9 trillion spending project, aimed at covering the budget expenses till December 31, 2011.

"This issue is the cause of a major standoff among both sides of the political divide (...) at the time that we find ourselves in an urgent need to unify our stances and get over and done with such petty squabbles," Gemayel said as reiterating calls for augmenting Lebanon's internal scene against looming regional storms.

At another level, Speaker Berri engaged in domestic developments with National Defense Minister, Fayez Ghosn, who also briefed the House Speaker on his anticipated visit to the Islamic Iranian Republic.

Economic Bodies Head, Former Minister Adnan Kassar, also had an audience with the House Speaker over the nation's general economic situation, as well as the ramifications of regional developments on the domestic scene.

"I discussed with his Excellency a number of simmering issues at the national scene and stressed within this frame on Berri's significant role getting the cabinet to meet on Monday," Kassar said.

Kassar also had words of praise for the significant role played by the three presidencies in bridging the gap between cabinet members.

But Kassar voiced regret with regard to what he described as high-pitched rhetoric by some Lebanese politicians.

"Lebanon is not isolated from developments taking place at the regional scene and those tensed speeches do not consecrate civil peace (...) which is mostly needed with the turbulences shaking the Arab scene."

MP Ibrahim Kanaan later tackled with the House Speaker the general situation as well as yesterday's legislative session.
R.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Audi tackles political affairs with Kabbani, Wehbe
 

Fri 24/02/2012 15:25

NNA - 24/2/2012 - Greek Orthodox Beirut Metropolitan, Bishop Elias Audi, on Friday met with Deputy Muhammad Kabbani who skimmed through various national affairs.

Discussions dwelled on higher national interest which ought to be placed before any faction-based interests for any local political party.

The pair also tackled Beirut city's affairs, mainly the developmental projects which require unified efforts between the capital's citizens and representatives.

On a different note, Bishop Audi received MP Amin Wehbe who believes the country and the Arab surroundings were currently going through a tough and dangerous stage accompanied by dreadful developments and bloodshed.

The Deputy said separately that the funds spent from the year 2006 till now are documented and can be at any time subject to auditing by a specialized authority.
D.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Lebanon lodges complaint against Israel
 

Fri 24/02/2012 15:05

NNA - 24/2/2012 - Israel's extension of a 40-meter Concertina fence nearby the Blue Line in Adaissi earlier this month prompted the Lebanese Foreign Ministry on Friday to lodge a complaint before the UN.

The Ministry said in a statement today that such violation was tantamount to a breach of the Lebanese territory, sovereignty, UN Security Council Resolution 1701, the international law, and UN pact.

The complaint also included Lebanon's demand from UN Chief to urge Israel to remove the aforementioned violation.

R.A.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Pietton visits Baalbek, goes over region's needs
 

Fri 24/02/2012 14:37

NNA - 24/2/2012 - French Ambassador to Lebanon Denis Pietton on Friday visited Baalbek and started his tour at the French Cultural Center before meeting with the town's municipal council headed by Hashem Othman.

Pietton said this official visit had been on his schedule for almost a month, after the visits he made to Tripoli and Sidon.

Pietton's tour aims at expressing France's good ties with all Lebanese factions and confessions. "We consider ourselves as friends of all Lebanese. We have good ties with all parties represented in the parliament," the Ambassador confirmed.

"Relations between Lebanon and France are historical and solid, the problem is that the embassy is located in Beirut, the capital, therefore we have to tour on all the Lebanese regions and boost our presence through the French cultural centers spread along the Lebanese territories," he explained.

The Ambassador confirmed as well that the visit sought after rehabilitating the historical sites in Baalbek region, in the frame of the project assigned to the French Agency for Development (AFD) so as to provide economic and commercial benefits to that touristic area.

The Ambassador accordingly called for developing the tourism sector, hence the economy.

Pertaining to the situation in Syria, Pietton reiterated his country's support for reforms and dialogue.
D.K.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Sleiman, Mikati discuss schedule of Cabinet upcoming session
 

Fri 24/02/2012 13:54

NNA - 24/12/2012 Lebanese President Michel Sleiman Friday engaged in talks on the upcoming Cabinet session schedule during his meeting with Premier Najib Mikati at Baabda palace.

Sleiman also received Defense Minister Fayez Ghosn and tackled with him internal security situation and Lebanese army adopted procedures herein.

The President convened later on with head of the Assyrian sect in Lebanon and Australia Monseigneur Mehlis Zayya and MP Nabil De Freij.

At another level, Sleiman received the credentials of Ambassador of Malta Knights Organization and of Chili.


L.W.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Osseiran hopes parliament crisis results well
 

Fri 24/02/2012 13:43

NNA - 24/2/2012 MP Ali Osseiran Friday hoped that Parliament's events would result positively on the Lebanese people so that unison prevails again.

Osseiran reiterated calls on the President to re-open the dialogue door and stir the wheels of Lebanese political life.


L.W.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved



 

Politics - Rahi follows up religious affairs
 

Fri 24/02/2012 13:17

NNA - 24/2/2012 - Maronite Patriarch, Bechara Boutros Rahi, headed on Friday at Bkirki patriarchate a series of meetings for the Maronite Center for Documentation and Research in presence of Bishops Yussef Bechara, Boulos Matar, Samir Mazloum, Boulos Sayah and Kamil Zeidan.

Rahi later met with Bishops Boulos Emile Saadeh and Hector Dweihi coming from the United States, with talks touching on religious affairs.

Separately, Rahi met with former Minister Jean Obeid with talks touching on latest developments.
D.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Kanaan denies presence of Parliamentary Commission to solve spending conflicts
 

Fri 24/02/2012 12:25

NNA - 24/2/2012 - MP Ibrahim Kanaan Friday denied recognition of the Parliamentary Commission establishment to solve the $11 billion quarrel.

"This spending differs from that of the LL8.9 trillion for which the government has sent as an exceptional legal credit in order to authorize spending while the $11 billion do not have any document proving their spending," Kanaan told Voice of Lebanon- Freedom and Dignity- radio.

Change and Reform bloc member called on MPs not to cover corruption whereby he deemed the practical solution to be by deferring spending to the audit bureau so it would be validated, later on referred to the Parliamentary Commission, and then before the General Assembly.


L.W.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved








 

Politics - Youssef: Concerned Commission should solve spending problem
 

Fri 24/02/2012 12:05

NNA - 24/2/2012 - MP Ghazi Youssef Friday said the commission assigned for solving spending conflict ought to figure out a way to have total spending from 2006 until 2011 under one schedule.

Youssef called for referring to former Finance Minister Rayya Hassan's spending schedules from 2006 until 2009 and add to them the 2010 spending budget.

Future bloc member also told Voice of Lebanon- Freedom and Dignity- radio that MP Ibrahim Kanaan's law proposal has not been verified by the audit bureau.


L.W.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved






 

Politics - Abboud: efforts are exerted to reactivate government's productivity
 

Fri 24/02/2012 11:53

NNA - 24/2/2012 - Tourism Minister Fadi Abboud on Friday noted that there's an attempt to boost the government's productivity without touching on the administrative appointments issue which caused the suspension of the cabinet sessions.

In his interview with the Voice of Lebanon - Voice of Dignity and Freedom radio station, Abboud denied that outgoing Minister Charbel Nahas was a stumbling block for the government's productivity.

"Their attempts to compare the $11 billion spending to the government's request for allocating L.L. 8.9 trillion to cover its expenditures is way far from reality," said the Tourism Minister who also assured that the current spending course is totally legal.

Abboud accordingly called on the other party to clarify how the $11 billion were spent, confirming that the breakdown of accounts cannot be legally overlooked.
D.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Khoury: Aoun should avoid battle with President
 

Fri 24/02/2012 11:42

NNA - 24/2/2012 - Environment Minister Nazem Khoury Friday said FPM open battle with Lebanese President is a mistake that ought to be avoided.

Commenting on whether the President has become part of the crisis, Khoury said when the President and Prime Minister are the guarantors of the national interest hence, accusations are nothing but mincing words.

Speaking to Al-Hiwar newspaper, Khoury said what when the President proposed the nomination of a competent employee in an administration affiliated to the Premiership, Minister Gibran Bassil objected despite the approval of other ministers on the name of the candidate.

"This was the reason behind conflict inside session as Prime Minister deemed Bassil's objection as an attempt to undermine his authority," the Minister said.

"This matter was not supposed to bear all the commotion that lead to hindering the sessions," he added and said that having Christian appointments to be exclusive to MP Michel Aoun is unacceptable.


L.W.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Aawar criticizes March 14 MPs withdrawal from legislative session
 

Fri 24/02/2012 11:20

NNA - 24/2/2012 - Change and Reform bloc member, Deputy Fadi Aawar, criticized on Friday the withdrawal of March 14 deputies from yesterday's legislative session, holding the March 14 forces responsible for the financial violations committed in the past few years.

"Premier Fouad Siniora tried to use the current government crisis for clearing his name of the money he had illegally spent back in time," Aawar said, accusing him [Siniora] of trying to blackmail both the parliament and the cabinet.
D.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved



 

Politics - Moussa: MPs enjoy high sense of patriotism
 

Fri 24/02/2012 10:57

NNA - 24/2/2012 - Deputy Michel Moussa on Friday said parliament members' speeches yesterday were depicted by a high sense of patriotism, as politicians seem aware of the current stage's urgency, and of the importance of immunizing the internal scene in light of the regional developments.

Moussa saw in his interview with the Voice of Lebanon station, that House Speaker Nabih Berri acted wisely when he adjourned the parliamentary session, following the withdrawal of March 14 Deputies.

"This decision aimed at slowing down and conducting serious discussions to find solutions and ways out from the crisis," the MP explained, assuring that the expenditures were not the only topic that ought to be tackled.

Moussa expected that the proposals submitted by Deputies Nabil De Freij and Ibrahim Kanaan on the transportation allowance matter would be merged together.

"If they failed to do so, they will resort to voting on each proposal at a time," he estimated, affirming that the parliament has the full right to amend all submitted draft laws.
D.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved










 

Politics - Hbeish: Withdrawal from session democratic right
 

Fri 24/02/2012 10:51

NNA - 23/2/2012 - MP Hadi Hbeish Friday made it clear that withdrawal from Parliament session was not unprecedented since March 8 MPs made a similar move, adding that this action is democratic right.

Future bloc member validated his words by shedding light on what House Speaker yesterday said about withdrawal from sessions to be a democratic right and ought not to be placed in hindrances category.

Speaking to Voice of Lebanon, Hbeish said March 14 MPs proposed that all spending would be collected from the date of Fouad Siniora's mandate until today, under a sole law in order to close the dossier.

"It is of the Finance Ministry responsibility to do its role and send the draft law in order to review and ratify it, he remarked.

L.W.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved









 

Politics - Sleiman and Mikati appoint Jreisati as Labor Minister
 

Fri 24/02/2012 09:51


NNA - 24/2/2012 - President of the Republic Michel Sleiman and Prime Minister Najib Mikati signed this morning a decree appointing judge Salim Jreisati as Labor Minister.

It is worth noting that Charbel Nahhas resigned this post after refusing to sign the transportation allowance decree.

O.H

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Ekhorest visits Fayyad at Parliament
 

Thu 23/02/2012 21:30

NNA - 23/2/2012 European Union (EU) Commission Head in Lebanon Ambassador Angelina Ekhorest visited on Thursday Deputy Ali Fayyad at his office at the Parliament.

Talks touched on the current political developments in Lebanon, national dialogue and the regional situation, according to a statement by the EU Commission.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Plumbly from Bkirki: religious rapprochement dire necessity
 

Thu 23/02/2012 20:44

NNA - 23/02/2012 - Maronite Patriarch Mar Bechara Boutros Rahi met Thursday afternoon with U.N. Special Coordinator for Lebanon, Derek Plumbly, who came on a protocol visit.

Following the meeting, the newly appointed UN official underscored the necessity for a religious rapprochement in Lebanon and the broader Arab region, amid the current challenges in the Arab world.

He also hailed the positive role assumed by the church and spiritual leaders during such a critical juncture in the Mideast region.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Murr, Tashnag affirm friendship after passing cloud
 

Thu 23/02/2012 19:23

NNA - 23/02/2012 - Deputy Michel Murr and the Tashnag party highly re-evaluated an aged period of friendship that stemmed since 1960 and was undisturbed expect once in 2009 by a passing cloud.

The former Deputy Prime Minister Michel Murr received at his office in Amaret Shalhoub of North Metn a delegation of the Tashnag party including the head of the said party's Executive Committee Hovic Makhitarian and Deputy Agop Pakradonian.

Interviewed after the visit, Pakradonian reaffirmed Murr's stance, assuring the people of Metn that the Murr-Tashnag friendship and cooperation would persist.
A.M/R.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Gemayel from Tripoli supports Syrian people, slams custody
 

Thu 23/02/2012 19:21

NNA - 23/02/2012 - Former President Amine Gemayel voiced support for the Syrian public backing an almost one-year pro-democracy movement in Syria.

Gemayel visited on Thursday Mufti of Tripoli, Sheikh Malek Al-Chaar at Dar Fatwa of Tripoli.

"We can't but support the Syrians screaming for democracy and liberty and giving martyrs," said Gemayel who depicted the Sheikh as distinguished in his charitable works and loving.

Gemayel attacked the 30-year period custody practiced by the Syrian regime in Lebanon. He explained that such custodianship dismantled local society, institutions and customs.

Gemayel called from Dar Fatwa for boosting local stability in face of ongoing Syrian crisis, hoping that the Syrian protesters would ultimately win.

The Former President reiterated that Lebanon's stability could not be bolstered without gathering all the illegal weapons in the country under the sole control of the military institution.

 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Shatah, Plumbly meet
 

Thu 23/02/2012 18:11

NNA - 23/02/2012 - Saad Hariri's Advisor, former Minister Mohammad Shatah, tackled most recent developments on Thursday at the Central House, with U.N. Special Coordinator for Lebanon, Derek Plumbly.
R.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Bassil advocates diesel sector release, prices control
 

Thu 23/02/2012 18:09

NNA - 23/2/2012 - Minister of Energy and Water Resources, Gebran Bassil, on Thursday said he advocated the release of the diesel sector provided that prices are under control.

"I am glad that the red diesel was exempted today from the Value-Added Tax and this is an essential step for it is advantageous to citizens," the Minister told reporters following the legislative session at the Parliament today.

"All I can say is that at the time we opened investigation into the diesel scandal, some said that the accountable for this affair was the political class which claims provisional subsidy in general. But the responsible [party] is in particular each company with a fishy work," he explained.
R.A.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Plumbly in Bkerki
 

Thu 23/02/2012 17:20

NNA - 23/2/2012 - Newly appointed UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon, Derek Plumbly, had been to Bkerki on Thursday for a meeting with Maronite Patriarch Mar Beshara Boutros Rahi.
R.A.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Qahwaji for alertness to confront nation's enemy
 

Thu 23/02/2012 17:00

NNA - 23/02/2012 - General Jean Qahwaji affirmed the necessity for Lebanon to keep fully alert to confront the nation's historical enemy.

Lebanese Army Chief General Jean Qahwaji met on Thursday at his Yarzeh office with seniors and officers in the Army Command.

Qahwaji stressed on anchoring ties with citizens of the South as well as with the UN Forces, as means of implementing UN Security Council Resolution 1701 and serving Lebanon's high national interest.

The Chief hailed army units for their efforts in preserving local calm and restoring security across the city of Tripoli after the recent turmoil therein.

The chief described incidents in Tripoli as a hopeless bid to flare up civil warfare in the country, especially after the army's tireless endeavor to safeguard the Lebanese Syrian borders and citizens thereon.

"The Lebanese Army opposed and will always do so adamantly against the ugly strife from wherever it came."

General Qahwaji wrapped up that the regional crisis should never be an opportunity for local destabilization which could harm authority and subject national interest to threats.
A.M/R.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - (corrected) Mikati upbeat over new page in government work
 

Thu 23/02/2012 16:08

NNA - 23/2/2012 - Prime Minister, Najib Mikati, hoped a new leaf would be turned over on the level of the governmental work, saying national interest must prevail over other personal and sectarian considerations.

Mikati spoke Thursday to reporters at the Parliament, following a legislative session which failed to clinch agreement over linking the controversial 11 million USD with the cabinet's LL 8.9 trillion spending project.

Mikati said he was upbeat over the upcoming stage within the cabinet, which sessions stalled in a three-week paralysis.

"We must look at the filled half of the glass. We got out of the sharp crisis with many positive things, i.e. holding onto the Constitution and the institutions' role, and mostly cleaving to national unity," he said.

Premier Mikati and Lebanese President Michel Sleiman had signed earlier today the resignation of outgoing Labor Minister, Charbel Nahhas, who decided to quit his ministerial post following a long spar among the cabinet members over wage adjustment and transportation allowance.

R.A.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Future Bloc circulates law draft legalizing over budget spending
 

Thu 23/02/2012 15:54

NNA - 23/02/2012 - The Information Bureau of Future Parliamentary Bloc Leader, MP Fouad Siniora, circulated on Thursday a draft law suggesting means of legalizing expenditures exceeding the budget ceiling since 2006 till December 31, 2011.

This step comes in the wake of a standoff which had been witnessed at the House of Parliament today over not linking the controversial 11 million USD with the cabinet's LL 8.9 trillion spending project, aimed at covering the budget expenses till December 31, 2011, a thing which prompted MPs to leave the session.

The House Speaker later adjourned the legislative session till March 8, 2012, after the withdrawal of March 14 MPs, NNA correspondent said.
R.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Future Bloc circulates law draft legalizing over budget spending
 

Thu 23/02/2012 15:54

NNA - 23/02/2012 - The Information Bureau of Future Parliamentary Bloc Leader, MP Fouad Siniora, circulated on Thursday a draft law suggesting means of legalizing expenditures exceeding the budget ceiling since 2006 till December 31, 2011.

This step comes in the wake of a standoff which had been witnessed at the House of Parliament today over not linking the controversial 11 million USD with the cabinet's LL 8.9 trillion spending project, aimed at covering the budget expenses till December 31, 2011, a thing which prompted MPs to leave the session.

The House Speaker later adjourned the legislative session till March 8, 2012, after the withdrawal of March 14 MPs, NNA correspondent said.
R.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Sleiman counters Netanyahu: Israel suffers moral defeat from Lebanon
 

Thu 23/02/2012 15:37

NNA - 23/02/2012 - Lebanese President Michel Sleiman said Lebanon was the sole country which caused Israel a military defeat that still bore a moral effect upon the Zionist country.

Sleiman's word came Thursday to counter Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's menacing to strike Lebanon and claiming that the new world map would exclude a country named Lebanon.

"Lebanon existed thousands of years ago, rooted deep throughout history and Netanyahu's words bear no influence," said the President.

He explained that Lebanon's religious diversity completely deferred from Israel that upheld the racist system.

Sleiman reminded that Lebanon was among the establishers of the United Nations and among founder countries of the Human Rights Declaration.

The President received at Baabda Palace a delegation of the new council for the Arab Correspondents Association.
A.M.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Ghosn, Pietton tackle developments
 

Thu 23/02/2012 15:31

NNA - 23/02/2012 - Most recent local and regional developments featured high Thursday on talks between National Defense Minister Fayez Ghosn and the French Ambassador to Lebanon Denis Pietton.

The pair also engaged in means of boosting Lebanese-French bilateral relations, as well as ongoing cooperation between the Lebanese Army and UNIFIL.

Pietton seized the occasion to restate his country's support to Lebanon.

At another level, the Defense Minister is expected to be visiting the Islamic Iranian Republic next Saturday upon the invitation of his Iranian counterpart.
R.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - (updated) Berri, Mikati meet after session postponement
 

Thu 23/02/2012 14:44

NNA - 23/2/2012 Prime Minister Najib Mikati convened with House Speaker Nabih Berri following the postponement of the Parliament's legislative session.

Also, Berri consecutively met with Change and Reform bloc's Head, MP Michel Aoun, and former Premier Fouad Siniora.
L.W.-D.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Postponement solves long-lasting problems: Siniora
 

Thu 23/02/2012 14:28

NNA - 23/2/2012 - Future bloc Head, Fouad Siniora, said after the withdrawal of March 14 MPs that Speaker Berri's decision to adjourn Thursday's legislative session, paves the way for a serious solution to the country's lifelong problems.

The former Premier said that the last budget had been ratified back in 2005. During the years that followed, budget drafts had been submitted most of the times, yet never endorsed.

"Spending, during this period of time, was carried out based on the old budget [2005]," he said, reminding that the electricity subvention has surpassed the reserve funds, hence increased public debt.

Siniora explained that governments, from 2006 till 2010, had spent USD 11 billion, while, in the past two years, almost the same amount of money had been wasted.

"We have proposed conclusive and constant solutions which can allow the state to look forward," Siniora finally announced.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Ibrahim, Plumbly tackle developments
 

Thu 23/02/2012 14:19

NNA - 23/02/2012 - General Security General Director, Major General Abbas Ibrahim, tackled most recent developments on Thursday with United Nations Secretary General's representative in Lebanon, Derek Plumbly.

Both men also engaged in UNIFIL's tasks in the South of Lebanon as well as United Nations resolutions, namely 1701.
R.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - We live in a nation of democracy subjugation - Nicholas
 

Thu 23/02/2012 14:06

NNA - 23/02/2012 - Member of Parliament, Nabil Nicholas, depicted the Lebanese as living in a Republic where democracy is always being subject to eradication.

The Reform and Change bloc MP was speaking in the wake of House Speaker Nabih Berri's decision to adjourn Thursday's legislative session till March 8, 2012, after the withdrawal of March 14 MPs.

A standoff over not linking the controversial 11 million USD with the cabinet's LL 8.9 trillion spending project, aimed at covering the budget expenses till December 31, 2011, is what prompted MPs to leave the session.

Nicholas suggested that March 14 MPs could have voted for the LL 8.9 trillion and then suggested a reasonable proposal to resolve the matter, instead of quitting and disrupting the session.

"The team which has submerged the nation in poverty since 1993 actually turns away when thing get downright serious," the MP said.

"This team [March 14] is blocking the affairs of the nation and the people," he added.
R.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - We live in a nation of democracy subjugation - Nicholas
 

Thu 23/02/2012 14:06

NNA - 23/02/2012 - Member of Parliament, Nabil Nicholas, depicted the Lebanese as living in a Republic where democracy is always being subject to eradication.

The Reform and Change bloc MP was speaking in the wake of House Speaker Nabih Berri's decision to adjourn Thursday's legislative session till March 8, 2012, after the withdrawal of March 14 MPs.

A standoff over not linking the controversial 11 million USD with the cabinet's LL 8.9 trillion spending project, aimed at covering the budget expenses till December 31, 2011, is what prompted MPs to leave the session.

Nicholas suggested that March 14 MPs could have voted for the LL 8.9 trillion and then suggested a reasonable proposal to resolve the matter, instead of quitting and disrupting the session.

"The team which has submerged the nation in poverty since 1993 actually turns away when thing get downright serious," the MP said.

"This team [March 14] is blocking the affairs of the nation and the people," he added.
R.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Berri, Mikati meet after session postponement
 

Thu 23/02/2012 14:06

NNA - 23/2/2012 Prime Minister Najib Mikati convened with House Speaker Nabih Berri following the postponement of the Parliament's legislative session.


L.W.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Odwan: derailing institutions does not serve Lebanese
 

Thu 23/02/2012 13:43

NNA - 23/2/2012 - In the wake of the legislative session adjourned by House speaker Nabih Berri, Deputy Georges odwan said derailing the institutions does not serve the Lebanese in any way.

"We should not be selective in legalizing crucial matters," he said, assuring that today's developments were a "blessed step as we proved to the parliament that when civil peace is at stake and when rupture is widening, we tend to take things slowly to solve country's issues."

"We should draw a line between the past years and the current stage. We will not disregard accountability when it comes to public funds," said Odwan.
D.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Kanaan: we refuse any compromise at public fund's expense
 

Thu 23/02/2012 13:35

NNA - 23/2/2012 - Deputy Ibrahim Kanaan said excuses given for hindering the legislative session were not convincing. The MP refused any sort of compromise at the expense of public funds, in a statement delivered shortly after the adjourned legislative session.

Kanaan linked latest developments to the past financial stage, to national unity, to political tension and to confessional division.

"Those who withdrew from the legislative session were the MPs who keep involving confessionalism in politics," he regretted.

"There should be no disagreement over accounts legalization," the FPM member finally said.
D.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Gemayel calls for separating corruption from accountability
 

Thu 23/02/2012 13:28

NNA - 23/2/2012 MP Sami Gemayel urged Thursday the separation of two unrelated issues; corruption and accountability of constitutional institutions.

House Speaker, Nabih Berri, adjourned Thursday's legislative session till March 8, 2012, after the withdrawal of March 14 MPs, NNA correspondent said.

The MP called for "controlling corruption, holding trials, and have judicial authorities investigate in every pound spent, with no exception, since 1990."

As for the second issue, Gemayel said holding constitutional institutions accountable for not having been functional was unachievable.

"These institutions were not functioning due to hindrances in the country, the use of weapons, and shut down of the Parliament," he remarked.

Gemayel hoped for holding intensive gatherings so that in March 5, results would be pulled off.

L.W.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - To jettison double standards in spending issue - Hmadeh
 

Thu 23/02/2012 13:25

NNA - 23/02/ 2012 - MP Marwan Hmadeh called on the House of Parliament not to adopt a double-standard policy with regard to expenditures made above the set budget ceiling level.

He expressed hope that the Parliamentary Committee which House Speaker Nabih Berri had earlier suggested to establish, for conducting a detailed study of expenditures exceeding the set budget ceiling, would manage to resolve the issue within a period of two weeks.

A standoff over not linking the controversial 11 million USD with the cabinet's LL 8.9 trillion spending project, aimed at covering the budget expenses till December 31, 2011, is what prompted MPs to leave the session.

Future Parliamentary bloc Leader, Foaud Siniora, reportedly rejected Speaker Berri's proposal to establish a Parliamentary Committee to study the project.

In turn, MP Walid Jumlatt requested of conferees to politically resolve the matter and get over and done with this issue the soonest possible.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Aoun: Chaos in MOF
 

Thu 23/02/2012 13:25

NNA - 23/2/2012 Change and Reform bloc head MP Michel Aoun Thursday said chaos prevails over the Finance Ministry.

"It is of our reform policy to conduct a balance statement otherwise, let voters expel their representatives," Aoun remarked.

"We have discovered that the USD 11 billion issue was not listed on the Parliament's agenda," Aoun said.

L.W.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Rahi, Mokbel discuss major developments
 

Thu 23/02/2012 13:04

NNA - 23/2/2012 Maronite Patriarch Mar Beshara Rahi Thursday tackled domestic up-to-dates during his meeting with Deputy Premier Samir Mokbel at Bkerki.

Rahi also convened with former MP Mekhayel Daher, the Priest of the Greek Catholic parish Father Rafael Shevekiyan, and a delegation representing Hmadeh family from Beit Eddine.

At another level, Rahi signed the dossiers which shall be sent to Rome to decide on the beatification of Patriarch Estfan Doueihi.


L.W.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Youssif refuses to legalize LL8.9 trillion spending
 

Thu 23/02/2012 13:02

NNA - 23/2/2012 - Member of Parliament Ghazi Youssef refused to legalize the LL8.9 trillion government spending in return for dropping any discussion on the controversial $11 billion which was spent above the official budget ceiling.

Speaking to LBC TV station, Youssef said this government wants to legalize the expenditures which took place last year through advance payments.

"They (government) want cover up the advance payments of the previous Cabinets which was not only $11 billion until 2009 and now has become $16 billion up to 2010," Youssef said.

He argued that the current government is blatantly violating the law.

The MP added that this government want March 14 MPs to vote in favor of the new budget but refuses at the same time to legalize the money which was spent by the previous cabinets.

"We do not have the majority to topple this government but we have enough votes to block any voting. It doesn't seem that there will be an agreement on this issue. If they have the majority then let them exercise their authority," Youssef stressed.

He also slammed March 8 ministers and MPs, implying that Energy and Water Minister Gibran Bassil is behind the scandal of the missing red gasoil and diesel oil.

O.H

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - March 14 MPs quit Parliament session, Berri adjourns session till March 8
 

Thu 23/02/2012 13:01

NNA - 23/2/2012 - House Speaker, Nabih Berri, adjourned Thursday's legislative session till March 8, 2012, after the withdrawal of March 14 MPs, NNA correspondent said.

A standoff over not linking the controversial 11 million USD with the cabinet's LL 8.9 trillion spending project, aimed at covering the budget expenses till December 31, 2011, is what prompted MPs to leave the session.

Future Parliamentary bloc Leader, Foaud Siniora, reportedly rejected Speaker Berri's proposal to establish a Parliamentary Committee to study the project.

In turn, MP Walid Jumlatt requested of conferees to politically resolve the matter and get over and done with this issue the soonest possible.

R.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - # Berri delays legislative session to March 8
 

Thu 23/02/2012 12:42

NNA - 23/2/2012 - House Speaker Nabih Berri has postponed the legislative session till March 8, after the withdrawal of March 14 Deputies, as reported by our NNA correspondent.
D.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - March 14 MPs quit Parliament session
 

Thu 23/02/2012 12:14

NNA - 23/02/2012 - March 14 MPs withdrew from the Parliament's legislative session, currently being held in Nejmeh Square, NNA correspondent said on Thursday.
R.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - March 14 MPs quit Parliament session
 

Thu 23/02/2012 12:14

NNA - 23/02/2012 - March 14 MPs withdrew from the Parliament's legislative session, currently being held in Nejmeh Square, NNA correspondent said on Thursday.
R.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Daher denounces Aoun's outbidding approach
 

Thu 23/02/2012 12:04

NNA - 23/2/2012 - MP Khaled Daher Thursday said that MP Michel Aoun can no longer continue with his "outbidding" approach especially when Hezbollah feels that it was improper to persist in weakening government and demonstrate its incapability to the public.

Future bloc member told Free Lebanon radio that it was no longer a secret acknowledging that this government is a Hezbollah "hostage" a "Syrian-made" one thus, with the sole aim to assist Syrian regime as well as anchor the resistance's policy, and protect its weapons.

On the topic of Lebanon's non participation in the Syria's Friends Conference tomorrow in Tunisia, Daher said Lebanon's stance is not unusual since "it supports the Syrian regime in murdering the people."
L.W.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved





 

Politics - # Parliament lifts VAT on diesel prices
 

Thu 23/02/2012 11:46

NNA - 23/02/2012 - The House of Parliament, currently convening in Nejmeh Square, approved on permanently lifting the VAT on red and green diesel prices.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Wehbe: Government is adopting double-standard strategy
 

Thu 23/02/2012 11:44

NNA - 23/2/2012 - Deputy Amin Wehbe on Thursday said this government is adopting a double-standard policy, calling on the government components to deal with current matters with high sense of responsibility.

Wehbe confirmed that there's an attempt to agree with House Speaker Nabih Berri over the expenditures issue.

"March 14 Deputies will be present today at the parliament," he affirmed.

D.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved





 

Politics - # Sleiman signs Nahhas's resignation decree
 

Thu 23/02/2012 11:32

NNA - 22/02/2012 - President of the Republic Michel Sleiman signed on Thursday the resignation decree of Labor Minister Charbel Nahhas.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Zahra urges careful study of MPs proposals
 

Thu 23/02/2012 11:19

NNA - 23/2/2012 - MP Antoine Zahra Thursday counseled the careful study of MPs Nabil de Freij and Ibrahim Kanaan's proposals.

Lebanese Forces bloc member said a gradual-current solution would be through signing the decree by a decision of the Cabinet and not by endorsing the law at the Parliament.

Speaking to Voice of Lebanon- Freedom and Dignity- radio, Zahra noted that there was another division inside the government between Minister Gibran Bassil and another party which in harmony with MP Naamtallah Abi Nasr's proposal.

The MP also remarked that cancelling subsidy on one type of gas oil is definitely a preamble for manipulations and transactions in order not to catch the difference between the two types.


L.W.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved








 

Politics - Parliamentary session kicks off
 

Thu 23/02/2012 11:15

NNA - 23/4/2012 - The parliament convened at 11:00 AM today, chaired by Speaker of the House Nabih Berri, and in the presence of Prime Minister Najib Mikati and ministers.

Before the session, Berri met with MP Michel Aoun in the presence of MP Ibrahim Kanaan.

Mikati and Health Minister Ali Hassan Khalil also joined the meeting.

O.H

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Berri, Aoun meet before legislative session
 

Thu 23/02/2012 11:11

NNA - 23/2/2012 - House Speaker Nabih Berri on Thursday met with Deputy Michel Aoun, in presence of MP Ibrahim Kanaan, shortly before the legislative session.

D.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Alain Aoun: Nahhas' resignation is not result of "deal"
 

Thu 23/02/2012 11:07

NNA - 23/2/2012 - Deputy Alain Aoun on Thursday said the word "deal" does not describe well the situation which led to the resignation of outgoing Labor Minister Charbel Nahhas.

The MP told the Voice of Lebanon radio station that what happened was sheer political understandings, as the current government is bound to find solutions for the current controversial issues.

"We should open a new page at the governmental level, with respect to the Change and Reform bloc's representation," he said.

"Minister Nahhas decided to resign for legal reasons pertaining to the transportation allowance decree. We tried our best to dissuade him from doing so because the solution we had reached for legalizing this decree in the parliament was way more important than signing the decree," Aoun clarified.

As for the new Labor Minister, the MP explained that "when general Aoun announced that Nahhas' replacement will be affiliated to the FPM, it was a message for the others and not for Minister Nahhas himslef."
D.K.

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Politics - # Fatouch signs transportation allowance decree
 

Thu 23/02/2012 10:48

NNA - 23/2/2012 - Acting Labor Minister Nicolas Fatouch signed this morning the transpiration allowance decree following his visit to Prime Minister Najib Mikati at the Grand Serail.

After the meeting, Fatouch told reporters that Mikati informed him about the resignation of Charbel Nahhas and insisted to reactivate the government work.

"The only course the government should take is to address the needs of the people and cater to their demands in accordance with the prevailing laws and away from pressures and provocations," Fatouch said.

O.H

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Politics - Nahr El-Bared tops Mikati-Mirza talks
 

Wed 22/02/2012 20:35

NNA - 22/02/2012 - Prime Minister Najib Mikati met on Wednesday with Attorney General Saeed Mirza over ongoing investigations surrounding the case of those arrested for their involvement in Nahr El-Bared incidents.

The period extending between May 20, 2007 till September 2, 2007, Nahr Al- Bared Refugee camp witnessed intense clashes between the Lebanese army and a radical Islamist group "Fatah Al-Islam". The army strongly shelled and attacked the camp of Nahr el-Bared, a stronghold of the radical group, before taking full control on Sunday, September 2.

According to a report published on Tuesday, September 4, 2007, the fighting left at least 244 civilians dead (including 222 terrorists) and 163 in army ranks.

A number of Islamist fighters have managed to escape, while the camp, currently being rebuilt, was totally destroyed, emptied of its property and its inhabitants.

Separately, Mikati discussed with Civil Services Council head, Khaled Kabbani, pending administrative appointments and means of boosting the council's administrative work.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Cabinet to resume activity within hours - Aridi
 

Wed 22/02/2012 19:28

NNA - 22/2/2012 - The cabinet will resume its activities in the upcoming few hours within the constitutional bases, Minister of Public Works and Transportation, Ghazi Aridi, said on Wednesday.

He indicated that contacts were still underway between the President of the Republic, the Prime Minister, and House Speaker, in an effort to salve the freshly-sparked crisis in the cabinet over the long-simmering transportation allowance decree.

As the cabinet duly Okayed a decree on adjusting wages, Labor Minister, Charbel Nahhas, continued to refuse to sign a decree on transportation allowance and argued that the decree was incompliant with the law.
Nahhas opted to resign his post yesterday instead of meeting PM Najib Mikati's demand to sign the decree.

Aridi, speaking during a ceremony in honor of former members of the Higher Council of Urbanism today, said he highly estimated Minister Nahhas for his courage.

He also highlighted the necessity to anchor the notion of the state and bolster the state's institutions.

"We are not the sole country where political and sectarian problems happen," he lastly noted.

 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Pietton meets Gemayel, reaffirms France's denunciation of tyranny
 

Wed 22/02/2012 19:20

NNA - 22/2/2012 - The French Ambassador to Lebanon reiterated on Wednesday his country's categorical disapproval of all forms of violence and oppression rocking crisis-stricken Syria.

The French Diplomat, Denis Peitton, had been to Kataeb Party Leader, Amine Gemayel. Both men reportedly tackled the situation in Syria and its ramifications on the Lebanese internal scene.

"The French stance, along with that of the European Union and the international group, with exception of Russia and China, is clear," said Pietton.

A meeting expected to gather "Syria's Friends" will be held in Tunisia on February 24, in an attempt to express unanimous denunciation of the state of unrest sweeping the Syrian nation.

As for Gemayel's stances supporting Lebanon's dissociation from events taking place in neighboring Syria, the French diplomat relayed what his country described as a "very rational position".

"This is the best stance Lebanon could think of adopting with the given circumstances," he said, adding "We [France] have continuously voiced our concern over not having Lebanon import external disputes into its territories."

Furthermore, Pietton called on Lebanese politicians to spring into action and opt for dialogue, in an attempt to put internal disputes to a halt.
R.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Ahmad Hariri meets Eichhorst
 

Wed 22/02/2012 18:12

NNA - 22/02/2012 - Future Movement Secretary-General, Ahmad Hariri, on Wednesday met with European Union ambassador to Lebanon, Angelina Eichhorst. Discussions featured high on recent developments at domestic and regional scenes.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved



 

Politics - Handing over ceremony between Jreissati, Nahhas
 

Mon 27/02/2012 16:45

NNA - 27/02/2012 - A handing over ceremony was held Monday at the Labor Ministry in Beirut between outgoing Minister Charbel Nahhas and newly appointed Minister Salim Jreissati, in presence of the Labor Ministry's acting director general Abdullah Razzouk and other dignitaries.

Jreissati and Nahhas held a joint meeting discussing the ministry's work. The latter informed the former of the ministry's accomplished projects as well as the pending ones.

A.M.

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Politics - Fadlallah: Lebanon cannot dispense with Resistance-Army-Public equation
 

Wed 22/02/2012 16:30

NNA - 22/02/2012 - Deputy Hassan Fadlallah affirmed that Lebanon could not dispense with its self-power interpreted in terms of the tripartite equation of solidarity among the resistance, army and public.

Fadlallah refused any justification for the Israeli breach of Aitaroun, especially that Lebanon's liberated lands, highly sacrificed by the precious blood of martyrs, could not be a space for Israeli aggressive violations. However, such a breach could well prove the resistance's right course in opposing any Israeli assault.

A.M.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - March 14 sees about time for government to leave
 

Wed 22/02/2012 15:45

NNA - 22/2/2012 - March 14 forces on Wednesday maintained that it was no more acceptable for the political power in Lebanon to remain under the command of a regional front.

As deploring what they termed as the "wretched" situation within the Mikati-led government, the forces said it was high time for this political power to go.

March 14 General Secretariat convened today in its weekly periodic meeting in Ashrafieh, where it noted that the state was now undergoing an in-a-row deterioration.

The forces did not fail to blast Hezbollah Secretary General, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, for his comments on the discourses of March 14 figures during last week's rally marking the 7th anniversary of Rafik Hariri assassination in BIEL.

Besides, a closing statement issued in the wake of the meeting echoed the forces' cordial welcoming of the "Friends of Syria" meeting.

"The forces see this meeting as an important stage to develop the Arab-regional-international support for the Syrian people and uprising, as well as to bolster the acknowledgement of the Syrian opposition especially the Syrian National Council," the statement read.

A Western and Arab-backed contact group is scheduled to meet in Tunisia on Friday to lobby for gleaning international support for the Syrian opposition.

Lebanon will not attend the meeting in compliance with the disassociation policy the Lebanese government had agreed to adopt vis-a-vis the 11-month crisis in Syria.


R.A.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Berri adjourns parliamentary session until Thursday
 

Wed 22/02/2012 15:38

NNA - 22/02/2012 - The legislative session that started Wednesday at 09:45 under the chairmanship of House Speaker Nabih Berri was adjourned by the Speaker at 14:20. The session was attended by 95 deputies and was preceded by a one-on-one meeting between Berri and Prime Minister Najib Mikati.

March 14 deputies criticized the government's work and the disassociation policy adopted adopted as concerning the ongoing Syrian crisis.

During the session, which was scheduled to discuss the transportation fee issue, some deputies stressed on the necessity of accomplishing the public budget for 2012.

Deputy Boutros Harb, taking the parliamentary podium, asked the government what had happened with Labor Minister Charbel Nahhas and what has the government done as concerning public livelihood issues. Harb criticized the financial and economic policies adopted by the government to look into the crisis preoccupying the country.

The deputy concluded his statement saying that the governmental system was getting worse and the minister's resignation would aggravate the situation instead of solving it.

Deputy Marwan Hamade described the present government as disassociated from Lebanon, the world and the international community.

Deputy Robert Ghanem attacked the executive authority's policy that was waiting for foreign developments before starting work. Ghanem called upon the legislative institution to assume its duties and responsibilities in order to avoid any public revolution against chaos in Lebanon.

A.M.

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Politics - Berri, Bassil meet
 

Wed 22/02/2012 15:29

NNA - 22/2/2012 - House Speaker Nabih Berri on Wednesday received at the parliament Water and Energy Minister, Gebran Bassil.
D.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Pietton meets Aoun, hopes government would resume activity
 

Wed 22/02/2012 15:24

NNA - 22/2/2012 - Change and Reform bloc Head, MP Michel Aoun, on Wednesday discussed with the French Ambassador to Lebanon Denis Pietton the visit of Premier Najib Mikati to Paris.

Pietton deemed as positive said visit, saying Mikati had succeeded to preserve stability in Lebanon, which was "one of his ultimate concerns."

"In witness of the surrounding unrest, we are glad Lebanon had managed to remain stable," he said, assuring that his country was keen on keeping Lebanon out of harm's way amid the developments in the region, especially in Syria.

Discussions also touched on local affairs pertaining to the government crisis. In the wake of the meeting, the Ambassador hoped the government would resume its activities and overcome the administrative appointments' knot so as to address well the people's issues.

In light of the current French elections, the Ambassador said the results were not yet determined, assuring that the French foreign policy followed a certain pattern, with special concern over the Middle East.

He confirmed as well that his country will keep providing aid and support to the Lebanese military institution.

"When it comes to the Syrian developments, we obviously stand against violence," said Pietton, uttering surprise of how "dark" the path had turned out to be.

Separately, the FPM leader met at his Rabieh residence with former Minister Karam Karam.

D.K.

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Politics - Sleiman, Mokbel go over general situation
 

Wed 22/02/2012 14:41

NNA - 22/2/2012 - President of the Republic, Michel Sleiman, on Wednesday tackled with Deputy Prime Minister Samir Moqbel general juncture and the work of the ministerial committees he presides.

Also, Sleiman met with former Ministers Michael Daher and Muhammad Shatah over legal, constitutional, financial and economic affairs.

Separately, the President received a delegation of Professional Art Association, briefing him on its artistic and cultural activities, after having earned an honorary shield from the First Lady Wafaa Sleiman.

Political developments and current local issues also topped talks between Sleiman and the Head of Dialogue party, Fouad Makhzoumi.

The President eventually received an invitation from NDU delegation to partake in the ceremony of Said Akl centenary on July 4.

D.K.

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Politics - Kabalan urges Arab nations to act to save holy sites in Palestine
 

Wed 22/02/2012 13:49


NNA - 22/02/2012 - The vice Head of Islamic Shiite Supreme Council, Sheikh Abdul Amir Kabalan, denounced Wednesday the Zionist violations to Muslim and Christian holy sites in Palestine, calling for an international campaign to curb crimes committed by Israel.

Sheikh Kabalan urged Muslims and Christians to act immediately so as to rescue the holy places in Palestine from Judaization.

He condemned, on another note, the actions of the U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan, as they had burned copies of the Koran, noting that "this brutal and provocative act should raise condemnation campaigns by Muslims and Christians, who should therefore punish the U.S. administration and its soldiers for their crime."
D.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved






 

Politics - Abdul Aziz denies links to arms smuggling
 

Wed 22/02/2012 12:59

NNA - 22/2/2012 - MP Qassem Abdul Aziz Wednesday denied television reports about his relation with Bilal Donnaoui and other weapons' traders.

Bilal Donnaoui was injured in the explosion of an arms depot in Tripoli and is detained by the army.

Abdul Aziz told the National News Agency in a phone call from Saudi Arabia that all of what was published is unfounded, adding that he knew Dounnaoui long time ago but has never made deals in trading weapons.


L.W.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Abdul Aziz denies links to arms smuggling
 

Wed 22/02/2012 12:59

NNA - 22/2/2012 - MP Qassem Abdul Aziz Wednesday denied television reports about his relation with Bilal Donnaoui and other weapons' traders.

Bilal Donnaoui was injured in the explosion of an arms depot in Tripoli and is detained by the army.

Abdul Aziz told the National News Agency in a phone call from Saudi Arabia that all of what was published is unfounded, adding that he knew Dounnaoui long time ago but has never made deals in trading weapons.


L.W.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Hout says Aoun making deals inside government
 

Wed 22/02/2012 12:41

NNA - 22/2/2012 - MP Imad Hout Wednesday said the reality of the "political game" points out to the settlement MP Michel Aoun made in return for other gains.

"Was it necessary to put on hold citizens and laborers' interests for 4 months just to generate a profit?" Future bloc member interrogated.

Speaking to Al-Sharek radio, Hout deemed the resignation of Minister Nahhas to weaken the Lebanese system "when the normal procedure stipulates that a Minister should present his resignation to the Premier and not to the head of a bloc."

The MP also said that stopping and resuming governmental works was on the background of extending the mandate of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon.

"Lebanon cannot be controlled by any force regardless of the extent of partnership with others," Hout said, noting that dialogue has become more desired than before.


L.W.

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Politics - Jarrah: Aoun trades Nahhas's resignation for appointments
 

Wed 22/02/2012 11:28

NNA - 22/2/2012 - MP Jamal Jarrah Wednesday said MP Michel Aoun wants to swap Minister Nahhas's resignation for the appointments mainly, within Higher Judicial Council head.

Future bloc member presumed that an agreement between House Speaker Nabih Berri and MP Aoun took place before Parliament's session so that MPs Nabil de Freij and Ibrahim Kanaan's proposals be taken back and thus governmental work would be carried out under executive authority's control.

Speaking to Voice of Lebanon, and pertaining to the red diesel scandal, Jarrah said Audit Bureau became convinced that a deal was being held with companies' receiving diesel within the last 3 days of delivery
.
The MP also said there was a plot to deliver diesel to certain companies so that these, in turn, would sell it at a higher price.



L.W.
 

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Politics - Parliament starts its legislative session
 

Wed 22/02/2012 10:49

NNA - 22/2/2012 - The parliament started before a while its general legislative session with 19 articles on its agenda.

Among the articles is the draft law proposed by Deputy Nabil De Freij about the transportation and education allowances, in addition to the proposed law by Deputy Ibrahim Kanaan on the same issue.

Also commuting the prison year to nine months and installing power line cables underground are to be discussed in today's session.
A.A.M

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Khoury: premiership is not yet notified of Nahhas' resignation
 

Wed 22/02/2012 10:41

NNA - 22/2/2012 - Environment Minister Nazem Khoury confirmed that the Premier has not yet been notified of Minister Charbel Nahhas' resignation, hoping this matter would be settled before the parliamentary session.

In his interview with the Voice of Lebanon, Voice of Dignity and Freedom, the Minister denied having any information about MP Michel Aoun's request for guarantees to pass the project of Deputy Ibrahim Kanaan in the parliament.

"Nahhas' resignation paved the way for solving the government's issue and resuming cabinet sessions," he considered.

"Up till now, there had been no announcement about the possibility of holding a cabinet session this week," Khoury said, refusing to tie Aoun's "sacrifice" of accepting Nahhas' resignation to some guarantees he seeks at the administrative appointments level.
D.K.

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Politics - Kheir: Hizbullah imposes its will on FPM
 

Wed 22/02/2012 10:36

NNA - 22/2/2012 - "Future" bloc member Kazem Kheir stressed that there was a harsh reality imposed by "Hizbullah" on "Free Patriotic Movement".

The MP said that Deputy Michel Aoun abandoned lots of his principles when he returned from France, expressing no surprise that Aoun forsake Labor Minister Charbel Nahhas.

Kheir told "Free Lebanon" radio on Wednesday that "Wednesday's legislative session still exist", adding that several projects would be discussed.

"Anything is possible in this cabinet such as bargaining on different issues, including appointments issue", the MP said.
A.A.M

NNA 2012 All rights reserved





 

Politics - Ogassapian: Cabinet with or without Nahhas sample of corruption
 

Wed 22/02/2012 10:14

NNA - 22/2/2012 - Deputy Jean Ogassapian stressed that the cabinet with or without Labor Minister Charbel Nahhas was a sample of failure and corruption.

"The cabinet's performance won't change with the resignation of Nahhas", the MP emphasized.

The MP told on Wednesday "Voice of Lebanon"-Freedom and Dignity radio that the two proposals presented by Deputies Nabil De Freij and Ibrahim Kanaan to the parliament on the transportation allowances would not pass in the legislative session today.

The MP stressed that "both proposals breach the constitution".
A.A.M

NNA 2012 All rights reserved






 

Politics - Change and Reform seeks rational solution: Abboud
 

Wed 22/02/2012 10:12

NNA - 22/2/2012 - Tourism Minister Fadi Abboud Wednesday said Change and Reform bloc is seeking a rational legal solution to salaries problem.

Abboud told Voice of Lebanon that Minister Charbel Nahhas gave a new perspective of laborers that is worthy of respect.


L.W.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved




 

Politics - Nicolas Nahhas: No parliamentary session before endorsement of Labor Minister's resignation
 

Wed 22/02/2012 10:11

NNA - 22/02/2012 - Economy and Trade Minister Nicolas Nahhas told Voice of Lebanon that there won't be a legislative session today until the resignation of Labor Minister Charbel Nahhas has been ratified by the Cabinet.

"The parliamentary session today depends on whether the Labor Minister's resignation is ratified and if the acting Labor Minister signs the decree on transportation allowance. If this happens then the parliament will convene to discuss all the laws and projects on the agenda," Nahhas said.

He argued that the different approaches within the Cabinet have caused the suspension of the government sessions.

As for the government administrative appointments, Nahhas said these appointments should take into consideration the position of the President of the Republic and if this happens then the problem is solved.

He also called for finding a common ground between the proposal of Justice Minister Shakeeb Kirtbawi and President Michel Sleiman with respect to judicial appointments.

O.H

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Politics - Abdul Aziz denies any support by him for arms trading
 

Tue 21/02/2012 21:54

NNA - 21/02/2012 - Deputy Qassem Abdul Aziz denied to NNA on Tuesday what has been said by a TV station that Abdul Aziz was supporting Bilal Dennawi, an accused of arms trading.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Solidere's activities top talks at Bkerki
 

Tue 21/02/2012 21:46


NNA - 21/02/2012 - Maronite Patriarch Bechara Rahi received on Tuesday at Bkerki Patriarchate the director general of Solidere Company Munir Dweidi, who related to the host Solidere's activities in Downtown/Beirut on the cultural and economic levels.

Afterwards, Rahi also received the director of Solidere's Projects Engineer Pierre Edde.

Amongst Bkerki's visitors: Attorney Chady Saad and a delegation of Qobayat village headed by Bishop George Bou Jaoude.
A.M
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved

Politics - Zaki avows Fatah, Hamas in same ditch to rebuild unity
 

Tue 21/02/2012 20:00

NNA - 21/2/2012 - Fatah senior official, Abbas Zaki, on Tuesday said the two Palestinian parties at loggerheads, namely Hamas and Fatah, managed to be in the same ditch so as to rebuild the Palestinian unity within the frame of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO).

"The Palestinians have much paid for peace and it is due time now to drive the Palestinian people and the Arab nation to move forward towards realizing their aspirations," Zaki told a news conference held today at the premises of the Palestinian embassy in Beirut.

Zaki headed for the past days a delegation of Fatah movement and visited a number of top Lebanese officials in an effort to clarify the Palestinian position in light of the ongoing changes and developments, after the peace process had stalled in-limbo.

As highlighting the obligation to reset order to the obfuscated Palestinian domestic scene, mainly through fostering reconciliation which shall bridge all gaps, the Palestinian high-ranking official maintained that the resistance, for its part, must be pricey for the enemy.

"[Using] resistance relies on two things: it should be useful and not destructive, and it should be real," he corroborated.

He also indicated that Hamas was now skimming through a political solution and said that the Islamic movement shared with Fatah the same beliefs.

Turning to unrest-swept Syria, Zaki hoped this nation would eventually overcome the 11-month crisis.

He did not fail to remind that 750,000 Palestinians live in Syria, stressing that the interest of the Palestinians lies within the stability and security of Syria.


R.A.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Aoun: Nahhas's resignation still pending, we support his demand
 

Tue 21/02/2012 19:16

NNA - 21/02/2012 - Change and Reform Bloc Head Michel Aoun said Labor Minister Charbel Nahhas's decision to resign from his ministerial post was still pending a study to be conducted by the Bloc and it was he [Aoun] who would accept or not the decision.

Deputy Aoun's fresh stance came Tuesday in the context of a regular weekly meeting for BRC at his Rabieh residence.

Aoun affirmed his ongoing efforts to legalize the transportation fee decree according to the way it had been demanded and presented by Nahhas.

"We supported Nahhas's decision of refusing to sign the decree because the State Shoura Council rejects illegalized law drafts," said BRC head.

The General explained that his bloc was still supporting Nahhas, assuring that the new Labor Minister, if Nahhas's resignation decision were to take effect, would be from the Free Patriotic Movement.
A.M./P.BC.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Jumblatt, Zaki tackle latest developments
 

Tue 21/02/2012 18:50

NNA - 21/2/2012 Progressive Socialist Party Head Walid Jumblatt met on Tuesday at his Clemenceau residence with "Fatah" Movement Central Committee Head Abbas Zaki, who came on top of a delegation of the Palestinian Command in Lebanon.

Deputy Jumblatt and Ambassador Zaki tackled the latest developments in Lebanon and the Arab region.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Mikati, Mansour meet at Grand Serail
 

Tue 21/02/2012 18:49

NNA - 21/2/2012 - Prime Minister, Najib Mikati, and Foreign Minister, Adnan Mansour, on Tuesday met at the Grand Serail over an array of affairs relevant to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates.

Speaking to reporters following the meeting, Minister Mansour made it clear that Lebanon would not participate in the Friends of Syria conference, to be held in Tunisia on Friday.

"I was in contact with the Prime Minister on this matter and I informed him of the invitation I have received from the Tunisian Foreign Minister; we agreed that we will not attend the conference in Tunisia on February 24, as per the disassociation [policy] and the reservations on a number of the Arab League decisions," Mansour said.

Separately, a delegation of the Arab-international Gaza reconstruction committee had also been to the Grand Serail for a meeting with the Prime Minister.
R.A.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Future bloc slams Nasrallah remarks on BIEL rally
 

Tue 21/02/2012 18:38

NNA - 21/2/2012 - Future parliamentary bloc on Tuesday lambasted the backlash by Hezbollah Secretary General, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, at last week's BIEL rally commemorating the 7th anniversary of Rafik Hariri martyrdom.

The bloc held today its weekly periodic meeting at the Central House, under the chairmanship of MP Fouad Siniora, and lengthily tackled the current situation in Lebanon and the broader Arab region.

A closing statement issued in the wake of the meeting echoed the bloc's stern dismay at Sayyed Nasrallah's remarks, made during a ceremony marking Martyr's Day in the Southern Suburb of Beirut last Thursday.

The bloc mainly slammed what it termed as the negativity of Nasrallah, who, countering former Prime Minister Saad Hariri, said who sought to shirk strife had best silence his deputies and media outlets.

"The negativity of Sayyed Nasrallah's stances (...) exacerbates the 'walls building' state existing among the Lebanese and which Hezbollah has endeavored to foster to preserve its political and sectarian hegemony," the statement read.

Besides, the bloc did not fail to flatly condemn the continuity of massacres in Syria against civilians and considered that the Lebanese government must provide help for the Syrians who fled their unrest-swept country.

R.A.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Sleiman, Khalil tackle current situation
 

Tue 21/02/2012 18:20

NNA - 21/2/2012 President of the Republic Michel Sleiman met at Baabda palace on Tuesday afternoon with Public Health Minister Ali Hassan Khalil, where they tackled the current political situation and relevant ministerial affairs.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Rifi meets with Ersal Municipality
 

Tue 21/02/2012 18:13

NNA - 21/2/2012 Internal Security Forces (ISF) Chief Ashraf Rifi met on Tuesday at his Barrack office with a delegation of Ersal Municipality, chaired by its Head Ali Hojairi.

The delegation expressed support to ISF institution, lauding its role in keeping order, protecting the nation's stability and preserving citizens' security.

----------------L.Y
 

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Politics - Geagea, Plumbly tackle developments
 

Tue 21/02/2012 17:32

NNA - 21/2/2012 - Lebanese Forces leader, Samir Geagea, on Tuesday met with newly appointed UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon, Derek Plumbly, who came on a protocol visit.

A statement by LF media bureau said that the meeting featured high on most recent developments on the local scene, whereby Plumbly highlighted that the UN would continue to support stability in South Lebanon and the implementation of UN resolution 1701.
R.A.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Kahwagi, Fox review bilateral military cooperation
 

Tue 21/02/2012 16:50

NNA - 21/02/2012 - "U.S. Naval Forces Central Command Commander Vice Admiral Mark I. Fox visited Lebanon today and met with Lebanese Armed Forces Commander General Jean Kahwagi and Lebanese Naval Commander Rear Admiral Nazih Baroudi to discuss bilateral military cooperation," a statement by the US embassy's press office said on Tuesday.

"In his meetings, Vice Admiral Fox emphasized the strong and sustained naval cooperation between the two countries," the statement indicated.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Russia says no to "Friends of Syria"
 

Tue 21/02/2012 16:47

NNA - 21/2/2012 - Russian ambassador to Lebanon, Alexandre Zasypkin, on Tuesday asserted that Russia will not attend a Western and Arab-backed contact group to meet in Tunisia next week to lobby for international support for the Syrian opposition.

The diplomat explained that Russia snubbed the participation in the so-called "Friends of Syria" meeting for it only gathers one category of the Syrian people.

"The Syrian representation is thus insufficient and it does not help on the level of national dialogue," he said.

Zasypkin visited today Foreign Minister, Adnan Mansour, with talks featuring high on the current juncture in the unrest-swept Mideast region, especially in Syria.

The ambassador, who noted that a sort of international coalition against Syria is being formed, rekindled Russia's call to join efforts to arrange an unconditioned dialogue bringing closer the opposition and the official authority.

"If the invitation was addressed to everyone to attend the conference, including the authority and the opposition, then we would have gladly accepted to participate; but we cannot partake in the meeting in the absence of the [Syrian] state," he said.

He also conveyed his country's encouragement for a two-pronged endeavor to make reforms, in an effort to put a political end to the 11-month crisis in Syria.

On the humanitarian corridors in Syria, Zasypkin suggested that the UN dispatches an envoy to coordinate with the Syrian authorities in that respect.

He said there must be an agreement between the states members at the Security Council to task a UN envoy with coordinating with the state, as Russia fears that flocking humanitarian aid into Syria would be embedding hidden goals to tamper with national sovereignty and establish unauthorized zones.

R.A.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Gemayel, Plumbly discuss domestic affairs
 

Tue 21/02/2012 15:54

NNA - 21/02/2012 - Kataeb Party Leader, Amine Gemayel, held general talks on Tuesday with interlocutors who had been to Kataeb's Saifi Headquarters.

Most recent political developments featured high on talks between Gemayel and Mr. Derek Plumbly, the United Nations Special Coordinator for Lebanon.

A statement issued by Kataeb following the pair's meeting, said that Plumbly's talks underscored the importance of preserving stability at the Lebanese-Israeli borderline, the implementation of resolution 1701, and the United Nations' development programs in Lebanon.

"Plumbly highly praised the rational and objective stances of Gemayel that had been revealed at a conference in BIEL on the Syrian crisis," the statement read.

In turn, Gemayel highlighted the importance of resolving Shebaa Farms-related issues, "so that it will no longer be taken as an excuse prohibit the Lebanese state from spreading full authority along all Lebanese territories, and so that arms will become the sole property of the Lebanese state."

Gemayel also asserted that the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) should continue its mission till the end, to unveil the identity of the assassins of Lebanese martyrs, including Pierre Gemayel and Antoine Ghanem.

Gemayel finally capitalized on the essential role played by the United Nations, prohibiting any scenario leading to the naturalization of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon.

The Australian Ambassador to Lebanon, Lex Bartlem, also met with Gemayel today over means of boosting Lebanese-Australian bilateral relations.
R.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - (updated) UK keen on Lebanon stability, says diplomat
 

Tue 21/02/2012 15:50

NNA - 21/2/2012 - British ambassador, Tom Fletcher, on Tuesday told House Speaker Nabih Berri that the UK is keenly concerned with maintaining stability in Lebanon, amid ongoing unrest sweeping neighboring countries.

The pair met today in Ain-el-Tineh over an array of most recent developments, in presence of Berri's media advisor, Ali Hamdan.

"I had a fruitful meeting with Speaker Berri, where we broached the current situation in the region and in Lebanon. We are all determined to exert efforts to preserve Lebanon's stability, especially amid current events in the region and in Syria in particular," said Fletcher.

The diplomat also voiced confidence in the ability of Lebanese commands to take the right decisions.

"It is time to make serious decisions," he corroborated.

Berri later met with elementary teachers' league, headed by Mahmoud Ayoub.

The Speaker also received Lebanese ambassador in Washington, Antoine Chedid.

Separately, Speaker Berri chaired the Liberation and Development bloc's meeting, with talks touching on tomorrow's parliamentary session's agenda as well as general juncture.
R.A.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Dar Al-Fatwa's Tuesday itinerants
 

Tue 21/02/2012 15:30

NNA - 21/02/2012 - A delegation representing Speaker of the House Nabih Berri, visited on Tuesday Mufti of the Republic, Mohammad Rachid Qabbani, for talks over local and regional developments.

The Mufti also held a meeting at Dar Al Fatwa, in presence of Dar Al-Fatwa administration officials, as well as a delegation representing the Palestinian Liberation organization and the Palestinian Embassy in Beirut.

Talks reportedly touched on the incessant daily violations against Al-Aqsa Mosque at the hands of the Israeli enemy.

Agreements have been set on the launch of joint Dar Al-Fatwa - PLO efforts, in an attempt to rekindle Arab-Palestinian fraternity, for the Liberation of Quds from the grip of Israel.
R.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - UK keen on Lebanon stability, says diplomat
 

Tue 21/02/2012 15:14

NNA - 21/2/2012 - British ambassador, Tom Fletcher, on Tuesday told House Speaker Nabih Berri that the UK is keenly concerned with maintaining stability in Lebanon, amid ongoing unrest sweeping neighboring countries.

The pair met today in Ain-el-Tineh over an array of most recent developments, in presence of Berri's media advisor, Ali Hamdan.

"I had a fruitful meeting with Speaker Berri, where we broached the current situation in the region and in Lebanon. We are all determined to exert efforts to preserve Lebanon's stability, especially amid current events in the region and in Syria in particular," said Fletcher.

The diplomat also voiced confidence in the ability of Lebanese commands to take the right decisions.

"It is time to make serious decisions," he corroborated.

Berri later met with elementary teachers' league, headed by Mahmoud Ayoub.

The Speaker also received Lebanese ambassador in Washington, Antoine Chedid.


R.A.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Zasypkin asserts Russia's support to Arab stability, reforms
 

Tue 21/02/2012 15:03

NNA - 21/2/2012 The Russian Ambassador Tuesday affirmed his country's supportive stance to stability and political reforms in Arab countries.

Zasypkin spoke following his meeting with State Minister Marwan Kheir Eddine at the latter's office.

The Ambassador also called for constructive dialogue between concerned parties toward achieving satisfying results.


L.W.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Mikati, Terro tackle major developments
 

Tue 21/02/2012 15:00

NNA - 21/2/2012 Prime Minister Najib Mikati Tuesday tackled major recent developments during his meeting with Displaced Minister, Aladdin Terro.

Mikati also received a delegation of the Civil Moderation Gathering headed by former MP, Mesbah Ahdab, who briefed Mikati on the gathering's initiative to have all Northern political forces work for disengaging Tripoli from clashes.

A delegation of the Catholic Syriac Consultative Council, headed by Monseigneur Georges Al-Masri, visited the Grand Serail today and invited Mikati to attend the Mass in which Youssef III Younan will be celebrating Saint Efram day next Sunday, at the Annunciation Cathedral at Mathaf.

Mikati also met with a delegation of Saint Joseph University.

At another level, the Lebanese Premier received a delegation of Jbeil Sunnites families with whom he tackled trespasses against al-Awkaf rights in the region.

The Lebanese Ambassador to Washington, Antoine Chedid, also visited Mikati today.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - De Freij wishes government collapse
 

Tue 21/02/2012 14:54

NNA - 21/2/2012 - Deputy Nabil De Freij on Tuesday hoped that the government be ousted soon, as in his words, it is doomed to failure due to its incoherent formula.

The Deputy told Future News TV channel that he wished the parliamentary session would not take place tomorrow.

"The administrative appointments issue will raise a large controversy inside the cabinet, even worse than the topic of signing the transportation allowance decree," he estimated.

The MP also explained that the transportation allowance project, he earlier submitted to the parliament, didn't aim at "saving" the government, but was the outcome of the economic committee's duties.

He noted, in this regard, that the plan submitted by Deputy Ibrahim Kanaan reflected Minister Nahas' viewpoint, denying allegations which imply that he had been representing the Future bloc in his proposal.

"If things took their logical, legal and constitutional course, the Minister should then be bound to sign the decree," he said.
D.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Sleiman: Lebanese should draw lessons from regional developments
 

Tue 21/02/2012 14:46

NNA - 21/02/2012 - President of the Republic Michel Sleiman hoped on Tuesday that the Lebanese would draw lessons from developments surrounding the nation and opt for fortifying democratic practices and performances.

Speaking before Baabda Palace visitors today, the President also implored the people of Lebanon to preserve the nation's prevailing stability.

"Required efforts within the forthcoming phase ought to transform the state from being focused on personal, religious, and sectarian interests, to a state of public benefits, with doors wide open before competencies," the President told his visitors, affirming that those were mandatory needs to properly run state institutions and administrations, towards balanced development.

The President held talks on Tuesday with the Minister of Environment, Nazem Khoury, over means of boosting the role and capabilities of the environment ministry.

Nicholas Nahhas, the Minister of Trade and Economy, also visited the President today in the company of Patriarch Ignatius IV Hazim of Antioch and the entire East. Conferees engaged in a number of issues at the national level.

On the other hand, agreements at the Arab and international parliamentary levels featured high on talks between the President and Head of the Foreign Affairs Parliamentary Committee, MP Abdul Latif Zein.

MP Mosbah Ahdab had also been to Baabda Palace to brief the President over the "Civil Balance Gathering" goals and accomplishments, widening the scope of balanced rhetoric.
R.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Nahhas places resignation at Aoun's disposal
 

Tue 21/02/2012 13:51

NNA - 21/02/2012 - Labor Minister Charbel Nahhas, on Tuesday, placed his resignation at the disposal Reform and Change bloc leader, Deputy General Michel Aoun.
R.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Marouni criticizes Nahhas's demeanor
 

Tue 21/02/2012 13:22

NNA - 21/2/2012 - MP Elie Marouni Tuesday said that Minister Charbel Nahhas acted against the Cabinet's unanimity when he refrained from signing a decree the President and Premier had signed.

Marouni told Al-Sharek radio that if Nahhas won't sign, the government would go through a new cycle that would raise the concern of both the President and Premier as "they vowed to punish whomever challenges the Cabinet yet have done nothing (about it)."

Pertaining to the Syrian issue, Marouni said protests in Damascus were moving from one city to another yet, facts which do not convince those who benefit of Syrian regime.

The MP called for disengaging Lebanon from military operations because, in his words, neither the country nor its economic and human structures can withstand further adventures.

"As always, we shall forever keep calling for the state's control of the war and peace decision," he said.


L.W.

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Politics - Rahi, Abbas meet
 

Tue 21/02/2012 12:58

NNA - 21/2/2012 - Maronite Patriarch, Bechara Boutros on Tuesday tackled general situation with the representative of the Islamic Shiite Supreme Council in Canada, Sheikh Nabil Abbas, and the American Senator of Lebanese origins, Sam Al-Zakhem.

Rahi later received the family of the late, former Minister Nassib Lahoud, to thank him for his condolences and for officiating over his funeral.
D.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Daouk ups calls for quick cabinet activation
 

Tue 21/02/2012 12:35

NNA - 21/02/2012 - Information Minister Walid Daouk stepped up calls on Tuesday for speedily resuming cabinet activities, following a visit to the Archbishop of the Melkite Greek Catholic Archeparchy of Beirut and Byblos, Cyril Bustros.

The general prevailing situation at the Lebanese local scene, as well as means of augmenting inter-Lebanese dialogue, featured high on talks between Daouk, Bustros, and attending dignitaries.

On emerging, Daouk relayed a wish by both sides to have the government spring into action and multiply efforts in service of the Lebanese citizenries' livelihood issues.

"All should find a way out of the vicious cycle of personalism, which we find controlling the performance of some ministers and officials," Daouk argued.

"The critical and fateful circumstances the region endures, and their negative repercussions on the Lebanese internal situation, entail of all the Lebanese to join ranks and work as one unified team towards finding speedy solutions to standing issues," Daouk added.
On another level, Daouk lauded efforts by Bishop Bustros, especially during the "Synods works for Lebanon."

"He has got the strongest of relations with all sides," Daouk added in praise of Bustros.
R.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Hbeish calls on Nahhas to sign transportation allowance
 

Tue 21/02/2012 10:55

NNA - 21/2/2012 - Deputy Hadi Hbeish stressed that he would not vote in the parliament in case Labor Minister Charbel Nahhas did not sign the transportation allowance decree.

"I won't vote in the parliament on any proposed laws if labor minister does not sign the transportation allowance decree", the MP told "Voice of Lebanon"- Freedom and Dignity radio.

The MP said that if Nahhas signs today (Tuesday) the transportation allowance decree the problem would be solved, then we would resort to the parliament to clarify some points.

A.A.M

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Politics - Majdalani: Cabinet is pitting Lebanon against Arab consensus
 

Tue 21/02/2012 10:51

NNA - 21/2/2012 - Member of Parliament Atef Majdalani told Voice of Lebanon that the Cabinet headed by Prime Minister Najib Mikati is putting Lebanon on collision course with the Arabs who unanimously adopted a stand in favor of the Syrian people.

"This government, which was founded upon the orders from Syria and Hezbollah, is placing Lebanon on collision course with the Arabs and this has never happened since the country's independence," the MP said.

The MP also commented on tomorrow's parliamentary session which is aimed to discuss two proposals by MPs Ibrahim kanaan and Nabil De Freij on the transportation allowances.

He expected the parliament to merge the proposals of both MPs.

"What is happening now is nothing more than a long Iranian move which became very obvious. In other words, the Labor Minister will sign the decree on transportation allowance and tomorrow the parliament will meet and vote on it and then this bill will return to the Shura Council and endorse it."

He argued that some of the ministers and MPs are trying to gain popular support before the parliamentary elections.

O.H

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Politics - Top-ranking officials visit Deir al-Salib hospital
 

Mon 20/02/2012 23:05

NNA - 20/02/2012 - Prime Minister Najib Mikati and Ministers of Health Ali Hassan Khalil and Social Affairs Wael Bou Faour, accompanied by Maronite Bishop Bechara Rahi, toured on Monday the psychiatric hospital of Deir el-Salib in Jal el-Dib.

Mother Marie Makhlouf, Sister Arze Gemayel, Bishop Tanios Khoury, the hospital's medical corps and concerned officials greeted the visitors.

Mikati, Ministers, and Patriarch Rahi held a meeting with the hospital's officials, who displayed the needs of patients and the hospital, before offering them a tour around the hospital's different departments.

Mother Makhlouf delivered a word in which she indicated that the poor financial situation had affected the type of services provided to patients, "but has never prevented the hospital from continuing its mission."

In turn, Mikati highlighted efforts made by the hospital's officials, shining light on the performance of ministers Bou Faour and Khalil at this level.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Lebanese Army Command delegation meets Mikati
 

Mon 20/02/2012 22:47

NNA - 20/02/2012 - Prime Minister Najib Mikati met at the Grand Serail on Monday with a delegation representing the Lebanese Army Command.

The delegation Handed the Prime Minister an invitation to attend the inauguration ceremony of the "Second Regional Conference on the Middle East - post 2011", organized by the military at Monroe Hotel, on March 28.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Jisr: Nasrallah's speech negative but indirectly calls for dialogue
 

Mon 20/02/2012 22:40

NNA - 02/20/2012 - Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah's most recent speech is negative on the outside, despite carrying within an invitation for dialogue, Member of Parliament Samir Jisr said on Monday.
Speaking at a discussion panel in Tripoli, in presence of MP Wannous Badr, former MP Mostapha Allouch, and "Future Movement" supporters, MP Jisr dismissed the suspension of ministerial meetings as a theatrical act by Prime Minister Najib Mikati "in an attempt to prove that the existed someone to deter MP Michel Aoun and Hezbollah at the cabinet level."

The Future bloc MP also capitalized on a number of flaws at the governmental level. "Are financial compensations, at the expense of the Treasury, an adequate solution," he wondered.

Concerning Tripoli clashes, Jisr wondered about measures being taken to reveal the causes.

"Is it a cover for the situation in Syria or a message for Prime Minister Najib Mikati after his visit to Paris," he wondered.

Jisr also hoped that the Syrian crisis will have no impact on the Lebanese scene. He further reported that his bloc was exerting efforts to withdraw illegal weapons from Lebanese territories.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Bassil rebuffs involvement in red diesel scandal
 

Mon 20/02/2012 22:05

NNA - 20/02/2012 - Salient points uncovering the red diesel scandal, which drew sharp rebuke at the political and popular levels, have been the purpose of a press conference which had been held on Monday by Water and Energy Minister Gebran Bassil.

Affirming that he stood in no position to defend anyone, Bassil denied any involvement in the red diesel scandal, promising to provide the investigations committee and concerned authorities with more facts on the matter.

"Lying to people and providing misleading facts is not going to last for long," Bassil promised.

The subsidy that had been discontinued on January 19, 2012 was 3000 LL ($2.00) per 20 liters or 10 cents per liter. The companies that purchased the product made more than 10 million dollars worth of profits, at the expense of public funds, said energy analysts.

Albeit, Bassil said that he has always opposed subsidies on red diesel, considering they were of more benefit to traders than they were to the citizens themselves.

"I bet all Ministers, MPs, and monitoring bodies to go all the way, to the end, regarding the red diesel issue," Bassil said, indicating that he had expressed his opposing position from subsidies, on many occasions, to the Council of Ministers.

In all cases, and no matter what the investigations outcome turns out to be, Bassil held monitoring bodies and apparatuses responsible for this scandal.

"Just for once, we would like to witness those involved being punished in this country of ours," he said, slamming attempts by media outlets to further involve him in this issue, at the time "he hasn't gone wrong."

Bassil's comments come after Judge Aouni Ramadan, the Lebanese Court of Audit Bureau chief, who said on Monday that the bureau would follow up on the red diesel scandal until it is resolved. Ramadan told the National News Agency (NNA) on Monday that the Bureau had referred a report on the case to the General Prosecution.

"Last January 101 million liters of red diesel were sold to merchants the night before government subsidies on the fuel were discontinued," Ramadan disclosed.

Many March 14 officials have accused Bassil of delivering 8 million liters of red diesel shortly before the subsidies were lifted off, thus causing the treasury to lose $800,000 worth of profits.
R.H.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Signature saga tops Kataeb weekly meeting talks

 

Mon 20/02/2012 20:55

NNA - 20/02/2012 - The so-called "signature saga" in line with the faltering living conditions of the Lebanese people topped Kataeb Party talks during its regular weekly meeting on Monday.

Presided by Party Leader, Former President Amine Gemayel, Kataeb political bureau convened in session today, only to shine light on the many standing issues shaking the local political scene as a result of a standoff between President Michel Sleiman and Prime Minister Najib Mikati on the one hand, and Labor Minister Charbel Nahhas, on the other.

Nahhas still stands firm on his position not to sign a transportation allowance decree despite a termination warning from the president. President Michel Sleiman was quoted by media reports as warning Nahhas could lose his post if he fails to sign the Cabinet decree over the transportation allowance.

"Any solution to the signature crisis ought to follow a legitimate course and simultaneously respect the role of President Sleiman and the Council of Ministers," a statement by Kataeb read.

Conferees also agreed that it was high time an end was put to this crisis. "It carries along severe damage against the people's interests, especially those involved with standing decrees begotten by a showdown between the minister and both cabinet supporters."

In light of the Lebanese citizenries' mounting perils by the day, Kataeb saw an apt solution would be having the cabinet spring into action, instead of bogging the people down in deeper calamities.

"The cabinet even seemed incapable of facing a natural storm which gusted at its right time, in line with nature's seasonal calendar," the statement read.

Touching on the Syrian scene, Kataeb described the situation as moving towards an even more critical phase.

"Violence has become stronger than all, and has risen above all logical sounds," conferees agreed, dissatisfied, however, of the International Security Council's failure find a solution capable of putting a halt to this predicament.
R.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Serra visits Rifi, Ibrahim
 

Mon 20/02/2012 20:23

IFIL Commander, General Paolo Serra, on Monday visited Internal Security Forces Chief, Major General Ashraf Rifi, with talks featuring high on underway cooperation between the peacekeeping force in South Lebanon and the ISF institution.

General Serra had been later to the General Security premises, for a meeting with General Security Chief, Brigadier Abbas Ibrahim.

Talks reportedly touched on the current security situation in the UNIFIL's operations zone in South Lebanon.

Serra's meetings today are part of protocol visits the General is paying to Lebanese officials, following his fresh appointment as commander in office of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon, succeeding General Alberto Asarta Cuevas of Spain.


R.A.H.

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Politics - Zaki inspects Nahr Bared Camp
 

Mon 20/02/2012 20:18

NNA - 20/2/2012 Palestinian Authority International Relations Department Head Abbas Zaki underlined that the Palestinian people shall neither accept a state without Al-Quds nor a peace without Palestinian refugees' right to return to their homeland.
Ambassador Zaki was speaking during an inspection tour of Nahr Bared Palestinian Camp, accompanied by Palestinian Ambassador in Lebanon Ashraf Dbour, Palestinian Revolutionary Council members Kamal Sheikh and Abeer Wahidi, in addition to "Fatah" Movement Secretary in the North Abu Jihad Fayyad.
Zaki and his accompanied delegation visited the old camp and met with the families who briefed him on their current ordeal at the economic level.
Zaki also stressed that the Palestinian reconciliation with "Hamas" Movement is serious, pointing out that "Fatah" Movement is proceeding till the end in this reconciliation.
------------------L.Y

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Interior, Social Affairs ministries couple efforts to improve Roumieh Jail condition
 

Mon 20/02/2012 20:09

NNA - 20/2/2012 - Ministers of Interior and Social Affairs on Monday inspected a number of Roumieh Jail divisions and skimmed through the premises' condition and prisoners' pressing demands.

Minister Marwan Charbel, who said he was upbeat over the aftermath of spiraling joint efforts with the Ministry of Social Affairs, revealed that work was underway to inaugurate a trial hall within a four-month span, in an effort to salve the overcrowding jam.

On the proposal to lower the imprisonment year, to be included in Wednesday's legislative session's agenda, the Minister indicated that a panel of lawyers and jurists were endeavoring to reach an agreeable and suitable formula.

Minister Wael Abu Faour, for his part, advocated the foundation of a social affairs center at the jail and pinned hope on the ongoing cooperation with the Ministry of Interior and Municipalities.

Both ministers, along with ISF Chief Major General Ashraf Rifi, Gendarmerie Chief General Salah Gebran, Central Administration Commander General Mohammad Qassem, Mount Lebanon Commander General Jospeh Doueihi, and a panel of senior officers, today effectuated their third tour in catastrophe-infested Roumieh Jail.

"When we, as politicians, speak of Roumieh Jail, we only look from the outside and not from the inside, and sometimes the Internal Security Forces are blamed for prisoners' absconding cases or for inhuman conditions (...) but perceptive examination highlights that this intricate dossier indeed requires intensified efforts," Abu Faour said.

"I hope that this visit would bear fruits soon, and the important is that the Social Affairs Ministry today enters a place much saddled with so many social hardships. This first must have happened long time ago," he lastly noted.



R.A.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Jumblatt meets Bkirki Gathering Follow-up committee
 

Mon 20/02/2012 19:53

NNA - 20/02/2012 - Progressive Socialist Party Leader, Walid Jumblatt, held talks on Monday with Bkirki Gathering Follow-up Committee, including MPs Boutros Harb, George Edwan, Alain Aoun, Former Minister Yusuf Saadeh, in presence of Secretary General Zafer Nasser.
R.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Gemayel receives Zaki
 

Mon 20/02/2012 19:49

NNA - 20/02/2012 - Former Lebanese President Amine Gemayel received on Monday at Kataeb head-office in Beirut the member of Fatah Movement's Executive Committee Abbas Zaki and discussed with him recent developments at the local and regional scenes.

Zaki stressed upon the right for Palestinian refugees in Lebanon to return to their homeland, reiterating that Lebanon was for the Lebanese and Palestine for the Palestinians.

Zaki said that unfortunately there were international attempts to surpass the right of return.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Bellemare bids Lebanese farewell
 

Mon 20/02/2012 19:32

NNA - 20/02/2012 - Statement by Daniel A. Bellemare, Prosecutor of the STL, to the People of Lebanon:

"As I approach the end of my tenure as Prosecutor of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, I want to bid farewell to the People of Lebanon. It has been an honour and a privilege to serve both as the last Commissioner of the United Nations International Independent Investigation Commission, and as the founding Prosecutor of the Tribunal. I want to thank you for your support and trust in carrying out these profoundly important mandates. And for the journey of progress we have travelled together. During my tenure, I often felt that the fight against impunity would be a long and difficult journey.

Nonetheless, I continued to be passionate aboutthe mission and about Lebanon. The People of Lebanon deserve no less. They deserve a society free of impunity, a society based on a culture of accountability. Is there a greater mission than one built on the desire of a people for truth and justice? It is encouraging to see that this legitimate desire for justice and accountability is now gaining greater momentum. Today our fight against impunity is shared even more broadly. We have already accomplished a lot together in this respect. While much still remains to be done, I am confident that the foundations are firm. I am leaving with reluctance, but with the sense of having done the right thing, objectively, passionately and, with professionalism and respect.

These have been the most intense years of my professional life. Those who advised me when I was considering whether or not to accept this challenge were right when they saidthat if I declined the opportunity, I would regret it for the rest of my life. While it has been anything but easy, it has been immensely fulfilling both personally and professionally. It should come as no surprise that my decision not to seek reappointment for a second term was indeed a very difficult one.

As my professional involvement with the People of Lebanon comes to an end, I would like toleave you with a message of hope. Historic days lie ahead for justice and the People of Lebanon.

But Justice does not happen overnight. In this respect, the Lebanese people, and especially the victims, have been patient. For this, I want to thank all of you. I would also like to thank the Lebanese Authorities for their continued cooperation and assistance. I am proud to be leaving behind a strong and committed team of professionals, who have joined the Office of the Prosecutor because they believe in the cause of justice for Lebanon.
They have worked long and hard, often under very difficult circumstances, and they, too, have all my gratitude. With your support, they will continue their mission.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Siniora, Zaki tackle current developments
 

Mon 20/02/2012 18:48

NNA - 20/2/2012 "Future" Bloc Head Fouad Siniora met Monday afternoon with Palestinian Authority International Relations Department Head Abbas Zaki, at his "Sadet Tower" office.

Talks touched on the general situation in the country, notably the present conditions of Palestinan refugees in Lebanon and political developments on the local and regional arenas.

"Fatah Movement" Central Committee member Zaki came on top of a delegation comprising of Palestinian Ambassador Ashraf Dbour, Palestinian Revolutionary Council members Kamal Sheikh and Abeer Wahidi, in addition to "Fatah" Movement Secretary in Lebanon Fathi Abu Ardat.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Pietton returns from Paris
 

Mon 20/02/2012 17:53

NNA - 20/2/2012 French Ambassador to Lebanon Denis Pietton returned to Beirut on Monday afternoon, coming from the French capital Paris.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Charbel, Plumbly meet over land borders dossier
 

Mon 20/02/2012 17:53


NNA - 20/2/2012 - Minister of Interior and Municipalities, Marwan Charbel, and newly appointed UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon, Derek Plumbly, on Monday met over the dossier of land borders between Lebanon and Syria.

The pair also tackled projects executed through the cooperation between the United Nations and the Ministry, mainly on the level of legislative elections.

Talks touched as well on the technical aid the Lebanese security apparatuses and bodies affiliated to the Ministry are receiving from the UN.


R.A.H.

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Politics - Gafo confers upon Safadi high ranking citation
 

Mon 20/02/2012 17:50

NNA - 20/2/2012 Spanish Ambassador to Lebanon Juan Carlos Gafo conferred upon Finance Minister Mohammed Safadi a high ranking civil citation in the name of Spanish government, in recognition of his services to Spain.

The honorary ceremony took place at the Spanish Ambassador's residence in Hadath, attended by Information Minister Walid Daouk, Environment Minister Nazem Khoury and a number of political dignitaries.

Ambassador Gafo lauded Safadi's efforts in consecrating excellent relations between Lebanon and Spain, saying that effective bilateral cooperation competently contributes in enriching both peoples.

Minister Safadi, for his part, hailed Spain's permanent support for Lebanon, bringing to attention Spanish soldiers' efficient contribution in peace-keeping mission in south Lebanon within UNIFIL.
The Minister also indicated that Spain is similar to Lebanon through its openness, traditions and its people's affinity towards our Arab and Lebanese causes.
--------------L.Y

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Politics - Jumblatt warns Syrian Druze off supporting regime
 

Mon 20/02/2012 17:37

NNA - 20/02/2012 - Deputy Walid Jumblatt slammed the present Syrian regime and addressed the Syrian Druze in Syria not to support said regime.

The fresh stance of head of the Progressive Socialist Party, MP Walid Jumblatt, came Monday in the context of his weekly editorial to Al-Anbaa newspaper.

"Beware you Arab strugglers in the Druze Mountain of yielding to "Shabiha" group to confront your brothers in Syria and to resemble the guards of the borders with Israel...," PSP head said.

The deputy explained that the Syrian regime's self-defence bore the aim to preserve peace in Joulan Heights as did throughout 39 years ago.

Jumblatt criticized the pro-Syrian regime's fleets sent to the Syrian seashore for the purpose of defending the regime instead of backing the anti-regime movement demanding for national democracy and sovereignty.

"Our culture is to always live in peace with the Arab and Islamic surrounding...The Future is brilliant for the Syrian liberals and your [Syrian Druze's] natural stance is to stand beside liberals," the deputy wrapped up.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved












 

Politics - Mufti Qabbani calls to shirk rift
 

Mon 20/02/2012 17:26


NNA - 20/2/2012 - Mufti of the Lebanese Republic, Sheikh Mohammad Rashid Qabbani, on Monday shone light on the paramount importance of dialogue and national and Islamic unity so as to eschew strife.

The Mufti met today with a delegation of Hezbollah, comprised of Sheikh Abdul Majid Ammar, former Deputy Amine Cherri, and Mohammad Saleh.

Qabbani, who underscored the role of state institutions in maintaining stability and security in Lebanon, also called to adopt calm political discourse, in a bid to salve sectarian tensions.

He also called to preserve existing balance in Lebanon as well as to respect others' viewpoints.

The Mufti later met with Minister of Economy and Trade, Nicolas Nahhas, over relevant ministerial affairs, mainly on the level of controlling price hike and addressing the high cost of living.

As indicating that the current cabinet crisis was en route to mitigation, Nahhas said Labor Minister would sign the decree on transportation allowance and that the government bore the responsibility of delay, not the Minister.

A delegation of the Committee to Support the Resistance in Palestine, headed by Sheikh Abdullah Hallaq, had also been to Dar-al-Fatwa today for a meeting with Mufti Qabbani.


R.A.H.

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Politics - Ramadan reveals red diesel report referred to General Prosecution
 

Mon 20/02/2012 16:57

NNA - 20/2/2012 - Head of the Court of Audit, Judge Aouni Ramadan, on Monday told the National News Agency that the Court was en route to finalizing the red diesel dossier and that the related report was now in the hands of the Court's General Prosecution.

He said the report would be subsequently forwarded before the competent chamber with a view to try accountable parties.

"The trial of concerned parties will kick off in the nearest time possible after responsibilities were determined," he maintained, indicating that the General Prosecution has recommended the recuperation from oil companies of the diesel subvention, reimbursed during the three-day period just ahead of subsidy release.

Earlier this morning, Judge Ramadan had been to the Grand Serail for a meeting with Prime Minister, Najib Mikati, over the Court's report on the scandalous dossier of red diesel.

The issuance of the final report would be however delayed until all details are finalized, NNA correspondent noted.


R.A.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Qahwaji tackles Palestinian refugees' condition
 

Mon 20/02/2012 15:49

NNA - 20/2/2012 - Lebanese Army Chief, General Jean Qahwaji, on Monday met with Abbas Zaki from Fath Movement over the general condition in the Palestinian refugees' camps.

Qahwaji later received at his office in Yarze Judge Sheikh Fouad Beaini and Dr. Maral Toutalian.

R.A.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved



 

Politics - Financial, political affairs on Berri's agenda today
 

Mon 20/02/2012 15:46

NNA - 20/2/2012 - Speaker of the House, Nabih Berri, on Monday skimmed through an array of financial, economic, and political affairs with his itinerant visitors at his residence in Ain-el-Tineh.

He first met with Lebanese Central Bank Governor, Riad Salameh, and his First Deputy Raed Sharafeddine, over the current economic and financial juncture on the local domestic level.

Berri later received former Minister Albert Mansour, with talks featuring high on the current general situation.

He also received Guy Makki, candidate to the French parliamentary elections.

The Speaker later broached most recent developments and the general situation with Dr. Samir Sabbagh.


R.A.H.

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Politics - Aoun, Plumbly meet in Rabieh
 

Mon 20/02/2012 15:35

NNA - 20/2/2012 - Head of Change and Reform bloc, MP Michel Aoun, on Monday met with newly appointed UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon, Derek Plumbly.

The meeting, held at Aoun's residence in Rabieh, was also attended by Michel De Chadarvian from the Free Patriotic Movement.

The Deputy later received Ambassador Fouad Turk.

R.A.H./A.B.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved




 

Politics - Saleh hopes Speaker's initiative to bear fruits
 

Mon 20/02/2012 15:22

NNA - 20/2/2012 - Member of Parliament Abdul Majid Saleh on Monday hoped the initiative of Speaker Nabih Berri would bear fruits as to solving the current cabinet plight.

Speaking in a religious ceremony in Kharayeb town, Development and Liberation bloc member called the government to shine light on the thorny economic dossiers, on top of which the much-heated diesel file.

On a different note, the Deputy lambasted discourses by March 14 forces during last week's BIEL ceremony, where they unswervingly bet on the collapse of President Bashar Assad's regime.

"Djihad was never a door to terrorism and persecution; it is rather what southerners and the Resistance had bore against the Zionist enemy," he said.

"The sole guarantee we rely on is the Resistance-Army-People trinity included in the ministerial policy statement," he concluded.



R.A.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved












 

Politics - Mikati, Khoury tackle environmental affairs
 

Mon 20/02/2012 14:53

NNA - 20/2/2012 Prime Minister Najib Mikati Monday tackled domestic environmental affairs during his meeting with Minister Nazem Khoury in presence of head of Reconstruction and Development head Nabil Al-Jeser.

Conferees engaged in talks about the Litani River and Qaraoun dam pollution as well as the Sidon and Tripoli trash waste crises.
They agreed on setting a practical plan for funding sources.

At another level, the Rotary International President Kalan Banerjee also visited Mikati and discussed with him the club's program for scholarships.

The Rotary International and its partners in the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) - the World Health Organization, UNICEF, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention - have worked to wipe polio from the face of the earth. A volunteer service organization of 1.2 million men and women, Rotary began immunizing children against polio in 1985 and became a spearheading partner in the GPEI three years later.

Rotary's main responsibilities are fundraising, advocacy, and volunteer recruitment. To date, Rotary has contributed more than US$900 million to the polio eradication effort.

Mikati also met with the EU Ambassador to Lebanon Angelina Eichhorst, received a delegation of the Army command, and convened with the Chairman of the audit bureau Judge Awni Ramadan.


L.W.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 


Politics - Sleiman receives Mikati, Charbel, Harb, others
 

Mon 20/02/2012 14:45

NNA - 20/02/2012 - Lebanese President Michel Sleiman received on Monday at Baabda Presidential Palace Prime Minister Najib Mikati and engaged with him in talks relevant to activating the governmental work as well as to pending domestic files.

Interior and Municipalities Minister Marwan Charbel visited Baabda and briefed the President over the actual security situation and the underway preparations for the administrative decentralization law draft.

Afterwards, Sleiman received Deputy Boutros Harb who was accompanied with a delegation of Lebanese Australian emigrants, who conveyed to the host the Lebanese Diaspora's welcome to Sleiman's upcoming visit to Australia in mid April.

Amongst Baabda's visitors: Engineers Syndicate Chief Elie Bseibis; a delegation of Rotary Clubs; former Prime Minister Deputy General Issam Abu Jamra; and others.
A.M.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved








 

Politics - Pharaon: government lacks legitimacy
 

Mon 20/02/2012 14:13

NNA - 20/2/2012 - Future bloc member, Deputy Michel Pharaon, criticized on Monday the current government's lack of legitimacy, saying it was the result of a partnership between Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad and Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah who had decided to stage a coup against Doha accord.

MP Pharaon made these remarks during a dinner banquet held in honor of 120 dignitaries from Achrafieh. He added that the government was at stake as it was unable to follow up the regional developments and their repercussions on Lebanon's inside.

"We support holding dialogue sessions, not under the wing of the current government, but after the formation of a technocrats' government capable to address the current stage," he confirmed.
D.K.

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Politics - Moussawi: Lebanon's interest resides in nipping Syrian strife in bud
 

Mon 20/02/2012 13:41
NNA - 20/2/2012 - Loyalty to the Resistance bloc member, Deputy Nawaf Al-Moussawi, said Lebanon's interest resides in backing up its brother countries, on top of which Syria, so as to bridge the gap amongst all.

He said Lebanon should not contribute in flaring up strife, civil war and sectarian conflicts in Syria through cross borders arms' smuggling.

"The explosion of a weapons store in Tripoli triggered no reactions at all, while a simple gas cylinder explosion in Rweis drew everybody's attention for a whole month," he reminded in this regard, as a reference to arms' spread inside Lebanon.

Moussawi assured that the Lebanese formula was solid and capable of facing the repercussions of the regional developments.

The Deputy hoped that the situation in Syria be solved in a way that safeguards its [Syria's] role in the Arab region and preserves its support for the Resistance.

He, accordingly, called on March 14 forces to put aside their so-called "victory" and abide by the national dialogue's requirements so as to protect Lebanon from the threats harbored by Israel.
D.K.

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Politics - Hout: Nahhas ought to sign before Parliament issues law
 

Mon 20/02/2012 13:26

NNA - 20/2/2012 MP Imad Hout Monday voiced rejection to the Parliament's issuing of a transportation fees law before that Minister Charbel Nahhas signs the decree.

The Jamaa Islamiyya MP told Al-Fajer radio that in case Nahhas does not sign, Wednesday's session shall be "stormy."

"This denotes the illegality of Nahhas's stance," Hout said.

The MP counseled the return to dialogue so as to discuss the defensive strategy on the condition that the dialogue would be productive and within a determined schedule.

L.W.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved






 

Politics - Harb: Mutiny inside Cabinet unprecedented
 

Mon 20/02/2012 11:00

NNA - 20/2/2012 - MP Boutros Harb Monday depicted the rebellion of a Minister inside the Cabinet as an unprecedented act.

Speaking to Voice of Lebanon, Harb said such a practice is new especially within the Cabinet's constant attempts to solve a problem a Minister has created.

"Everyone wants the transportation fee decree to be signed so that labors would benefit from it, he noted.

The MP also deemed it unacceptable to have Parliament be the institution that allows unconstitutional behavior for "this ought to strike political system and hampers Cabinet's authority."

"I shall not sign the two proposals presented before the Parliament for this process embodies the presence of the statelets," he remarked.


L.W.

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Politics - Moussa calls on cabinet to review wage increase
 

Mon 20/02/2012 10:44

NNA - 20/2/2012 - Deputy Michel Moussa called on the cabinet to review wage increase in accordance with high cost of living.

The MP stressed necessity to legalize the proposal which the parliament would adopt concerning transportation allowance so that the issue would not remain a bone of contention.

"The details of the exit concerning transportation allowance decree is not clear so far and no one has the final answer", the MP pointed out on Monday to "Voice of Lebanon" radio..

Moussa confirmed the existence of a new positive atmosphere for a solution to the problem.

Commenting on the intervention of Speaker of the House Nabih Berri concerning the cabinet crisis, he said "it was not a direct intervention", adding that it was an attempt to narrow differences before Wednesday's legislative session.

A.A.M

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Politics - De Freij: To withdraw economy file from political polarization
 

Mon 20/02/2012 09:45


NNA - 20/2/2012 - "Future" bloc member Deputy Nabil De Freij stressed that he would withdraw economy file from political polarization.

"I want to withdraw the economy file from political polarization", the MP stressed especially since the cabinet has not taken a decision on Labor Minister Charbel Nahhas refusal to sign transportation allowance.

Speaking to Voice of Lebanon on Monday, the MP hoped that the parliament session on Wednesday would not witness any parliamentary polarization or any attempt to integrate his proposal with the one submitted by Deputy Ibrahim Kanaan concerning the transportation allowance.

"Deputy Kanaan proposed a law because De Freij proposed a draft law, but our goal is to reach a solution for the social file" the MP concluded.

A.A.M

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Politics - Fayyad: Our priority in Lebanon is protecting stability
 

Sun 19/02/2012 19:26

NNA - 19/2/2012 - Speaking during a political gathering in the Southern town of "Jouayya" Sunday, Member of the "Faithfulness to the Resistance" Parliamentary Bloc, Deputy Ali Fayyad, considered that priority in Lebanon is accorded to protecting its stability; keeping it away from any influences resulting from the incidents occurring in Syria. He noted, herein, that "any sectarian strife or war outbreak in Syria would only take a few hours to move to Lebanon; hence, the doors ought to be closed in the face of such a possibility," explained Fayyad.
Fayyad went on to consider the Syrian regime as supportive to the resistance. Moreover, he considered that the other forces targeting said regime are actually seeking to alter Syria's position within the Arab-Israeli struggle equation.
Fayyad stressed that his Bloc's project remains attached to conflict with Israel, and committed to the nation's unity in the face of all sectarian calculations. He considered it unacceptable to be dragged into negative reactions in this respect, no matter how intimidating the actions of the other parties are; voicing belief herein in the Syrian regime's capability to overcome its current crisis.
Fayyad went on to note that the steadfastness of the Syrian regime versus the drainage of powers by the opposing forces shall enforce, at a certain moment, the return to the table of dialogue, once again! "This would be for the sake of coming-up with some sort of settlement that would win international support, acceptance and patronage," Fayyad indicated.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Raad: Contradiction with Zionism Ushers a Promising Outcome!
 

Sun 19/02/2012 15:27

NNA - 19/02/2012 - Head of the Hizbullah parliamentarian Bloc deputy Muhammad Raad, underscored "promising victorious prospects for his party over Zionism."

Speaking at a special Bint-Jbeil ceremony co-sponsored by Hizbullah and the Iranian Embassy/Cultural Division, M.P. Raad described his party as being radically at loggerheads with the Israelis and that the party finds itself ready to engage the Zionists in a protracted Jihad. Albeit, prospects for defeating and overcoming the enemy seem quite promising.

Raad accused Arab regimes of double-standards when calling for the overthrow of the Assad regime while suppressing home-grown democracy.

Also taking the word, The Iranian cultural attach� Abul-Fadel Salihi extolled Khumeini's legacy prodding Muslims to self-reliance in order to achieve victory and progress in all fields and at all levels.

G.G. /R.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Aridi unhappy with transport fees and cabinet inertia!
 

Sun 19/02/2012 14:41

NNA - 19/02/2012 - Public Works' minister Ghazi Aridi, sounded unhappy with the present state of confusion surrounding private companies' non-observance of transport tariffs decided by his ministry.

Aridi and, in an interview on al-Fajr radio station today, blamed private transportation companies for the present state of confusion saying they were in pure and simple terms clear violations of his instructions. He defended full ministry right in fixing transport tariffs and warned against drivers eventually finding themselves at pains as a result of such violations.

He agreed with Hizbullah chief Hassan Nasrullah's contention not to credit March 14 with any inspiring of the Arab Spring.

The minister and, with reference to the actual cabinet crisis, dismissed likely resumption of dialogue with no major decisions ever likely to be taken under unfavorable circumstances. Aridi acknowledged that with the present state of "heavy hearts best by grudges" it seems rather impossible to convene the Council of Ministers in a meaningful session.

G.G./R.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Saleh accuses March 14 of meddling in Syrian affairs
 

Sun 19/02/2012 14:33

NNA - 19/02/2012 MP Abed al Majeed Saleh strongly denounced any attempt to turn Lebanon into a launching pad to attack Syria, during a funeral ceremony in south Lebanon on Sunday.

The Amal parliamentarian commented on stances of members of March 14 Bloc, supportive of the Syrian people rather than regime of President Bashar Assad, and critical of the state's attitude of self-isolation towards regional events.

"The only guarantee for all Lebanese is the army, people and resistance [equation]," said Saleh, adding that those playing a "western tune" will not be able to break this trilogy.

R.Z.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Karami Pledges to Take-up Islamists' Case!
 

Sun 19/02/2012 13:55

NNA - 19/02/2012 - Minister of Sports and Youth Faysal Karami, pledged today full support for Tripoli Islamists held in Lebanese jails without trial for years on end.

Karami's pledge was made to family relatives and supporters of Jihadists held in custody when they paid him a visit at his Tripoli home early today. He told them and their three leading sheikhs Bilal Shaaban, Muhammad Khodr and Khaled Seif that their cause was a rightful one and that abiding by silence over this issue is unacceptable, totally illegitimate and inhuman. He lobbied high government officials' support which they promised to deliver within a couple of weeks and that let's just wait and see what this amounts to.

Local Islamist cleric Shaaban, issued a veiled threat to the authorities concerned when he delivered what sounded like an ultimatum which, in the event of not being fully heeded the whole of Lebanon would risk grave consequences of actions taken by fundamentalist groups.

G.G./R.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Rahi advises politicians take better care of the poor
 

Sun 19/02/2012 13:11

NNA - 19/02/2012 Maronite Patriarch Beshara Rahi held Sunday at Bkirky a mass marking beginning of lent, during which he lamented sad state of domestic economy and called upon officials to pay more attention to the country and less to their personal interests.

Lent is a 40-day period of preparation for Easter Sunday and one of the major liturgical seasons of the Catholic Church. A penitential season marked by prayer, fasting and abstinence.

"Lent is a time of change and restoration of human relations, especially on the social and economic levels," said Rahi who noted that domestic economy has been on a downward spiral.

"Politicians are prisoners of their personal interests," this, according to the Patriarch, had a direct negative effect on the living conditions of citizens and the state's constitutional work.

"The political administration's top priority should be taking care of poor and needy citizens, so they feel the value of belonging to their country."

R.Z.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - NLP honors Cardinal Sfeir
 

Sun 19/02/2012 12:12

NNA - 19/02/2012 The National Liberal Party (NLP) held a ceremony in honor of Cardinal Nasrallah Sfeir, at the Central School of Jounieh, hailing him as a patriot who never succumbed to pressure or faltered in the face of adversity.

The President of NLP, MP Dory Chamoun, said that Sfeir was a patriarch who has never been subjected to pressure or intimidation and has always been present whenever threats intensified.

"Patriarch Sfeir always reinforced the constants of Bkerke, which are consistent with those of Lebanon and refused custodianship, as he was the founder of the Cedar Revolution," he said.

He also emphasized the historical pronouncements of the Cardinal during the previous period.

Sfeir, for his part, thanked Chamoun who awarded him a medal of recognition and loyalty, and loaded the achievements of late President Kamil Chamoun, saying that history is "a continuity between past and present."

A host of politicians and public figures attended the ceremony: MP Elie Keyrouz, representative of MP Marwan Hamadeh journalist Ali Hamadeh, representative of deputy Sami Gemayel, former MP Ghaleb Mansour el-Bon, former MPs Mossbah al-Ahdab, and Fares Souaid, representatives of the security forces and community leaders.

 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Al-Rai meets with a delegation from Najaf
 

Sat 18/02/2012 20:33

NNA - 18/2/2012 - Maronite Patriarch Bshara Butros Al-Rai met Saturday afternoon with a delegation from Al-Najaf, headed by Sheikh Ali Kazem Smaisem from Al-Sayid Muktada Al-Sadr's bureau. The latter extended an invitation to the Patriarch to attend the "International Scientific Islamic Conference" which will be held in Al-Najaf in Iraq, between May 11 & 13, 2012.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Siniora meets with UNRWA General Commissioner
 

Sat 18/02/2012 19:05

NNA - 18/2/2012 - Future Parliamentary Bloc Head, former PM Fuad Siniora, met Saturday with "UNRWA" General Commissioner, Philip Grandi, in presence of UNRWA's Director General in Lebanon, Salvatori Lombardo. The encounter was a chance to review various UNRWA activities in Lebanon.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Daouk imminent end to cabinet crisis
 

Sat 18/02/2012 15:48

NNA - 18/02/2012 - Minister of Information Walid Daouk foretold an imminent end to the present cabinet crisis and that the Council of Ministers would convene in session when the law and constitution is taken into account by all.

He credited Prime Minister Najib Mikati, in an interview on Tele Liban today, with administering a positive shock which would ameliorate productivity. He expressed hope that the upcoming 24 hours would demonstrate how ministers behave responsibly and in a statesmanlike manner.

Having met with Tele Liban staff, the Minister pledged moral and material support for the national TV in order to witness a qualitative breakthrough, as he said. The Minister added that fresh allocations to this effect would be sought within the new annual budget.

He accorded utmost priority to the TV archive by exploiting it to the best possible.

G.G./P.BC.

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Politics - Zahra willing to open all files
 

Sat 18/02/2012 15:46


NNA - 18/02/2012 March 14 Camp supports Syrian people's call for freedom without interfering, MP Antoine Zahra told New TV Saturday, as he refused Hezbollah's attempt to defame Lebanese Forces Leader, invoking memory of massacres committed by the Islamic Resistance against Amal Movement.

March 14 Camp celebrated the memory of martyr PM Rafik Hariri, assassinated in 2005. The festival invited rival camp of March 8 to a national dialogue table. Key speakers from March 14 read a letter by the Syrian National Council (SNC) during the ceremony. The SNC is the voice of the opposition in the neighboring country, which has formed during eleven months of an ongoing popular uprising demanding ousting of President Bashar Assad.

"We support everyone's call for freedom and democracy...politically and morally," said Zahra, who added that March 14 has not yet acknowledged SNC as the official representative of the Syrian people. However, he invited whoever assumed power next in Syria to have a similar approach towards Lebanon as that of the SNC.

Retaliating to accusations by Hezbollah Chief, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, that March 14 was aiding the Syrian people against Assad, the MP asserted that not a single member of his camp were spotted meddling in Syrian affairs, "in return, we see corpses of Hezbollah members arriving to Lebanon from Syria."

He adamantly denied the existence of members of the Free Syrian Army in north of the country, pointing that in case there were in the past, these were refugees or people in need of medical care. "The Syrian regime has violated Lebanese borders a multitude of times...and our only bet is on the Lebanese army."

Member of LF wondered at Nasrallah's accusations of treason against March 14, at a time when said bloc invited all factions to reaffirm authority of the state.

"We are willing and ready to open up all the old files," he warned Hezbollah Chief who targeted civil war history of the LF, particularly its leader.

Zahra conjured back rivalry between Amal Movement and Hezbollah by reading an excerpt from speech of Amal leader, current House Speaker Nabih Berri, in which he warned Hezbollah to exit the south back in 1989 after the Resistance invaded Iklim Toufah. In that speech, Berri described Hezbollah's presence in south of the country as an occupation, much like the Israeli one. The day of Berri's speech, 1500 Hezbollah militants made their way to the Iklim, with Israel facilitating passage through villages under its control, and killed over five hundred Amal members.

R.Z.

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Politics - Mousawi: Lebanese equation remains unchanged
 

Sat 18/02/2012 14:51

NNA - 18/02/2012 - Hizbullah parliamentarian Nawaf Mousawi commented on March 14 Biel festival saying the triumph they envisaged is illusory.

The Deputy who tried to reassure a Hizbullah women's auxiliary meeting in the southern Lebanese village of Deir Aames today, told them that changes on the regional scene would in no way affect the balance of the internal Lebanese equation.

He added that burying alive of what he termed as the Syrian strife is in the high interest of his party and Lebanon.

He called on Syrian opposition and the regime to engage a dialogue.

Among other things, the Hizbullah deputy reiterated Party holding onto its arms for the sake of Lebanese independence and national unity.

Mousawi stretched a hand of dialogue to the oppositionist camp saying the Hizbullah chief instructed that, albeit, he said dialogue must stand from Party keeping its fighting capability vis-a-vis Israel.

He called on whom he termed Lebanese involved in fanning the flames of Syrian strife to stop their treacherous actions lest that the sparks would burn Lebanon. He accused them of stockpiling arms and engaging in cross-border gunrunning into Syria.

G.G./P.BC.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Minister Safadi's agendas today
 

Sat 18/02/2012 14:39

NNA - 18/02/2012 - Minister of Trade and Finance Mohammad Safadi reiterated government support for development programs in Tripoli and North Lebanon saying government accords utmost priority for such projects.

Minister Safadi's reassurances came during a visit by the follow-up committee for the establishment of a Lebanese University Faculty of Science Branch in Tripoli.

Safadi reportedly told visitors that the Prime Minister and his ministry are working arduously to find a quick solution to the vital project of development.

Among Safadi's itinerant visitors were Mina municipal head Mohammad Issa and former Deputy Jihad Samad with whom he reportedly boarded major developments and local issues pertaining to the districts of Donnieh and Tripoli Seaport (Mina).

G.G./P.BC.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved









 

Politics - Ain Tineh itinerant visitors and activities today
 

Sat 18/02/2012 14:24

NNA - 18/02/2012 - Having met with House Speaker Nabih Berri and senior Amal aide Ali Hamdan at Ain Tineh today, Italian Ambassador Guisseppe Morabito expressed concern over possible negative repercussions the present Syrian unrest might carry for Lebanon.

The ambassador also reiterated Italy's full commitment to peace-keeping in the South as part of up-keeping stability, sovereignty and national unity for Lebanon.

Morabito remained confident that the political parties concerned would avoid any unnecessary negative Syrian repercussions on the country.

Head of the Finance and Budget House Commission MP Ibrahim Kanaan told newsmen following his meeting with Speaker Berri that the meeting contributed to special mechanisms designed to re-launch the cabinet but indicated that certain hearings at the parliament would eventually pave the way for that.

He credited both General Aoun and Speaker Berri of working together to lay foundations for such an agreement.

G.G./P.BC.

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Politics - Illegal arms hinder rule of government - Adwan
 

Sat 18/02/2012 14:14

NNA - 18/02/ 2012 MP Georges Adwan considered that the presence of illegitimate weapons in the country is a main factor that forbids cabinet from governing Lebanon, in a radio interview Saturday.


"This is a comatose, crippled government full of contradictions," added the vice president of Lebanese Forces party.

The MP also stressed that martyrdom of former PM RafikHariri in 2005 has allowed Lebanese Christians and Muslims to come together and unite their viewpoints.

He finally reiterated the support of his party to Syrian people, clarifying, however: "we do not intervene in the affairs of [Syria]."

R.Z.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved








 

Politics - Baabda itinerants today
 

Sat 18/02/2012 14:02

NNA - 18/02/2012 - Foreign Minister Adnan Mansour conferred with President Michel Sleiman at Baabda Palace over major developments and respective diplomatic position of Lebanon on the Arab scene.

Deputy of the House Naamatallah Abi Nasr and accompanying delegation briefed the President over organizing a festival for alphabet which falls on teachers' day.

Freshly-graduated media workers and graphic designers headed by Ernest Baaklini briefed the President over their work including their joining of the World Syndicate for Graphic Designers. They also presented him with a number of demands pertaining to the improvement of their work.

G.G./P.BC.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Grand Serail itinerant meetings and activities today
 

Sat 18/02/2012 13:56

NNA - 18/02/2012 - Having met with Prime Minister Najib Mikati and senior aides at the Grand Serail today, leading PLO Executive Abbas Zaki told waiting newsmen that the PLO champions full Lebanese sovereignty over its national territory but once full social, justice and dignity for Palestinians residing in the country.

Zaki reassured that permanent implantation of Palestinians in Lebanon is out of question saying one day they would go back to their homeland. He conveyed special regards from Mahmoud Abbas and other Palestinian leaders in Ramallah and blamed Israel for the present stalemate in peace negotiations.

He added that Hamas-Fateh reconciliation is irreversible and that the 23rd of February would witness concrete steps in this direction.

Zaki opted for Hamas rather than Israel saying Palestinian national unity is the thing which counts most. He urged Arab leaders to lend a helping hand to Palestinians in their negotiations with Israel. He spoke about diplomatic gains on the European scene.

Among itinerant Serail visitors has been Father Bruno the Jesuit of Lady of Jamhour School who presented him with an invitation to inaugurate new scholastic year upcoming June. General George Karaa of the ISF and Lebanese Ambassador to Cairo Khaled Ziadeh also came to the Serail on a courtesy visit to the Prime Minister.
G.G./P.BC.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved












 

Politics - Rahi to cabinet: amend hospital fees
 

Sat 18/02/2012 13:56

NNA - 18/02/2012 On the 20th World Patient Day, Maronite Patriarch Beshara Rahi held a mass Saturday during which he implored the government to revise hospital tariffs, and offer better health care for tax-paying-citizens.

The event was organized by the Episcopal Commission for the Pastoral Care of health services in Lebanon. Chairman of the Parliamentary Health Committee, MP Atef Majdalany, and a host of doctors and healthcare professionals were present at the mass.

Rahi called upon Lebanese administration to fulfill its duty towards hospitals and health-care centers so that these institutions can continue offering best medical services, especially to the poor and needy.

"The cabinet must reconsider hospital fees, especially in light of wage hike and high cost of living," stated the Patriarch.

"[The government] takes taxes in order to provide the citizen with paramount medical services and complete health insurance," Rahi pointed out.

R.Z.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Oriental Evangelists vis-a-vis standing regional issues
 

Sat 18/02/2012 13:15

NNA - 18/02/2012 - Oriental Christian-Evangelical denominations held their annual meeting at the Beirut Commodore Hotel and came out in support of the Palestinians and warned against looming risks for oriental Christians. They prescribed a peaceful Middle East based on values of coexistence, freedom and dignity.

Arab Oriental Evangelists' meeting between February 13 and 15 expressed in their final statement anxiety about the fate of Christians in a number of Arab countries.

Delegates from Arab countries, Europe, the United States, Canada and New Zeeland heard reports given by experts on Middle Eastern issues. Highlighting their discussions agenda were "the Arab Spring, the rise of Muslim Fundamentalism under its extremist and moderate forms" and prescribed specific approaches to deal with them.

Arab Evangelists discussed strategies to ameliorate what they called Christian presence in the Middle East amid proposals to develop Christian human resources. They also insisted on a just and lasting solution to the Palestine question.

They declared their unshaken faith and Jesus Christ while maintaining full openness toward the other. They did not minimize challenges facing Christians in Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Palestine and Iraq but noted that problems could be solved in a democratic way.

While sticking to Evangelical reformist teachings since Luther and Calvin's day they reiterated their standing by justice and non-violence in the region.

G.G./P.BC.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - MP Wihbeh: No State with Illegal Weapons!
 

Sat 18/02/2012 12:27

NNA - 18/2/2012 - Future Bloc parliamentarian Ameen Wihbeh, predicated the rise of a nation-state on the elimination of illegal weapons in the country.

Wihbeh and, in an interview on Voice of Free Lebanon radio station, reiterated the impossibility of carrying out sweeping reforms with proliferating de facto weaponry lying around. Summing up the prevailing rhetoric he stressed that the country is effectively polarized between loyal and oppositionist discourse interspersed with state-monopolized and extra-territorial arms. This is tantamount to a state versus statelet project he retorted.

The MP argued that the Aounist Trend disposes of no real program of reform because reform is not a push-button matter while this contradicts Trend's upholding of a 'non-state notion.'

He noted however that certain junctures necessitated Hariri-Bloc dealing with the Mikati government when high national interest deemed it so.

G.G./P.BC

NNA 2012 All rights reserved








 

Politics - Rahi, Keshishian meet
 

Sat 18/02/2012 11:46

NNA - 18/02/2012 Maronite Patriarch Beshara Rahi convened with head of the Catholicos of the Holy See of Cilicia of the Armenian Apostolic Church, Aram I Keshishian, Saturday to discuss role of Christians of the Orient.
Christians of the Middle East play an important role in preserving peace, sustaining stability and holding dialogue, according to the clergymen.

R.Z.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Interior Minister postpones visit to north
 

Fri 17/02/2012 21:06

NNA - 17/02/2012 Interior Minister Marwan Charbel rescheduled Friday evening his visit to the northern city of Tripoli, previously planned for tomorrow, to an undisclosed date to be announced at a later stage.

R.Z.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Mikati, Diab thrash out Education Ministry salvation plan
 

Fri 17/02/2012 18:52

NNA - 17/02/2012 - A plan designed to rescue Lebanon's Ministry of Education featured high Friday on Grand Serail talks between Prime Minister Najib Mikati and Higher Learning and National Education Minister, Hassan Diab.

The Ministry of Education is working on the formation of two bodies with the mission of guaranteeing a high quality education within the general, professional, and technical education fields.

"I also discussed with the Prime Minister a number of issues of primary concern, such as offering education for students with special needs, as well as plans to merge information technology within the education sector," Diab said.

Moreover, the Education Minister promised a soon translation of his ministry's projects into laws and decrees.

"A project concerning the formation of a National Body tasked to guarantee a high quality 'university-level' education has been forwarded to the Council of Ministers for discussions," Diab added, hoping that his ministry's plan would soon be listed on the cabinet's agenda, once it resumed its sessions.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Gharios: Premiership lacks powers without cabinet's meeting
 

Fri 17/02/2012 18:42

NNA - 17/02/2012 - Deputy Naji Gharios said the cabinet's powers were guaranteed by the Constitution and Prime Minister Mikati would have no powers unless the cabinet convened.

Gharios's fresh stance came Friday in the context of a meeting held by the Free Patriotic Movement "Furn Ash-Shebbak, Ain Remaneh, Tahwitta branch."

Gharios spoke during the meeting about the accomplishments that had thus far been achieved by the Bloc of Reform and Change under the chairmanship of General Michel Aoun.

Gharios explained that the Constitution could alone secure the minister to practice his own powers independently, hence the minister would be allowed to express his own opinions concerning the appointment of ministerial employees. And it was the Lebanese President's duty to prevent any violation of the Constitution's articles, Gharios added.
A.M./P.BC.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Sleiman meets Brigadier Ibrahim, Judge Ramadan
 

Fri 17/02/2012 18:32

NNA - 17/2/2012 - President of the Republic, Michel Sleiman, on Friday met with General Security Chief, Brigadier Abbas Ibrahim, over the security situation at land, maritime, and air crossings.

The pair also broached the needs of the General Security institution and the means to bolster its work.

Sleiman later received Head of the Court of Audit, Judge Aouni Ramadan.

R.A.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Ibrahim meets Swedish Ambassador, Struger
 

Fri 17/02/2012 18:17

NNA - 17/02/2012 - General Security General Director, Major General Abbas Ibrahim, held talks on Friday with the Swedish Ambassador to Lebanon, Nicholas Kepon, over various affairs concerning the Swedish community in Lebanon.

Ibrahim also met with UNIFIL's political consultant, Milos Struger, within the frame of the latter's coordination visits to security apparatuses.
R.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Mikati heads transportation meeting, receives UNRWA senior, others
 

Fri 17/02/2012 18:12

NNA - 17/02/2012 - Prime Minister Najib Mikati headed on Friday a meeting with the Land Transportation Syndicates. The meeting - including the chairman of said Syndicate Abdul Amir Najdeh, chairman of Taxi-Drivers Union Bassam Tleiss, Interior and Municipalities Minister Marwan Charbel, Public Works and Transportation Minister Ghazi Aridi, and others - was concerned about the issue pertaining to identifying the transportation fee of public buses and taxis.

Separately, Mikati received at the Grand Serail a German parliamentary delegation from the German Parliamentarian Friendship Group headed by Yuwakim Holster, in presence of the German Ambassador to Lebanon, Brigitte Siefker-Eberle. Holster said, after the meeting, that Germany was much concerned about the present situation in the East Mediterranean, notably Syria. "We discussed with the Premier the possibility of finding solutions to the occurring crisis," said Holster.

Mikati also received the Commissioner General of UNRWA Filippo Grandi, who informed the host that the UNRWA was organizing a conference, to be held in March under the sponsorship of the European Union and Belgium, to explore the young Palestinian refugees issue.

Filippo said the UNRWA was deeply grateful to the present government's cooperation as concerning its dedicated service to Palestinian people.

Afterwards, Mikati received a delegation of late Samih Solh's family who thanked the host for his condolences on the death of Solh.

A.M./P.BC.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Siniora ups calls to apprehend accused in Hariri's assassination
 

Fri 17/02/2012 17:41

NNA - 17/02/2012 - Future Parliamentary bloc Leader, Fouad Siniora, stepped up calls on the Lebanese government to apprehend the four accused in the assassination crime of late Prime Minister Rafik Hariri and to bring them to justice.

The four accused are Hezbollah members and warrants for their arrest were issued last summer by the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL). However, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah has dismissed the indictments as a failed attempt to sow strife and says the tribunal is a tool of US and Israeli policy.

"As a result, the government will prove its support to the idea of rising up with the state and the preservation of its prestige and reputation of its institutions," Siniora said at a Sidon event, marking the seventh commemoration of Rafik Hariri and celebrating 27 years since the liberation of Sidon city from Israel's grip.

Siniora also reprimanded what he described as the state's "unconscionable approach as it continues the adoption of this strange duality."

He highlighted the government's discrepancy - obstructing the law, the regime, and justice - at the time that it should solely serve the people's interests.

"We hope to reach the truth behind this crime with the launch of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) trials in absentia next June," added Siniora.

The UN tribunal investigating the assassination of Hariri in 2005 has said it will try the four accused in absentia.

The Former Prime Minister finally slammed practices exercised by ministers breaching the law at the political, security, economic and social levels.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Jumblatt back from Turkey, confirms mutual will to salvage Syria
 

Fri 17/02/2012 16:25

NNA - 17/02/2012 - Winding up a visit to Turkey, Progressive Socialist Party (PSP) Leader, Walid Jumblatt, confirmed a mutual will with Turkey to burn the candle at both ends in a bid to rescue Syria from its prevailing crisis.

Jumblatt had been to Turkey for talks with Turkish Foreign Minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, over most recent regional developments. The visit also came in appliance to an agreement between both men on the pressing need to follow-up talks on the situation in Lebanon and Arab countries.

"The visit is a translation to a joint interest to exercise dauntless efforts to rescue Syria from its plight," a statement by the PSP media office read.

The statement also highlighted the pairs' agreement that a political solution was the sole alternative to violence wrought at the hands of the Syrian regime.
R.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved







 

Politics - Hariri congratulates Kuwaiti Speaker, Prime minister
 

Fri 17/02/2012 16:17

NNA - 17/2/2012 - Former Prime Minister Saad Hariri sent today a message to the new President of the Kuwaiti National Assembly, Ahmed Abdul Aziz Al-Saadoun, congratulating him on his election to this post, a press release by Hariri's media office indicated on Friday.

The release also mentioned that Hariri sent a message to the Kuwaiti Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Mubarak Al-Hamad Al-Sabah, and congratulated him on the formation of the new cabinet.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


 

Politics - Independent Christians meet in Harissa, discuss current affairs
 

Fri 17/02/2012 16:13

NNA - 17/2/2012 - The Independent Christian Gathering held Friday its periodic meeting in Harissa, with talks mainly broaching an array of national political affairs as well as the current juncture in the Mideast region, namely in Syria.

A closing statement issued in the wake of the meeting indicated that the Gathering's nomination was only provisional and that its method on the national and political level was inspired by the moral, spiritual, and human rights' values as well as by the Maornite Patriarch's Love and Communion motto.

The Gathering is comprised of former ministers Abdullah Farhat, Elias Skaff, Fares Boueiz, Elie Ferzli, Elias Saba, Joseph Hashem, Sleiman Traboulsi, Naji Boustani, Elias Hanna, and Karim Pakradouni, former Deputies Gebran Taouq, Pierre Daccache, Antoine Haddad, and Jack Jokhadrian, ambassadors Fouad Turk, Joey Tabet, and Rashid Daher, as well as Fadi Rouhana Saqr, Butros Doueihi, Charbel Khoury, Jean Hawwat, Edmond Butros, Shadi Massaad, Joe Eddeh, Michel Karam, and Claude Boueiz Kanaan.


R.A.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved










 

Politics - Makari denies support for Syrian revolution in arms or money
 

Fri 17/02/2012 15:57

NNA - 17/02/2012 - Deputy House Speaker Farid Makari denied Friday any support for the Syrian Revolution by March 14 camp in either arms or finance. "March 14's support is only in politics, sympathy and media."

Makari attacked, in turn, March 8 camp as the one who was supporting the Syrian regime by sending members to fight beside the regime and repress Syrian citizens.

Makari indicated that Lebanon's stability was not something bigger than Lebanese, as Hizbullah Leader said in yesterday's speech. It rather, he explained, could be achieved if we turned conscious enough to block the way before any foreign interference - "something which we hope that Hizbullah would do."

A.M./P.BC.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved






 

Politics - Hmayed sees cabinet stalling must end
 

Fri 17/02/2012 15:36

NNA - 17/2/2012 - Member of Parliament Ayoub Hmayed on Friday said the cabinet should no longer remain in limbo, highlighting the obligation that everyone assumes their responsibilities to face existing and looming challenges.

Speaking in a religious ceremony in Ghaziyeh today, Liberation and Development bloc member wondered at some bids, namely by March 14 forces, to become a spearhead against Syria.

He also deplored some Arabs who are endeavoring to introduce US designed schemes in the region and mobilizations against Syria.

"Such position drags Lebanon into wrangling," he cautioned.

R.A.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved







 

Politics - Kabbara: Nasrallah spoke about everything but Lebanon
 

Fri 17/02/2012 15:24

NNA - 17/02/2012 - Deputy Mohammad Kabbara said on Friday that Hizbullah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, as usual, spoke in yesterday's speech about everything except Lebanon as a nation. "His [Nasrallah's] speech did not include any word of nation."
Kabbara explained that when Nasrallah spoke about "Umma" [nation], he [Nasrallah] meant the Persian nation which caused the death of many Lebanese citizens.
A.M./P.BC.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Berri, Aoun skim through current juncture

 

Fri 17/02/2012 15:20
NNA - 17/2/2012 - Speaker of the House, Nabih Berri, and Head of the Change and Reform bloc, MP Michel Aoun, met on Friday over most recent political developments and the current juncture prevailing over the internal domestic scene.

Earlier today, Berri received in Ain-el-Tineh Zahle and Ferzol Greek Catholic Archbishop Issam Darwish, accompanied by Sheikh Hassan Sharifa, Mgr Abdullah Assi, and Dr. Nicolas Beiraq.

Talks reportedly touched on the current general situation in Lebanon and the broader Arab region, as well as on the spiritual summit to be held on forthcoming March 24 in the Lady of Salvation Cathedral on the occasion of Enunciation Day.

Minister of Agriculture, Hussein Hajj Hassan, had also been to Ain-el-Tineh today.


R.A.H.

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Politics - Saleh calls to keep army aside polarizations
 

Fri 17/02/2012 15:07

NNA - 17/2/2012 - Member of Parliament Abdul Majid Saleh said Friday it was necessary to keep the Lebanese Army aside political polarizations and wrangling.

"We shall not forget the role of this [military] institution against the Israeli enemy and terrorism in Nah-el-Bared," he said.

The Liberation and Development bloc member made these remarks during a religious ceremony in Mansouri village.

Besides, the Deputy did not fail to call upon the government to overcome what he termed as "unjustified" hinders and return to fruitful sessions inside the cabinet.


R.A.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved







 

Politics - Various affairs on Sleiman's agenda today
 

Fri 17/02/2012 14:40

NNA - 17/2/2012 - President of the Republic, Michel Sleiman, on Friday broached an array of political, developmental, and laborers' affairs with his itinerant visitors at Baabda palace.

He first met with Sherif Mashaal from Fath Movement over the current situation on the Palestinian domestic scene following a fresh reconciliation between Fath and Movement.

Talks also touched on the Lebanese-Palestinian ties and the condition of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon.

The President later met with State Minister, Marwan Kheireddine, over most recent political developments and ongoing contacts aimed to salve the current cabinet plight.

He also received UNRWA Commissioner-General Filippo Grandi and the Agency's Director General Salvatori Lombardo.

On the other hand, the President received today an invitation from Bishop Roland Abu Jaoude to attend the ordination ceremony of newly appointed archbishops of Jbeil, Batroun, and Latakia.


R.A.H.

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Politics - Geagea slams Nasrollah for criticizing Fares Souaid
 

Fri 17/02/2012 14:02

NNA - 17/2/2012 Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea Friday slammed Nasrallah for criticizing March 14 General Secretariat Coordinator Fares Souaid.

"If he [Nasrollah] wants people to respect him then he has to respect people first," Geagea said and affirmed that Souaid did not speak on behalf of the Syrian National Council but it the council sent a letter to March 14 which Souaid has read.

Geagea also said that March 14 alliance does not have prior conditions for holding a national dialogue "but we are not ready to have conditions be imposed on us."

He also said that Hezbollah has never been serious during national dialogue sessions and hasn't had any commitment to the sessions' items agreed upon stating herein the STL and Palestinian weapons' issue.

"When we are in a democratic system responsibility becomes a must for it falls on everyone," he said.

The LF Leader interrogated whether the liberation of Palestine was possible if Arab people were not liberated.
"In order to have a liberated Palestine we ought to have a liberated free Arab people," Geagea said.



L.W.
 

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Politics - Franjieh counsels cautiousness in such critical phase
 

Fri 17/02/2012 13:10

NNA - 17/2/2012 Marada movement leader Sleiman Franjieh said cautiousness is a must within such a critical phase but without fears for "our choices ought to be eventually victorious despite schemes being set for the region."

Franjieh, speaking yesterday during the Marada annual traditional dinner banquet held at the former President Sleiman Franjieh's palace in Ehden, said his media appearances were few because of the firm and unwavering stances his movement abides by.

"We are firm in the stances our Christianity, Maronitism, and nature of our relations dictate us," he noted.

Franjieh uttered concern over Lebanese and regional situation and said that "as we have gone through an Israeli-Arab conflict we are now undergoing a Sunnite-Shiite conflict phase, which will automatically affect Lebanon."

"Americans, French, and some Arabs' words of reassurance on our existence are not important for what matters is that Churches remain standing, that we remain in this Orient, and that our role remains as partners in the country," he said.

On the Syrian level, Franjieh warned that the end of Syrian events might be the beginning of Lebanese ones deeming the indictment in general to be against Hezbollah and not Syria.
"Some may think that if the Syrian regime collapses, the STL would collapse as well thus pointing charges against Hezbollah would be killing two birds in one stone," Franjieh said.

At greater length, Marada leader said those might also think that if the Syrian regime's collapses the true and moral cover of the Resistance will fall.


L.W.
 

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Politics - Fatfat: Nasrallah seems confused
 

Fri 17/02/2012 12:55

NNA - 17/2/2012 - Deputy Ahmad Fatfat said that Hizbullah's Secretary General Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah seemed confused in his speech because of March 14 rhetorics in Biel.

"Nasrallah's speech is a speech of a militia man, while the speech of Hariri is a speech of a statesman", the MP confirmed on Friday to "Faqr" radio.

The MP wondered how Nasrallah accused March 14 of financing and arming the Syrian opposition while his party owns the weapons.

"Nasrallah owns the weapons and admitted receiving political fund from Iran", the MP stressed.

Fatfat stressed necessity to abide by national dialogue, pointing out that "the other team (March 8) puts weapons issue a condition for dialogue then says no conditions for dialogue".

The MP called on Nasrallah to hand over his weapons to the Lebanese state.

A.A.M

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Politics - Kanaan: Reform is inevitable and not option
 

Fri 17/02/2012 12:20

NNA - 17/2/2012 - Deputy Ibrahim Kanaan stressed that change was inevitable and not an option and would be achieved.

"Change is inevitable and not an option and it will be achieved", the MP confirmed.

Kanaan added in a gathering organized by "Free Patriotic Movement" in Metn in presence of the bloc's supporters and dignitaries that "Reform operation is not easy but requires a big effort", confirming that the bloc is the owner of the impossible battles.

"The bloc's battle is not against any sect or person but its goal is to build the state", the MP stressed.

Kanaan said that the aim of this gathering was to evaluate the process which followed the elections.

On the other hand, Kanaan stressed that his bloc demands best relations and ties with the Arab and West countries, but urged not to engage in the battles of the others.

A.A.M

NNA 2012 All rights reserved











 

Politics - Daouk depicts Lebanon's disassociation policy as wise
 

Fri 17/02/2012 11:57

NNA - 17/2/2012 Information Minister Walid Daouk Friday asserted that Lebanon's disassociation policy has proven to be "wise" especially within tough circumstances the country is undergoing.

In his words delivered to Al-Najwa- Al-Massira- magazine to be published tomorrow, Minister Daouk said Arab League state members, as well as foreign states, have understood Lebanon's decision.
"Lebanon has no interest in taking stances to support a certain party within such a historical juncture the region is experiencing," he remarked.

On the government level, Daouk said Premier Mikati's decision was to have government carry out its works as per laws and regulations.
"He who knows Mikati rules out the possibility of a governmental failure," Minister Daouk stressed.
Also, the Minister shed light on Mikati's major endeavors aiming at controlling strife in Tripoli and North Lebanon.

He then hoped for the return of public order within institutions in order to handle citizens' affairs.

Also, the Minister deemed it favorable to disengage Banking sector from conflicts so that it won't be affected by major repercussions.

Pertaining to the Syrian issue, Daouk said guessing where might situation be heading is impossible especially during international pressure on Damascus to adopt the Arab solution.
"Syria has no escape from its situation except through dialogue as through rational language instead of fires," he noted.


L.W.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved















 

Politics - Ghanem: Raising transport allowance in legislative session is constitution violation
 

Fri 17/02/2012 11:15

NNA - 17/2/2012 - Deputy Robert Ghanem stressed that raising the issue of transportation allowance in the legislative session on Wednesday is a violation of the constitution.

He added that the issue of signing the transport allowance is more dangerous than dissolving it in the parliament through presenting a law proposal.

The MP expected on Friday to "Voice of Lebanon" radio that "the House of Representatives will reject this proposal because it runs against the constitutional provisions".

Ghanem pointed out that "the constitution states that the ministerial solidarity is obligatory, either the minister signs and abides by the majority or resigns".

The MP stressed that the only exit is that the minister would abide by the cabinet's decisions, adding that it is wrong the parliament finds the solution.

A.A.M

NNA 2012 All rights reserved








 

Politics - Zahra criticizes Nasrollah's speech
 

Fri 17/02/2012 11:14

NNA - 17/2/2012 MP Antoine Zahra Friday said Sayyed Nasrollah's tone was a sign of the depth of March 8, mainly Hezbollah, crisis.

Sayyed Hassan Nasrollah yesterday addressed an annual Hezbollah rally to commemorate slain resistance leaders in Beirut southern suburbs.

Comparing between Nasrollah speech and that of former Premier Saad Hariri, Zahra said Hariri, on the March 14 commemoration, has presented a guarantee to avoid an inter-Islamic sedition when Nasrollah displayed nothing but a sense of overbearing self-worth.

Speaking to Free Lebanon radio, Lebanese Forces bloc member pertained to the issue of March 14 political project funding and said the coalition has "friends" for that purpose and no secrecy lies in such a process.

"This does not abolish the fact that Hezbollah has a sole funding source; Iran, which is not only dedicated to the resistance but to the execution of the Wilayat Al-Faqih project," Zahra noted.


L.W.
 

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Politics - Alan Aoun calls on Mikati to resume cabinet sessions
 

Fri 17/02/2012 10:20

NNA - 17/2/2012 - Deputy Alan Aoun called on Prime Minister Najib Mikati to return to cabinet sessions.

"The cabinet's goal is to be productive and solve the citizens problems", the MP stressed.

Aoun confirmed on Friday to "Voice of Lebanon" radio that the ball now is in Mikati's court who violated the constitution by suspending the cabinet sessions.

The MP pointed out that transportation allowance issue was not the main reason for suspending the cabinet's work, stressing that "the problem will be solved soon through a legal exit".

On the other hand, the MP stressed that there wasn't a personal dispute between MP Michel Aoun and PM Mikati, pointing out that the latter considered the bloc a political enemy and not a partner in the cabinet.

A.A.M

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Politics - Roknabadi: Lebanese people are people of freedom
 

Fri 17/02/2012 09:15


NNA - 17/2/2012 - Iranian Ambassador to Lebanon Ghazanfar Roknabadi stressed that the Lebanese people through the resistance proved that they are the people of freedom.

Roknabadi stressed in a ceremony for Hizbullah in the south in presence of officials and dignitaries that "Iran supports the Lebanese people", praising the resistance role who offered thousands of martyrs to defend Lebanon's sovereignty.

At the end of the ceremony a memorial shield was presented to Roknabadi.

A.A.M

NNA 2012 All rights reserved





 

Politics - Nasrallah refuses conditional dialogue: Israel nearing its end, Assad to prevail
 

Thu 16/02/2012 22:26

NNA - 16/02/2012 Hezbollah commemorated its fallen martyrs via a televised speech by party Chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah who categorically denied his Party's involvement in the incidents in Georgia, India and Thailand, refused to join a national dialogue table with preset conditions, declared Israel a faltering state, as he defended regime of Bashar Assad, and blamed Arab governments for not resorting to a political solution in Syria.

Hezbollah celebrated Martyr Leaders Day memorializing four commanders of the Islamic Resistance, Sheikh Ragheb Harb, Sayyed Abbas Moussawi, and Commander Imad Mughniyeh, at a time when the party is accused of targeting Israeli nationals and diplomats in various parts of the world.

"We are the enemies of Israel because it is occupying Palestine, attempting Judaization of Jerusalem and wreaking havoc on Palestinians inside and outside Palestine," Nasrallah said, adding that the Resistance was not involved in the security incidents in Georgia, Thailand and India, asserting that Hezbollah's fallen martyrs will be avenged by targeting much higher ranking Israeli politicians and diplomats. This would shake the feeble foundations of the wavering Jewish state, according to Nasrallah.

He explained that the Zionist grand scheme posed a threat to the core identity of the entire region. Hence, he was surprised when numerous Arab governments opted for a political solution with Israel, but refused to negotiate with Syria on similar basis. "How do you accept negotiation with Israel while you don't accept to talk with an Arab state?"

Nasrallah accused Arabs of depriving the resistance in Palestine from arsenal and trying arms smugglers, while publicly declaring their intent to supply weapons to Syria. This, according to the Chief, acted in the best interest of Israel, whose sole concern now was the toppling of President Bashar Assad.

"[Assad] is defiant and did not betray the resistance in Lebanon, Palestine or Iraq�Any alternative in Syria is better for Israel as the opposition is being sponsored by the U.S. and the Arabs whose history is renowned." The Sayyed scolded those Arab countries for focusing on Syria, while completely ignoring uprising in Bahrain.

He called upon Arabs to seek the source of all problems, as they would find it deeply rooted in the US and Israel.

On the domestic scene, Hezbollah Secretary General described anniversary of Rafik Hariri's assassination on February 14, 2005 as a memory dear to all Lebanese. "We offer our condolences to [Hariri's] supporters and voice our condemnation of such assassinations."

He strongly criticized key speakers at said ceremony, namely Lebanese Forces Leader Samir Geagea, and former MP Fares Soueid, whom he described as designated spokesperson for the Syrian National Council. In that regard, Nasrallah pointed to a discrepancy in approach of March 14 Camp towards uprising in Bahrain and that in Syria.

Nasrallah accepted to meet other Lebanese factions over a dialogue table as long as there was no predetermined agenda, refusing any conditions posed on Hezbollah, particularly regarding arms and defense strategy of the country. He revealed that the Resistance possessed a greater arsenal than Israel knew of, and that these arms were intended to defend Lebanon and deter any attack against it.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Future: taking note of STL's period extension ends illusory phase
 

Thu 16/02/2012 19:01

NNA - 16/02/2012 - The Future Bloc said the official statement released yesterday Wednesday by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon put terms to a long phase of illusory battles which the country could have dispersed with.

Ban's statement included a note to be taken that the Special Tribunal for Lebanon's work term had been extended to a three-year period.

The Future Bloc's stance came Thursday in the context of its regular weekly meeting under the chairmanship of MP Fouad Siniora at Hariri DownTown residence in Beirut.

The meeting was an opportunity to review overall developments at the local and regional scenes.

Future attendees attacked March 8 camp as paralyzing governmental institutions and destabilizing local security.
A.M./R.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Geagea meets Australian Ambassador
 

Thu 16/02/2012 18:51

NNA - 16/02/2012 - Lebanese Forces Leader, Samir Geagea, met Thursday with Australian Ambassador to Lebanon Lex Bartlem, with talks reportedly touching on recent developments in Lebanon and the region in addition to bilateral relations.

Among Geagea's itinerant visitors today has also been Donniyyeh municipality Head, Boulos Chami, with discussions featuring high on current domestic and regional developments.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Sleiman, Aridi meet in Baabda
 

Thu 16/02/2012 18:20

NNA - 16/2/2012 - President of the Republic, Michel Sleiman, on Thursday met with Minister of Public Works and Transportation, Ghazi Aridi, over most recent developments.

The meeting, held in Baabda presidential palace, also touched on an array of affairs relevant to the Public Works Ministry.

R.A.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Daouk receives French media attache at TL headquarters
 

Thu 16/02/2012 17:38

NNA - 16/02/2012 - Information Minister Walid Daouk received Thursday at his office at the headquarters of Tele Liban institution in Tallet Khayyat/Beirut the French regional media attache in Lebanon, Syria and Iraq Trancrede de la Morinerie.

Both tackled renewing the structure of said institution in a way that would revilalize media cooperation between Lebanon and France on the media level.

De la Morinerie's visit has been an opportuinty to inspect the institution's studios, notably the archives department.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved




 

Politics - Sahnawi from Audi's: for balance among political sides at cabinet
 

Thu 16/02/2012 17:17

NNA - 16/02/2012 - Telecommunications Minister Nicholas Sahnawi stressed on Thursday upon the necessity for resuming cabinet sessions to address livelihood issues and for achieving a sort of balance among the political sides participating in said government.

Sahnawi's words came in the wake of a visit to Beirut Greek Orthodox Metropolitan Elias Audi at the Greek Orthodox Bishopric in Ashrafiyeh.

Separately, Audi received Deputy Prime Minister Samir Mokbel and discussed with him overall developments at the local and regional scenes.

Mokbel said the crisis in current government was due to the lack of a ministerial solidarity without which the Labor Minister would have signed the decision related to the transportation fees for employees.


 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved









 

Politics - Charbel, Roknabadi follow up affair of Iranians kidnapped in Syria
 

Thu 16/02/2012 17:16

NNA - 16/02/2012 - Minister of Interior and Municipalities, Marwan Charbel, on Thursday followed up with Iranian Ambassador to Lebanon, Ghazanfar Roknabadi, the issue of the seven Iranian engineers kidnapped in Syria in December and the possibility of transferring them into Lebanon.

The meeting, also attended by ISF Chief Major General Ashraf Rifi and General Security Director Brigadier Abbas Ibrahim, touched as well on affairs of common interest between Iran and the Lebanese Ministry of Interior and Municipalities.

Charbel also met with Minister for the Displaced, Alaeddine Terro, and Deputy Elie Aoun. Discussions focused on developmental affairs and issues related to municipalities and mayors' condition. After the meeting, Terro praised minister Charbel's efforts for ensuring security in the country.

Earlier today, the minister received from Russian Ambassador to Lebanon Alexander Zasypkin an official invitation to partake in a conference on security, to be held in St. Petersburg in forthcoming June.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved









 

Politics - (UPDATED) Syrian ambassador refuses intervention in his country's affairs
 

Thu 16/02/2012 16:35

NNA - 16/2/2012 - Syrian ambassador to Lebanon Ali Abdul Karim Ali told reporters after meeting Foreign Minister Adnan Mansour that his country rejects any intervention which infringes Syria's sovereignty, stressing that Damascus is quite capable of solving its problems.

"This meeting with Mansour was an opportunity to review the atmosphere that surrounded the Arab League meeting and Lebanon's position from the discussions that took place," the ambassador said.

Ali added that talks with Mansour touched on bilateral ties, preserving peace in the two countries as well as controlling the joint Lebanese-Syrian borders.

Asked how will Syria conduct the referendum amid the ongoing fighting and violence, the ambassador assured that the Syrian forces are sweeping all the volatile areas and law and order is gradually being restored in some of these parts that witnesses clashes.

"Most regions in Syria enjoy peace and tranquility amid calls from the Syrian people to confront all the radical military elements," the ambassador said.

But the diplomat declined to say if the poll will be only confined inside Syria.

He accused the United States and some Arab countries of trying to internationalize the crisis in Syria, noting that these attempts are doomed to failure thanks to the position adopted by most countries.

Commenting on the proposal to dispatch joint forces from the Arab League and United Nations, Ali made it clear that his country will not permit any country to meddle in its internal affairs, warning that such calls only serve the interest of Israel and western nations.

Mansour later met with Russian ambassador, Alexandre Zasypkin, over most recent developments in unrest-swept Syria.

The ambassador rekindled Russia's principle position about the necessity to reach a political solution to the ongoing plight in the neighboring country, mainly through an all-inclusive national dialogue without foreign interference whatsoever.

"We consider that the unilateral approach is unacceptable; this is what led to an unbalanced draft resolution at the Security Council, which Russia had vetoed," said Zasypkin, adding that referring to the UN General Assembly is tantamount to ignoring amendments suggested by Russia.

Besides, the diplomat lambasted the financing of armed groups from the Syrian opposition, saying such step was unconstructive and would only exacerbate the conflict.


O.H-R.A.H.

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Politics - Mikati: National Council for Scientific Researches needs support from government
 

Thu 16/02/2012 16:13

NNA - 16/02/2012 - Prime Minister Najib Mikati said that the National Council for Scientific Researches needed support from the government, especially on the financial and human levels, voicing an intention to enhance the scientific human resources for said council.

Mikati's words came on Thursday in the context of a ceremony held for delivering awards on the best writers of published scientific articles, at the Grand Serail in Beirut.

The event took place upon an invitation from the National Council Researches on the Chemistry World Day that has been launched by the UNESCO.

Education and Higher Learning Minister Hassan Diab, Cabinet Secretary General Suhail Buji, the National Council for Scientific Researches senior George Tohme, Lebanese Industrialists Association head Neamat Ifram, National News Agency director Laure Sleiman and others attended the event.

Separately, Mikati cabled his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyep Erdogan to check on his well-being.

The Premier received at the Grand Serail U.S. Special Envoy for Middle East Peace Frederic Hof and discussed with him the assistance that could be provided for Lebanon as concerning the Exclusive Economic Zone matter.

A.M./R.K.

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Politics - (UPDATED) Speaker says Lebanon adamant to explore oil, gas
 

Thu 16/02/2012 16:05

NNA - 16/2/2012 - Speaker of the House, Nabih Berri, on Thursday told a US senior official that Lebanon is still unswervingly determined to explore offshore oil and gas resources.

US Special Envoy for Middle East Peace, Frederic Hof, had been to Ain-el-Tineh today, accompanied by US ambassador, Maura Connelly.

Berri did not fail to renew cleaving to Lebanon's full rights to invest in oil exploration in compliance with the world's top scientific standards.

Hof, for his part, said the US was ready to provide required aid in that respect.

Earlier today, Berri received a delegation of the Arab-German Parliamentary Friendship Group, with talks mainly featuring on an array of most recent developments in Lebanon and the broader Arab region.

Talks also touched on the bilateral Lebanese-German ties and the two-pronged cooperation on the parliamentary level.

The Speaker later met with Czech ambassador to Lebanon, Svayopluk Cumba, over bilateral relations between both countries.


R.A.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved














 

Politics - Abboud upbeat over cabinet plight
 

Thu 16/02/2012 16:00

NNA - 16/2/2012 - Minister of Tourism, Fadi Abboud, said he was upbeat over the existing crisis within the Mikati-led government, following his meeting Thursday with Mufti of the Lebanese Republic, Sheikh Mohammad Rashid Qabbani.

"There are many items on-the-table pertaining to [political] performance in Lebanon, especially as to the interpretation of the Constitution. We hope to get out of the current predicament with a clearer determination of the obligations of each Lebanese official," he said.

The Minister and the Mufti met today over the current political situation on the Lebanese domestic level, as well as over an array of tourism projects.

Abboud noted that incoming tourists' ratio has increased by 22% last month, comparing to the same period last year.

The Mufti later met with a delegation of railway workers and common transportation syndicates, headed by Raymond Felfli.

He also broached the current political juncture at the local internal scene with former Deputy Hassan Yaacoub.

Among Mufti Qabbani's itinerant visitors today had also been a delegation of Sufism Research and Studies Association in Turkey, with talks featuring high on Islamic affairs.


R.A.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved















 

Politics - Abboud upbeat over cabinet plight
 

Thu 16/02/2012 16:00

NNA - 16/2/2012 - Minister of Tourism, Fadi Abboud, said he was upbeat over the existing crisis within the Mikati-led government, following his meeting Thursday with Mufti of the Lebanese Republic, Sheikh Mohammad Rashid Qabbani.

"There are many items on-the-table pertaining to [political] performance in Lebanon, especially as to the interpretation of the Constitution. We hope to get out of the current predicament with a clearer determination of the obligations of each Lebanese official," he said.

The Minister and the Mufti met today over the current political situation on the Lebanese domestic level, as well as over an array of tourism projects.

Abboud noted that incoming tourists' ratio has increased by 22% last month, comparing to the same period last year.

The Mufti later met with a delegation of railway workers and common transportation syndicates, headed by Raymond Felfli.

He also broached the current political juncture at the local internal scene with former Deputy Hassan Yaacoub.

Among Mufti Qabbani's itinerant visitors today had also been a delegation of Sufism Research and Studies Association in Turkey, with talks featuring high on Islamic affairs.


R.A.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved

 

Politics - Khreiss tackles Arab developments
 

Thu 16/02/2012 15:41

NNA - 16/2/2012 MP Ali Khreiss Thursday tackled most regional developments in Arab and Islamic causes, Palestinians mainly, during his meeting with a delegation of the popular front for Palestine liberation.

Liberation and Development bloc member said meetings were underway with Palestinian factions, especially within such tough circumstances.

The MP called for unison confronting the Israeli enemy.



L.W.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved








 

Politics - Siniora meets with Aloussaimi
 

Thu 16/02/2012 15:41

NNA - 16/02/2012 - Head of the Future Parliamentary Bloc Fouad Siniora, met Thursday noon at Sadat Tower building, with U.A.E Ambassador to Lebanon Yussef Aloussaimi, with discussions focusing on general developments at the domestic and regional scenes.

R.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Sleiman pushes for solution to transportation allowance dossier
 

Thu 16/02/2012 15:39

NNA - 16/02/2012 - President of the Republic Michel Sleiman said on Thursday that it was not right to leave the public employees' transportation allowance case open-ended.

The President's words came before a visiting delegation from the General Labor Confederation (GLC) headed by Ghassan Ghosn.

"The Council of Minister's decision should be respected as it is based on a tradition that has gained the legitimacy of a law within a 16-year stint," the President said. He also quoted the law draft which calls for the amendment of the very same law, in a way which fits best with the interests of all employees.

However, the President affirmed that attempts at achieving political victories were doomed to remain trapped within political frames.

"This [victories] shall never be achieved at the account of the people's rights and competencies," said Sleiman, adding that citizens should never be deprived of their right to administrative appointments, judged by their political and religious belongings.

"Mechanisms depending on appointments relying on a person's resume and competency should be adopted away from political influence," Sleiman argued.

At another level, the President held talks on Thursday with Civil Service Council Head, former Minister Khaled Kabbani over pending administrative appointments, and filling vacancies depending on mechanisms adopted by the Council of Ministers.

Sleiman also tackled bilateral relations with the Jordanian Ambassador to Lebanon, Ziad Majali.
R.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved
















 

Politics - Speaker says Lebanon adamant to explore oil, gas
 

Thu 16/02/2012 15:24

NNA - 16/2/2012 - Speaker of the House, Nabih Berri, on Thursday told a US senior official that Lebanon is still unswervingly determined to explore offshore oil and gas resources.

US Special Envoy for Middle East Peace, Frederic Hof, had been to Ain-el-Tineh today, accompanied by US ambassador, Maura Connelly.

Berri did not fail to renew cleaving to Lebanon's full rights to invest in oil exploration in compliance with the world's top scientific standards.

Hof, for his part, said the US was ready to provide required aid in that respect.

Earlier today, Berri received a delegation of the Arab-German Parliamentary Friendship Group, with talks mainly featuring on an array of most recent developments in Lebanon and the broader Arab region.

Talks also touched on the bilateral Lebanese-German ties and the two-pronged cooperation on the parliamentary level.


R.A.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved














 

Politics - Daouk: Mikati's decision result of government unproductiveness
 

Thu 16/02/2012 14:38

NNA - 16/2/2012 Information Minister Walid Daouk said on Thursday that Prime Minister Najib Mikati denounced government demeanor when it became unproductive due to latest political tensions that lead to unconstitutional performances, most recent of which a minister's decision to refrain from signing a cabinet decree.

Speaking to Al-Horra television channel, Daouk said the Cabinet ought to be a place for beneficial citizen-related discussions and not a place for political quarrels.

Asked about the situation in Tripoli, Daouk said that stability prevailed in the region due to the Lebanese army's full control of the security situation and thanks to the President and Premier's ongoing contacts and citizens' awareness.

Pertaining to the March 14 alliance with the Syrian National Council, Daouk said Amine Gemayel's stance was significant when he said that Lebanon was incapable of being a source for armed persons as it is incapable of affecting Syrian affairs.
"This is very important for, after all, the Taef accord stipulates that Lebanon would never serve as a ground against Syria, and we ought to respect that," he remarked.

"Lebanon and Syria share special ties, joint borders, historical and social relatedness," Minister Daouk said and noted that the Lebanese decision of disassociation served in preserving stability.



L.W.

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Politics - Franjieh, Australian diplomat meet
 

Thu 16/02/2012 14:34

NNA - 16/2/2012 - Head of Marada Movement, MP Sleiman Franjieh, on Thursday met with Australian ambassador, Alex Bartlem, over the current situation in Lebanon and the broader Arab regional.

Talks also focused on the Lebanese-Australian bilateral ties.

The diplomat had been to Bnashii today accompanied by Bruce Edwards from the Australian embassy in Beirut, in presence of Roni Eraiji from Marada.


R.A.H.

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Politics - Araji says security checkpoint on international highway paramount
 

Thu 16/02/2012 14:08

NNA - 16/02/2012 - Member of Parliament Assem Araji highlighted on Thursday the crucial importance of erecting a permanent security checkpoint on the international highway linking Lebanon to Syria, with the increasing number of abductions recently witnessed in said area.

Repeated kidnaps of Syrian nationals crossing Al-Masnaa International Road, towards Taanayel-Bir Elias, have been increasingly reported. Two months ago, a Syrian business man was kidnapped in broad daylight and before scores of eye witnesses. He was released in a weeks' time on reports saying that a very high ransom had been paid for his release.

"I would like to remind that I have visited the Interior and Municipalities Minister for this purpose three weeks ago and requested the establishment of a security station in Bir Elias locality and the erection of a checkpoint along on the international road," said Araji.

Last Saturday, armed men dressed in military attire kidnapped four Syrian men whose destiny remains unknown up to the moment.

"All the people residing in areas linking Sham Road to Beirut International Road, highly deplore those operations and request the truth behind those acts from security officials," Araji said, condemning the absence of statements by official security statements on the matter.
R.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved











 

Politics - Rahi's itinerants
 

Thu 16/02/2012 13:01

NNA - 16/2/2012 - Maronite Patriarch, Bechara Boutros Rahi, received on Thursday at Bkirki patriarchate former Minister Ibrahim Shamseddin.

He also met with a delegation of railways and public transportation syndicates. Rahi's visitors presented him with a list of syndicates' demands and requirements.

Separately, Rahi met with sculptor Rudi Rahme and his brother who informed the Patriarch of the project they had in mind to motivate believers and boost their clinging to their ancestors' land.
D.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Daouk discusses bilateral ties with Kazakhstani Ambassador
 

Thu 16/02/2012 12:19

NNA - 16/2/2012 - Information Minister Walid Daouk discussed bilateral ties between Lebanon and Kazakhstan on Thursday at his office in the ministry with Kazakhstani Ambassador to Lebanon Daulet Yemberdiyev.

A.A.M

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Mikati denies evading responsibilities
 

Thu 16/02/2012 12:11

NNA - 16/2/2012 - Prime Minister Najib Mikati Thursday said what happened on the governmental level was not a break out of responsibilities but, on the contrary, a protection of constitutional institutions that ought to be above political quarrels.

"We are resolved to carry out our path no matter how hard storms may get, so far we have succeeded to steer the Lebanese ship away from waves," he remarked.

The Lebanese Premier also said that stability Lebanon witnesses is not solely within security but it is political, economic, and social noting that responsibility relies not on those who are in power but on those who are outside it also.

In his word delivered on the occasion of concluding the first phase of Beirut port rehabilitation, Mikati said national unity is the sole guarantee for keeping Lebanon safe and stable.

"It is unacceptable to have some limit other partners in the country within their self or party or even allies," he noted deeming governance to be of everyone's responsibility.

Mikati said all officials are bound to respect institutions as they are concerned in public order.

Extolling the growth of movement in Beirut port, the Premier stated that the plan to develop naval transportation is mainly based on the development of all Lebanese ports.

Mikati heaped praise on Minister Ghazi Aridi's concern and follow up to such works as he expressed appreciation for the Beirut port investment committee members and chief.


L.W.

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Politics - Salhab: Mikati-Bassil's meeting sheer technical
 

Thu 16/02/2012 11:33

NNA - 16/2/2012 - Deputy Salim Salhab on Thursday said the meeting held between Premier Najib Mikati and Minister Gebran Bassil was purely technical as it aimed at discussing power generating boats' issue and not at calling for resuming cabinet sessions.

The MP told the Voice of Lebanon - Voice of Freedom and Dignity station that what helps solving the government crisis is when Mikati actually takes back his decision of suspending cabinet sessions.

Salhab noted that Nahas' refusal to sign the transportation allowance decree was not the major problem which led to suspending the cabinet sessions.
D.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved




 

Politics - Syrian ambassador refuses intervention in his country's affairs
 

Thu 16/02/2012 11:09

NNA - 16/2/2012 - Syrian ambassador to Lebanon Ali Abdul Karim Ali told reporters after meeting Foreign Minister Adnan Mansour that his country rejects any intervention which infringes Syria's sovereignty, stressing that Damascus is quite capable of solving its problems.

"This meeting with Mansour was an opportunity to review the atmosphere that surrounded the Arab League meeting and Lebanon's position from the discussions that took place," the ambassador said.

Ali added that talks with Mansour touched on bilateral ties, preserving peace in the two countries as well as controlling the joint Lebanese-Syrian borders.

Asked how will Syria conduct the referendum amid the ongoing fighting and violence, the ambassador assured that the Syrian forces are sweeping all the volatile areas and law and order is gradually being restored in some of these parts that witnesses clashes.

"Most regions in Syria enjoy peace and tranquility amid calls from the Syrian people to confront all the radical military elements," the ambassador said.

But the minister declined to say if the poll will be only confined inside Syria.

He accused the United States and some Arab countries of trying to internationalize the crisis in Syria, noting that these attempts are doomed to failure thanks to the position adopted by most countries.

Commenting on the proposal to dispatch joint forces from the Arab League and United Nations, Ali made it clear that his country will not permit any country to meddle in its internal affairs, warning that such calls only serve the interest of Israel and western nations.

O.H

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Politics - (UPDATED) Jumblatt heads to Turkey
 

Thu 16/02/2012 10:46

NNA - 16/2/2012 - "National Struggle Front" head Deputy Walid Jumblatt headed on Wednesday night to Turkey on a private plane.

A.A.M

NNA 2012 All rights reserved
 


Politics - Jumblatt heads to Turkey
 

Thu 16/02/2012 10:45

NNA - 16/2/2012 - "National Struggle Front" Deputy Walid Jumblatt headed on Wednesday night to Turkey on a private plane.

A.A.M

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Manjian welcomes any legal exit for transportation allowance
 

Thu 16/02/2012 10:21

NNA - 16/2/2012 - State Minister Panos Manjian welcomed any legal exit for transportation allowance controversy.

Manjian stressed complete solidarity concerning transportation allowance inside Change and Reform bloc.

The minister pointed out that the bloc would take the appropriate stance if the dismissal issue of Labor Minister Charbel Nahhas was suggested.

"The bloc will take the appropriate position if the dismissal issue of Minister Charbel Nahhas is proposed", Manjian stressed.

Commenting on the cabinet's suspension, he showed complete readiness to take part in any meeting the Prime Minister Najib Mikati calls for.

"It is important to resumes cabinet sessions and matters should go back to normal", Manjian told "Voice of Lebanon" radio on Thursday.

Concerning the renewal of the tribunal's protocol, he said that the cabinet should have been briefed on this issue and should have been part in its renewal operation to determine how the money was spent for the tribunal.

A.A.M

NNA 2012 All rights reserved













 

Politics - Nidal Tohmeh: Cabinet fails to achieve many files
 

Thu 16/02/2012 09:55

NNA - 12/2/2012 - Deputy Nidal Tohmeh said that the cabinet failed to achieve many files.

The MP added that those who monitor the cabinet's work feels sorry for the waste of time and polemic which is prevailing inside it.

"If there is a real will for reform then appointments issue should have been surpassed", the MP told "Free Lebanon" radio on Thursday.

Tohmeh commented on Energy and Water Minister Gibran Bassil's acknowledgment that there was waste in distributing red gasoil, saying "we got used in this country to judge the small person and the big one escapes".

"Red gasoil could not be delivered unless a decision was taken by the energy ministry", the MP confirmed.

A.A.M

NNA 2012 All rights reserved









 

Politics - Khoury hopes cabinet crisis to be solved
 

Thu 16/02/2012 08:51

NNA - 16/2/2012 - Environment Minister Nazem Khoury hoped that the cabinet crisis would be solved before the legislative session on the 22nd of this month.

The minister stressed that the cabinet should be reunited because the alternative would be vacuum, adding that "there is no capability to form a new cabinet".

"Changing Labor Minister Charbel Nahhas portfolio does not solve the problem", the minister stressed to Osbouh el Arabi magazine and the Magazine which will be published tomorrow (Friday).

On the other hand, Khoury criticized those who are interpreting the constitution or those who want to give lessons on how to hold meetings of the Council of Ministers and regularity of the work of institutions.

Khoury stressed that "the President is the head of the Lebanese state and not an observer or a note taker of the meetings of the Council of Ministers".

Khoury was surprised by Deputy Michel Aoun's prosecution theory.

"If General Aoun was the head of a Christian bloc but does not represent all the Christians, because there are 23 Christian deputies in the Change and Reform bloc out of 64 MPs, which means that there are 41 deputies out of this bloc", the minister said.

Khoury added that Aoun ran the elections under the motto of restoring the Christian role in Lebanon and the role of the presidency.

A.A.M

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - UAE Education Minister in Beirut
 

Wed 15/02/2012 22:19

NNA - 15/02/2012 - The United Arab Emirate (UAE) Higher Learning and Education Minister, Hmayed Al-Katami, arrived in Beirut on Wednesday evening, coming from Dubai.
R.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - New Ambassador to Chili in Beirut
 

Wed 15/02/2012 22:15

NNA - 15/02/2012 - The newly appointed Chilean Ambassador to Lebanon, Jose Minhaga, arrived in Beirut on Wednesday evening.

It is to note that Minhaga is expected to be handing his credentials to Foreign Minister, Adnan Mansour, and Lebanese President, Michel Sleiman.
R.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Belgium's Reinders winds up Lebanon visit
 

Wed 15/02/2012 22:10

NNA - 15/02/2012 - Belgian Foreign Minister, Didier Reinders, winded up on Wednesday evening his official visit to Lebanon, heading to Athens aboard a private jet, after having met with Lebanese officials over most recent developments at the Lebanese and regional scenes as well as means to boost bilateral relations between both countries.
R.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Youth Union stages pro-Abdullah demo before French Embassy
 

Wed 15/02/2012 21:59

NNA - 15/02/2012 - The Lebanese Democratic Youth Union staged a sit in on Wednesday evening, facing the French Embassy of Beirut, requesting the release of George Ibrahim Abdullah.

Abdullah, a Lebanese man, was convicted of killing Israeli and American military officials and remains in French custody. Abdullah's supporters argue that his sentence ended in 1999 and he should be released.

"More than 150 activists and supporters to detained George Abdullah, who has been held in French prisons for more than 28 years now, have taken part in the demo," a statement by the union read.

A word delivered by Mohammad Jammoul on the behalf of protesters, held the French state accountable for "this oppressive policy."

"The consecutive Lebanese governments feared bringing up this matter with France not to lose its political support," Jammoul said, requesting of the Lebanese state to be up to its responsibilities handling this issue, at all levels.
R.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Jumblatt fears Syria's future in light of draft constitution
 

Wed 15/02/2012 21:24

NNA - 15/02/2012 - There is no fear over the future of uprisings in Egypt, Libya, and Tunisia, Progressive Socialist Party Leader Walid Jumblatt said on Wednesday, but voiced worry over Syria, in light of a new constitution void of article 8.

Fighting an 11-month crisis, Syrian President Bashar Assad has ordered a referendum on the new constitution on February 26, 2012. The draft constitution would allow the President to be elected for two terms of seven years. The current constitution does not stipulate how many seven-year terms a president can be elected for.

"The Baath Party is simply cloning itself and the best solution is for it to go away [leave power]," Jumlatt said as speaking at the sidelines of a dialogue session on Islamists and extremism reaching power in Arab countries at "Kamal Jumblatt's friends center".

Albeit, Jumblatt noted that the interests of Russia and China were settled on the fact that there could be no compromise but with Assad.

"They both rebuffed any sort of rightist made compromise. The more the bloodshed, the worse the situation gets," he warned.

At another level, Jumblatt requested an updated form of the Lebanese Taef Accord.

"The Taef [accord] has expired. We need a new Taef between the [Lebanese] Sunnis and Shiites that is in the form of a new compromise," said Jumlatt, affirming that a Lebanese civil war was farfetched in the view of ongoing dialogue between the Lebanese.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved















 

Politics - Siniora, Didier tackle mutual and Arab affairs
 

Wed 15/02/2012 20:15

NNA - 15/02/2012 - An array of economic expertise featured high Wednesday on talks between Former Prime Minister, Fouad Siniora, and visiting Belgian Foreign Minister, Didier Reinders.

Reinders, who met Siniora at the Center House in the company of Belgian Ambassador Colette Taquet, held during the day a series of meetings with a number of Lebanese officials including, Prime Minister Najib Mikati, and Kataeb Party Leader, Former President Amine Gemayel.

"It is of high importance for me to be able to comprehend the intricacy of the Lebanese society and the possibility of pursuing dialogue and extending relations between the same country's majority and opposition," Didier said on emerging.

Touching on turmoil rocking Lebanon's neighbor, Syria, the Belgian FM expressed his nation's mutual concern with that of Lebanon concerning the simmering crisis.

"We are well aware of the methods by which we ought to cooperate with the Arab League, especially with regard to Syria's opposition and the importance of having Syrian opposition fully united," he said, noting that his country intends to do the same with the United Nations. "I will be visiting New York next week for a meeting with the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon."

Siniora and his visitor also saw eye-to-eye over Arab Spring developments.

"Despite adopting different approaches in different Arab countries, Arab Spring uprisings always share the same values, goals, and democracy," said Didier.
R.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Mikati chairs meeting on power generating ships
 

Wed 15/02/2012 19:47

NNA - 15/2/2012 - Prime Minister Najib Mikati on Wednesday chaired a periodic meeting for the ministerial committee tasked to study offers presented by the power generating ships' companies.

Minister of Energy and Water Resources, Gebran Bassil, told reporters following the meeting at the Grand Serail, that today's talks mainly broached two offers by two specialized companies, to be recalled with a view to further discussions over details relevant to production, costs, and deadlines.

The meeting also featured high on the administrative and ecological aspects of the projects.

The committee is scheduled to resume talks in a meeting to be set later.

Separately, Premier Mikati met with Minister of Interior and Municipalities, Marwan Charbel.

The pair reportedly reviewed an array of ministerial affairs.


 

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Politics - Geagea meets US, Italian diplomats
 

Wed 15/02/2012 18:35

NNA - 15/2/2012 - Lebanese Forces Leader, Samir Geagea, on Wednesday met with US ambassador to Lebanon, Maura Connelly, over most recent political developments in Lebanon and the broader Arab region.

Geagea had earlier met with Italian ambassador, Giuseppe Morabito, who voiced, according to a statement by LF media office, his country's concern over the crisis in Syria and its repercussions on Lebanon.

R.A.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Sleiman: refusing appointments process signals democracy remoteness
 

Wed 15/02/2012 18:33

NNA - 15/02/2012 - Lebanese President Michel Sleiman said on Thursday that if the administrative appointments issue was unaccepted by some political sides, this would signal that the country has still been remote from the essence of democracy.

The President stressed that the skilled and the reputable citizen must always be protected by administrations without taking into consideration his/her political belonging.

On a different note, Sleiman informed Foreign and Expatriates Minister Adnan Mansour and Justice Minister Shakib Qortbawi of the content of the letter sent to him from UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon. In the letter, Ban affirmed his intention to extend the work term of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon - probing the assassination of martyr statesman Rafic Hariri and related crimes in 2005 - to a three-year period.

Belgian Foreign Minister Dedier Reinders visited President Sleiman at Baabda Presidential Palace and discussed with him bilateral ties as well as means of boosting cooperation between both countries on all levels.

Environment Minister Nazem Khoury also visited Sleiman and engaged with him in talks relevant to the current situation and to the ministry's efforts in safeguarding the local environmental situation.

The Lebanese Army Chief General Jean Qahwaji briefed Sleiman over the actual security in the country, notably in Tripoli. Sleiman hailed the military measures taken by the Army Command to preserve local security.

Separately, the President saw that the economic climate in Lebanon and the indices related to such climate were promising. "With the gradually growing opportunity of democracy and of oil exploration in Lebanon, we are in a good position that we must benefit from in order to ameliorate our economy and the country."

Amongst Baabda's visitors has been the head of Australia's Trade and Industry Chamber Joe Khattar and the owner of Australian An-Nahar newspaper Anwar Harb, who told the host that the Lebanese Diaspora in Australia were eagerly waiting for his upcoming visit to the country.

A.M./P.BC.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Gemayel, Reinders meet over Mideast situation
 

Wed 15/02/2012 18:29

NNA - 15/2/2012 - Head of Kataeb party, former President Amine Gemayel, on Wednesday met with Belgian Foreign Minister Didier Reinders, over the current situation in the Mideast region and the Lebanese-Belgian ties.

"The meeting was an occasion to highlight the depth of the friendship between Lebanon and Belgium, which upholds our country through its participation in the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon in implementation of resolution 1701," Gemayel told reporters following the meeting, held at Kataeb Central House in Saifi, in presence of Belgian ambassador to Lebanon, Colette Taquet.

"We also share the same viewpoints on the political level pertaining to the necessity to preserve stability and security in the [Mideast] region and in Lebanon as well as to the necessity to end violence in Syria," he added.

"We work on protecting the same goals and values, that is to say freedom and democracy, and on maintaining pluralism in the Middle East," he said.

Reinders, for his part, said the situation in the region was hard and dangerous, considering the current juncture in unrest-swept Syria.


R.A.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - German parliamentarians arrive to Beirut
 

Wed 15/02/2012 18:16

NNA - 15/02/2012 - A German parliamentary delegation arrived Wednesday evening to Beirut coming from Frankfurt. MP Hagop Pakradonian was at their reception at Beirut International Airport.

R.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Siniora meets Russian Ambassador
 

Wed 15/02/2012 18:15

NNA - 15/02/2012 - Head of the Future Parliamentary Bloc, Fouad Siniora, met today noon with Russian Ambassador to Lebanon, Alexandre Zasypkin, with discussions focusing on recent developments at both domestic and regional scenes.

The meeting was held at Siniora's office in Sadat Tower Building.
R.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Bahia Hariri bound to Amman
 

Wed 15/02/2012 18:13

NNA - 15/2/2012 - Member of Parliament Bahia Hariri on Wednesday left Beirut heading to the Jordanian capital, Amman.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Nahhas must whether sign or resign - Houri
 

Wed 15/02/2012 17:13

NNA - 15/2/2012 - Member of Parliament Ammar Houri on Wednesday said Labor Minister, Charbel Nahhas, is bound to sign the decree on transportation allowance, or else, he must resign.

"The opposition is not concerned with taking a position from the signature of Nahhas of the transportation allowance-related decree. The Minister is principally obliged to sign or else, he must resign," the Deputy told MTV channel today.

But he made it clear that the Future parliamentary bloc did not take any decision on whether to subject confidence in Minister Nahhas to a vote at the Parliament during the upcoming legislative session.

Nonetheless, Houri maintained that matters were open to all possibilities.

R.A.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved









 

Politics - Ali khalil meets Iranian officials in Tehran
 

Wed 15/02/2012 16:52

NNA - 15/02/2012 - Public Health Minister Ali Hasan Khalil continued on Wednesday his tour in Tehran wherein he met with his Iranian counterpart Mardiya Wahid Dastjurdi and held with her a work session at the Iranian Health Ministry in Tehran. Both discussed the already signed health protocol between Iran and Lebanon.

Separately, Khalil met with the Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi and discussed with him bilateral ties. Salehi reiterated Iran's support for Lebanon, voicing readiness to serve Lebanon in whatever it needed on the political and economic levels, and keenness on Lebanon's stability.
A.M./P.BC.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved



 

Politics - Assiri, Shaar tackle Tripoli's incidents
 

Wed 15/02/2012 16:31

NNA - 15/2/2012 - Saudi Arabian Ambassador to Lebanon Ali Awada Assiri received Wednesday the Mufti of Tripoli and the North, Seikh Malek Al-Shaar, with whom he discussed latest developments at the local scene, on top of which the incidents which took place in Tripoli few days ago.

Assiri praised the measures adopted by the Lebanese Army in order to preserve security in that tensed area.

Shaar, for his part, highlighted the brotherly Saudi-Lebanese ties and thanked KSA for its constant support to Lebanon's stability.
D.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Khoury receives invitation to visit Tunis
 

Wed 15/02/2012 16:18

NNA - 15/2/2012 - Environment Minister Nazem Khoury met Wednesday with the Tunisian Ambassador to Lebanon Muhammad Fawzi Ballout.

The Ambassador handed Khoury an invitation from his Tunisian counterpart to visit Tunis on top of a delegation of experts so as to tackle environmental cooperation.
D.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


 

Politics - Gemayel spurns Lebanon implication in Syria's events
 

Wed 15/02/2012 16:11

NNA - 15/2/2012 - Head of Kataeb party, former President Amine Gemayel, on Wednesday stressed that Lebanon cannot be implicated in nowadays' developments in neighboring Syria.

"As much as we advocate the claims of the Syrian people, we totally refuse that Lebanon be implicated in ongoing events," he corroborated.

Interviewed on Al-Jazira TV channel, Gemayel said that Kataeb party was fully siding with the "Syrian revolution," for freedom and democracy were for long the party's slogan.

"We have paid the price of Syrian practices; it is known that Syria was behind the assassinations of Kataeb commanders, i.e. President Bashir Gemayel (...) and his daughter Maya, as well as Minister Pierre Gemayel," he reckoned.

Gemayel lastly hoped that underway diplomatic efforts, patronized by the Arab League, would bear fruits to end what he termed as the Syrian "tragedy."



R.A.H.

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Politics - Reinders from Grand Serail: we look forward to Lebanon's good implementation of STL's works
 

Wed 15/02/2012 15:50

NNA - 15/02/2012 - Belgian Foreign Minister Didier Reinders said they looked forward to Lebanon's good implementation of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon's works, hailing Lebanon's payment of STL's financial dues in 2011.

Reinders's words came Wednesday in the context of his visit to Grand Serail for a meeting with Premier Mikati and reviewing with him bilateral ties.

Afterwards, Mikati received State Minister Marwan Kheireddine and reviewed with him overall developments at the local and regional scenes. The guest criticized Labor Minister Charbel Nahhas's refusal to sign a decision, regarding the transportation fees for employees, after being approved by cabinet.

Separately, Mikati met with Finance Minister Mohammad Safadi and reviewed with him the general situation.

Among Grand Serail's visitors have been deputy Akram Shuhayeb, Iskan Bank director Joseph Sassine and Economy and Work Group director Raouf Abu Zaki.

A.M./P.BC.

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Politics - Sami Gemayel calls for equality-based state
 

Wed 15/02/2012 15:35

NNA - 15/2/2012 - Member of Parliament Sami Gemayel renewed calls to build a new country to be based upon equality and effective partnership.

Gemayel made these remarks during the annual dinner for the Kataeb Expatriates Committee at Hilton Hotel in London, UK, Tuesday night.

"We do not want the country [Lebanon] to remain as it is; we do not want that Lebanese confessions continue to vie for authority," he said.

Metn Deputy maintained that the party was concerned with two main issues, that is to say the necessity to jettison the current "worn out" political system and the utter rejection of illegal weapons.

On a different note, Gemayel did not fail to reiterate that every citizen holding a Lebanese passport was entitled to cast ballot in the legislative elections.

"We do not want anyone to give us any instructions anymore," he said, urging Foreign Minister Adnan Mansour to confirm, in the nearest time possible, to Lebanese expatriates that they can duly cast their votes before embassies.


R.A.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved

 














 

 

Politics - Mikati from Berri's: cabinet persists and sessions resume when matters resolved
 

Wed 15/02/2012 15:22

NNA - 15/02/2012 - Prime Minister Najib Mikati assured the public that the government would persist and the cabinet sessions would resume as soon as pending matters would be resolved.

Mikati's stance came Wednesday in the wake of his meeting with Speaker of the House Nabih Berri at the latter's residence in Ain Tineh.

Discussions between both men focused on recent developments at the local and regional scenes. Mikati also related to the Speaker his recent visit to Paris and the topics he tackled with French officials therein.

Afterwards, Berri received at his residence the Belgian Foreign Minister Didier Reinders and discussed with him the current situation.

Separately, Berri received, in the context of Wednesday's regular parliamentary meeting, the deputies Ali Fayad, Ali Ammar, Hikmat Dib, Michel Moussa, Ali Bazzi Ghazi Zaeter, Hani Qobeissi and Qassem Hashem.

A.M./P.BC.

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Politics - Aoun, Australian diplomat tackle local, regional developments
 

Wed 15/02/2012 14:40

NNA - 15/2/2012 - MP Michel Aoun and Australian ambassador, Alex Bartlem, on Wednesday discussed an array of most recent developments in Lebanon and the broader Arab region.

A delegation of the World Lebanese Cultural Union (WLCU), headed by Massaad Hajal, had also been to Rabieh today for a meeting with Aoun over expatriates vote.

R.A.H./A.B.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved



 

Politics - (updated)Mansour meets Belgian counterpart
 

Wed 15/02/2012 13:32

NNA - 15/2/2012 - Foreign Affairs and Expatriates Minister Adnan Mansour met Wednesday with his Belgian counterpart, Didier Reinders, accompanied by the Belgian Ambassador to Lebanon, Colette Taquet.

Discussions touched on bilateral ties and the region's developments, particularly the Syrian unrest.

Reinder left without making any statement.

Separately, Mansour met with the Czech Ambassador to Lebanon with whom he tackled the forthcoming visit of the Czech Foreign Minister to Beirut.

Later on, Minister Mansour received the Dean of the Consular Corps Joseph Habis with talks touching on consular affairs.
D.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved








 

Politics - Berri, Mikati meet
 

Wed 15/02/2012 13:11

NNA - 15/2/2012 - House Speaker Nabih Berri is currently holding a meeting at Ain El-Tineh with Prime Minister Najib Mikati.
D.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved
 


Politics - Jisr: STL is non-negotiable
 

Wed 15/02/2012 13:00

NNA - 15/2/2012 - Deputy Samir Jisr confirmed Wednesday that the special tribunal for Lebanon is not subject for discussion. "It's the arms issue that needs to be discussed," he said.

"The STL was approved earlier at the dialogue table," he reminded in his talk with the Voice of Lebanon.

Jisr considered the message voiced by former Premier Saad Hariri on the March 14 commemoration as obvious regarding the restoration of state power and the rejection of illegitimate arms.

He said the incidents which took place between Bab El-Tebbane and Jabal Mohsen inhabitants were a reaction either to the Syrian developments or to the visit of Premier Najib Mikati to France.

He assured that these incidents aimed in no way at flaring up a confessional strife.

The region's inhabitants might have wanted to convey to Mikati a message that says "we can destabilize your city whenever you stand against our will."
D.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved












 

Politics - Feisal Karami: Security forces should end strife in Tripoli
 

Wed 15/02/2012 12:25

NNA - 15/2/2012 - Sport and Youths Minister Feisal Karami called on the legitimate security forces to end the strife in the city of Tripoli and close the open wound.

"It saddens me see my city Tripoli opening an old wound between Tabaneh and Jabal Mohsem areas. This open wound has once again turned into a civil strife, either for local reasons or for regional reasons. The price for this showdown is always at the cost of the poor people in both areas who pay this price in blood and destruction of their properties," the minister said.

He urged all sides in Tripoli to cast aside their differences, embark on the developmental projects and achieve social justice under the umbrella of the legitimacy.

"There should be an explicit and unwavering decision by all sides to hand over all security responsibilities to the legitimate security forces and the army. These de facto forces should also remove the political immunity on any violator and instigator."

Karami stressed that most of residents of Tripoli, who are caught in the cross fire, don't even have the means to buy food and clothes and can't afford to put their children in schools or provide proper medical treatment.

"I appeal to both President Michel Sleiman and Prime Minister Najib Mikati to turn the cabinet sessions into a dialogue table to address all the pressing needs of the citizens and most notably the volatile situation in Tripoli."

Karami also urged all Lebanese parties not be involved in the ongoing conflict in Syria and not to take sides.

He added that it is in Lebanon's interest to see a stable Syria because any security setback in this country will surely affect Lebanon.

O.H

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Politics - Mansour meets Belgian counterpart
 

Wed 15/02/2012 12:12

NNA - 15/2/2012 - Foreign Affairs and Expatriates Minister Adnan Mansour met Wednesday with his Belgian counterpart, Didier Reinders, accompanied by the Belgian Ambassador to Lebanon, Colette Taquet.
D.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Ghanem calls for endorsing transportation allowance in parliament
 


Wed 15/02/2012 11:20

NNA - 15/2/2102 - The head of the parliamentary committee for justice and administration deputy Robert Ghanem said the best solution for the transportation allowance is to endorse it by the parliament.

Speaking to Voice of Lebanon, the MP said the constitution does not allow the president of the republic and prime minister to change the portfolios of the ministers, warning that this step could pave the way for a bigger conflict between the ministers and the president on one hand and prime minister on the other.

"The constitution stipulates that the decree should be signed by both the president and the cabinet together and did not mention changing portfolios."

He added that minister has the right to object to the decree but he has no right to put this decree on the shelf. He either shows solidarity with the government or resigns.

Ghanem also commented on MP Michel Aoun's demand to specify the prerogatives of the prime minister.

"There is no need for that because these powers have already specified by the constitution. The best solution for the transportation allowance is to pass it by the parliament in case the cabinet failed to do so," Ghanem said.

O.H

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Politics - Zahra: Hariri's assassination triggered revolution
 

Wed 15/02/2012 10:48

NNA - 15/2/2012 - Lebanese Forces parliamentary bloc member deputy Antoine Zahra told "Future News" that the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri has triggered a popular revolution which eventually turned into an uprising for independence.

"Hariri was assassinated in order to end strive for the second independence of Lebanon. This crime was aimed at silencing the sound, killing the deceased and walking in his funeral as usual," Zahra said.

The MP stressed that the Syrian regime misread the events around it and this would lead it its demise.

Zahra added that the Syrian opposition did not spell out its foreign policy during the letter which was read by one of March 14 figures.

"The main letter sent by the Syrian opposition is that the crimes committed by the current regime will not be repeated again once the regime is changed."

Zahra again accused the current government of being a product of the Syrian regime.

To illustrate his argument, Zahra cited an MP from the Free Patriotic Movement as saying that the resignation of Prime Minister Najib Mikati is not in his hand.

The MP slammed MP Michel Aoun who has violated all laws and norms on daily basis under the pretext of combating corruption and lawlessness.

Zahra stressed that March 14 forces were the first to call for the deployment of the Lebanese army all over Lebanese territories.

He called on Hezbollah to derive lessons from the failure of "political Maronite and political Sunni and not continue in the path of political Shiitisim."

O.H

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Politics - Hobyesh: we propose radical solution for arms
 

Wed 15/02/2012 10:14

NNA 15/2/2012 - Member of Parliament Hadi Hobyesh told Voice of Lebanon that March 14 and Future bloc have proposed a comprehensive and radical solution to disarm all sides in Lebanon but noticed that this suggestion did not win the support of those who control the political decision in the government.

"There is one party in the country which sympathizes with the Syrian people and another side regrettably which sympathizes with the Syrian regime. It's a petty that some citizens possess weapons as well as some political parties and most notably Hezbollah and here the problem lies," the MP said.

The MP also commented on March 14 rallies to mark the 7th anniversary for the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.

"The speech of former Prime Minister Saad Hariri was very clear in substance. Hariri made it clear that he will not deal with the Lebanese in a vindictive manner."

Hobyesh added that Hariri has no intention to seek revenge from some Lebanese, reiterating that Hariri is keen to resume dialogue with Hezbollah despite its opposition to the Special Tribunal for Lebanon.

"Hariri was also clear in his support to the Syrian revolution and revolutions of the Arab peoples that are yearning for freedom."

O.H

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Politics - Al-Rai postpones his visit to Tripoli
 

Tue 14/02/2012 22:11

NNA - 14/2/2012 - Tripoli's Maronite Archdiocese Media Department disclosed in a statement Tuesday Maronite Patriarch Bshara Butros Al-Rai's decision to postpone his parish visit to Tripoli. The Patriarch's decision comes in the wake of the recent security incidents taking place in Tripoli and the prevailing ambience of sadness due to the falling of victims there. A phone call in this respect took place between the Patriarch and Mufti of Tripoli and the North, Sheikh Malek Shaar.
Patriarch Al-Rai expressed warm affiliation with the people of Tripoli during their current sad circumstances. He voiced his strong belief in his visit as being a visit to all citizens of Tripoli with no discrimination, adding that his encounter with them shall be one of joy, partnership and kindness. Hence, and as a sign of respect to the people's feelings of sorrow and dismay at their incurred losses in light of the sad incidents, Al-Rai indicated his decision to postpone his Tripoli visit to a later time, hoping that the painful incidents will never re-occur.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Belgian Vice Prime Minister arrives in Beirut
 

Tue 14/02/2012 21:28

NNA - 14/2/2012 - Belgian Vice Prime Minister, Didier Reynders, arrived in Beirut Tuesday, heading an official delegation. The Belgian Vice Prime Minister will be meeting with Lebanese officials, with talks touching on bilateral relations between both countries.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Aoun: Flaws exist in executive authority practices outside the Law!
 

Tue 14/02/2012 21:21

NNA - 4/2/2012 - General Michel Aoun stressed on the need for the people of rule to commit to their prerogatives. He reminded, herein, that Prime Minister, Najib Meqati's decision to suspend the Cabinet sessions was not due to the fact that Labor Minister, Charbel Nahhas, refused to sign the employees' transportation entitlement decree but due to the appointments' issue! Aoun added that the problem lies not in the aforementioned decree but in the practice of authority itself. In this context, he stressed that there shall be no return to the Council of Ministers as long as whoever practices executive authority in the country remains underdetermined. "The Prime Minister ought to be a role model for respecting the Laws and Constitution," stated Aoun.
Aoun's words came following the weekly meeting by the "Change and Reform" parliamentary Bloc Tuesday. Aoun declared the formation of a committee to come forward with a project law proposal regarding the Council of Ministers' internal order. He stressed on the importance of organized work by State institutions in accordance with stipulated laws and the Lebanese Constitution. In this framework, he listed a number of Constitutional violations that have occurred in the recent period.
On the other hand, and responding to newsmen's questions over the February 14 commemoration of Martyr PM Rafic Hariri, Aoun prayed for his soul to rest in peace. "The Lebanese people have considered him a martyr of the nation while his family still considers him a martyr of the family," Aoun noted, adding that his martyrdom has been exploited in the elections.
Aoun stated that at this stage, the country is in real need for men who fill their positions well and who rise up to their responsibilities the way they are supposed to; without escaping their duties while chasing after their personal benefits.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Albanian House Speaker winds-up her visit to Lebanon
 

Tue 14/02/2012 20:20

NNA - 14/2/2012 - Albanian House Speaker, Josephina Topali, left Beirut today along with her accompanying delegation, heading to Italy. The 3-day visit was a chance to confer with Lebanese officials over ways of boosting bilateral parliamentary cooperation between both countries.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Hariri: I take full responsibility for the past period!
 

Tue 14/02/2012 20:14

NNA - 14/2/2012 - In a televised word during the February 14th commemoration of Martyr Rafic Hariri's assassinaiton at "BIIEL" in Central Beirut, former Prime Minister, Saad Hariri, said it was not easy to give an address marking the occasion without standing before his late father's tomb. "I share the faithful in their prayers, for am greatly sad, and nothing makes-up for such grief but staying togehter on the path we have chosen 7 years ago for the sake of justice, liberty, sovereignty, indepdence, coexistence and national unity," said Hariri.
"We are no longer alone in our call for freedom and dignity, wherbey all Arab Spring revolutioners are demanding the same thing: human dignity and liberty," noted Hariri. He voiced solidarity herein with the Syrian people, while stressing determinaiton to prevent any Sunni-Shiite strife in Lebanon. "We are the movement of moderation, coexistence, participation and pluralism," said Hariri; adding that no reckless policies whatsoever will manage to take Lebanon back to the era of hegemony and domination!
Hariri called on Hezbollah to begin organizing its weapons and place them at the disposal of the State. He also implored Hezbollah's leadership to adopt a new approach in dealing with the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL), since any insistance on protecting the accused will not negate the indictments.
In details of former PM Hariri's delivered speech, he stated that:
"As much as I feel present in each and every one of you, I feel the sadness of speaking from abroad while addressing my family, my friends and beloved ones in all of Lebanon.
It is not easy from me at all to speak on this February 14th commemoration without standing in front of the tomb of my beloved father and his fellow martyrs, joining the others in prayer. I am really sad to the point of suffocation, and nothing compensates for this grief but the fact that we remain together on the path we have chosen seven years ago, for Lebanon, for justice, freedom, sovereignty, independence, democracy, coexistence and national unity. And what turns this grief into hope is seeing the model that we fought for seven years ago being achieved in many brotherly countries, that rose against dictators and corrupt unjust deadly regimes, demanding freedom, justice and democracy, from the dear Tunisia to wounded Syria, in what became the Arab Spring.
Yes, brothers and sisters, let us remember, be proud and raise our heads high. Yes, we as Lebanese, what have we done? What have you done after the assassination of Martyr Prime Minister Rafic Hariri, Martyr Basil Fuleihan and their companions seven years ago? You did not remain silent and surrendered, but went down to the squares, calling out with loud voices and bare chests: The people want. You said: "The people want sovereignty, independence, truth, justice, dignity and freedom. You achieved sovereignty and independence, and justice is hopefully on its way; we still have to achieve dignity and freedom.
But we are no longer alone in our request. Listen to what the Spring rebels say everywhere. Their first demand is the same: freedom and dignity, and their demand is human dignity. They say: We are people, we are humans. Their demand is freedom. They say: When did you enslave people while they were born free? Dignity comes from the right of people to live decently, to work without begging, to educate their children, to have health care and economic development. Dignity comes from freedom; freedom of belief, thought, expression, assembly and the freedom to run for election and to vote; freedom of production, creativity and work.
These were, and remain, our principles in March 14; these are the demands of the Arab spring everywhere; and most importantly: these are the values, ideas and proposals that the project of Martyr Prime Minister Rafik Hariri was founded upon and still embodies.
Today, brothers and sisters, we meet again in Lebanon with the model that we have launched seven years ago, with the Spring rebels everywhere and their demands for freedom and dignity; so that what is happening in the region will either lead us towards achieving the rest of our demands for freedom and dignity or towards discord, God forbid! And our responsibility, as Lebanese, and our responsibility in March 14 is to prevent discord in order to achieve freedom and dignity.
Speaking of responsibility, allow me to talk about my personal responsibility. First, I say that I take full responsibility for the previous phase in its bitter and sweet aspects; responsibility for making concessions, in some places, and refusing to make them, in other places; responsibility for accepting the Presidency of the Council of Ministers and responsibility for stepping out of the Presidency of the Council of Ministers. Today, I, Saad Rafik Hariri, bear before you the responsibility of expressing solidarity with the Syrian people and supporting their right to establish a democratic regime. I also announce before you my willingness to assume full responsibility in preventing discord between the Lebanese, in general, and to prevent Sunni-Shiite strife in Lebanon, in particular. This is a responsibility I have assumed in the past, and assume it again before you today.
Dear brothers and sisters, dear friends, after February 14, 2005, the blood of Martyr Prime Minister Rafik Hariri and his fellow martyrs triumphed over thirty years of oppression, domination and tyranny, and Lebanon entered a new political turning point due to two events that occurred concurrently: withdrawal of military and security forces of the Syrian regime from Lebanon, and declaration of the beginning of an international investigation and the establishment of the International Tribunal to investigate the crimes of political assassination.
Today, on February 14, 2012, the blood of Martyr Prime Minister Rafik Hariri and his fellow martyrs triumphs again, and Lebanon moves to a new political turning point, due to two major events: the Arab spring and the beginning of countdown for the one-party rule in Syria; as well as the spring of justice in Lebanon and the announcement of the indictments in the assassination of the Martyr Prime Minister and the trial in absentia of the accused.
Between those two stages, Lebanon has faced waves of large and small wars, infiltrations, control over political and security decision-making centers in the state, and attempts to disrupt the international tribunal and the course of justice. It seemed that Lebanon will again be the victim of a regional trap and reckless domestic policies, seeking to drag it back to the era of hegemony and domination, and working on besieging the gains achieved after March 14. That stopped at the borders of the Arab Spring, and specifically at the borders of the exceptional uprising of the Syrian people; and I will not be exaggerating at all today, if I confirm before you that all forms of reckless policies will not be able to take Lebanon back to the era of dependency and domination.
The great picture that the heroic Syrian people are drawing, will sooner or later, bring the real end of this era and its symbols. Hopefully the Syrian people will triumph, despite the horror of the massacres, and the Syrian regime will inevitably fall. We are living a moment of historic transition from one era to another. The establishment of a pluralistic democratic system in Syria will give a great immunity to the Lebanese democratic experience. The Lebanese, of different affiliations, should understand the deep dimensions of this transition, and of the historical intersection between the Lebanese democracy and the Syrian democracy.
The victory of the Syrian people, in the battle for democracy and national dignity, draws a straight and balanced line for bilateral relations between the two countries, and promotes them practically and effectively to the level of real privileged relations between two brotherly and neighboring countries; cooperating in the framework of the democracy twinning, not of the stronger one bullying the weaker one nor the larger one maltreating the smaller one. The Syrian National Council has reflected this approach. This is an occasion to confirm that our hands are extended to cooperation with the National Council, in which we see a hope for Syria in building a new democratic system.
Today, and because the Syrian Revolution will triumph inevitably, they are trying to scare the Lebanese of its implications. To the Christians in Lebanon, they say that their Sunnite brothers will feel a surplus of power coming from Syria and hence, will move toward extremism. To those we say: We are the movement of moderation, coexistence, participation and pluralism. We are the people of Ta�f, and full parity between Muslims and Christians in Lebanon ... whatever happens in Syria, we are the movement of freedom of belief and religious practice and freedom of thought and expression, and individual and public freedoms. We are the movement of independence, sovereignty and democracy. Whatever happens in Syria, we have launched the slogan of "Lebanon First" that remains before our eyes every day, in every moment and in every occasion, and not only every February 14 of each year.
To the Shiites in Lebanon, they say that the victory of the revolution in Syria will turn, in Lebanon, into a Sunnite attack against you to avenge the blood of Martyr Prime Minister Rafik Hariri and to seize your weapons. And we clearly say: We don't hold our Shiite brothers in Lebanon responsible for Rafik Hariri's blood. We consider his blood to be yours just as it is ours, and that of all the Lebanese people. Needless to say that we chose the path of justice and not revenge, and justice is moving towards identifying those responsible and holding them accountable; them alone without generalizing the responsibility to a group or sect.
We also say clearly: the weapons don't have a sectarian or religious identity. The reality in Lebanon is that there are partisan weapons, with a specific political identity, that make use of their geographical spread to protect the sectarian aspect of the weapons. We totally and fully reject and oppose this, and we believe that its continuation represents a great danger for partnership between the Lebanese people. We know that the Lebanese Shiite, like all other Lebanese, support Lebanon's sovereignty, independence, freedom and dignity, just as Syria's, and they support the democracy in Lebanon and in Syria. The Lebanese Shiites are a fundamental sect that is as equally important as all other sects in Lebanon. Together, we make Lebanon's destiny: through agreement and not confrontation, and through dialogue and not discord.
The communities in Lebanon are a spiritual and human expression of the essence of the message which our country represents. They do not belong to any party. The Shiites are not political properties of Hezbollah and Amal Movement, neither are the Sunnis political properties of the Future Movement, nor are the Christians political properties of any party. We, in Lebanon come together and are protected by one project: the State. Our project, and destiny, is the State, the State, the State.
The existence of weapons, whether personal, medium or heavy, in the hands of political parties proved that it totally contradicts the principles of the establishment of the State. It is a continuous source of discord. This fact doesn't need evidence because it is a reality which all Lebanese, regardless of their sects and regions, experienced over thirty years. The Lebanese people have discovered that all illegal weapons are a direct or veiled project to control part of the State's responsibilities. What is more dangerous is that it is a rejected model that may tempt others to follow it. The spread of the Palestinian weapons in the seventies of last century, especially in the South, the Southern suburbs and the Capital led Lebanon, and the State, into a great ordeal, and rendered a large part of the Lebanese in confrontation with the Palestinian factions. And the chaos of the militias turned the Lebanese Republic into an armed hell and launched a long series of wars between the brothers. And the chronic presence of the Syrian forces on the Lebanese territories, as a competitive partner for the Lebanese Army and legitimate institutions, contributed in organizing the armed chaos that spread military and security outposts at the expense of the State. The current reality of the spread of weapons is a renewed copy of all these experiences.
Israel is our enemy and a danger on us all that we should all face. Let us all defend our country and win within the confines of the Lebanese State. But when the weapons, under the pretext of fighting Israel, becomes a weapon to fight each other and eliminate the state, then it only serves Israel and no one but Israel. Frankly, we say that the State, to be a state, must have the monopoly of weapons because this means it has the monopoly of power, of preserving individual and national security, of adopting laws and applying them, of implementing justice. Distributing the monopoly of State power to groups condemns Lebanon to live in violence, and the state to wither. Thus, we reiterate the call to Hezbollah to start organizing its weapons to put them at the disposal of the State and spare Lebanon and all Lebanese the danger of violence, and spare the state the danger of collapsing. Let Hezbollah and all Lebanese work for the triumph of the State and for Lebanon to remain a pioneer among Arabs in the Arab spring.
The course of justice in the case of the assassination of Prime Minister Rafic Hariri and his companions has reached a point of no return. This course will definitely lead to uncover the perpetrators and the accused, and establish the rules that protect Lebanon from the series of political assassinations. The attempts to evade the course of international justice will be useless.
This should be understood by the Lebanese government and the official parties concerned with cooperating and coordinating with the Special Tribunal for Lebanon. Just as I emphasize the bonds of brotherhood that binds us with all the Lebanese, and from my position of responsibility towards the blood of the martyrs who gave their lives for Lebanon's freedom and independence, I call on Hezbollah's leadership to adopt a new approach in dealing with the Special Tribunal because insisting on protecting the accused will not cancel the indictments. Hezbollah's insistence on refusing to hand in the accused can generalize the accusation in the assassination of Rafik Hariri, and Hezbollah's leadership should not fall into this and turn the trial expected in a few months into a political, moral and national indictment.
The changes we are presently experiencing deserve a new reading of the situation and a new look towards the future, with an emphasis on the necessity of protecting Lebanon from sliding towards risks, and with the spirit of commitment to our democratic system. I am confident that I will soon be with you in Beirut. I am also confident that justice will prevail, that spring will blossom and that Lebanon will always be Arab, free, sovereign and independent and a pioneer in its message among nations.
On this day, I bow to the memory of my beloved father and address his soul just as I do every year. I tell him that the legacy of Rafik Hariri will continue, and that the line of defense of freedom, moderation and coexistence will remain, regardless of the risks and difficulties. I ask God Almighty to protect Lebanon, and to help the people of Syria, hoping to meet you soon in Lebanon".
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NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - National Council: We shall establish our civil state
 

Tue 14/02/2012 19:09

NNA - 14/2/2012 - March 14th General Secretariat Coordinator, Fares Saeid, read out a letter of tribute to the late PM Rafic Hariri by the Syrian National Council, during the commemoration event marking Martyr Hariri's assassination at Biel Tuesday evening.
"The Council views forcing the guardianship regime outside of Lebanon in the year 2005 as the first blow to said Syrian regime. The two sovereign, democratic states will be a support to us, to you and to Palestine," stated the Syrian Council letter.
"We rely on our people for victory and shall never return to the past. We rely on Arabs' support; and the Russians and Chinese shall not succeed in restoring the era of cold war, in a world run by the values of justice and liberty," the Council letter indicated. It also expressed the Council's solidarity to the "Cedars Revolution," and gratitude for its support to the Syrian revolution as well. "Our revolution is fighting with live flesh and is not in need of using your land in our combat against the dictatorship regime," stressed the Council letter.
The Syrian National Council accused Al-Asad regime of coming up with the "minorities" allegation; declaring herein that they shall establish their civil state. The letter added that the Syrian National Council looks forward to the Lebanese people's support to their revolution.
Furthermore, the Council's letter assured that the best relations shall exist between Lebanon and Syria based on respect, brotherhood and a mutual future for two people in two states. It also indicated that signed agreements during the guardianship period shall be revised; borders shall be demarked starting from Shebaa Farms; the Syrian-Lebanese Higher Council shall be negated and investigations shall be initiated into the missing Lebanese dossier.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Samir Geagea speaks at Biel on February 14
 

Tue 14/02/2012 18:12

NNA - 14/02/2012 - Lebanese Forces' Commander Samir Geagea, perceived that the Arab "ancien regime" is on the wane against the back-drop of a new dawning Arab Spring.

Gegaea added that the Arab peoples are settling accounts with their own despots. "Cowards can no more sleep in their beds", he referred to Assad and other Arab leaders.

The LF commander added that the curtain is falling down on them on this truly glorious day.

He told Saad Hariri that both would march together on board March 14 till final the victory is achieved. He paid tribute to Samir Kassir and hailed major Syrian cities in revolt. While saluting all bloodshed at Assad's hands here and inside Syria, Geagea exclaimed: down with Hezbollah so-called Resistance and Party of God's "Big No".

He minimized the meaning of Party Resistance saying Hezbollah's black-shirts were now targeting their own people. He called this party occupation. He found affinity between the Syrian and Lebanese causes of liberation saying the revolution would finally prevail. While urging the Arabs and the world to lend a helping hand to the Syrian people in their struggle against Assad, Geagea said a pluralistic Syrian society would provide a guarantee for a free independent Lebanon.

He credited Cardinal Sfeir with launching the Cedar Revolution and accused government ministers of competing amongst themselves on levels of corruption. He urged liar leaders on board the cabinet to leave today better then tomorrow.

He urged Hezbollah to stop acting in the mentality of black shirts rather than act as full partners.

Geagea declared that there is no future for illegal weapons and state-lets and added that the weird government is scandalously-clinically dead.

 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Hariri's 7th anniversary marked at Biel
 

Tue 14/02/2012 17:46

NNA - 14/02/2012 - March 14 celebrated the 7th anniversary of the assassination of Rafik Hariri in a massive car-bomb explosion which left scores of dead and injured.

Attending were most of March 14 leaders and allies including army and police top-brass.

Taking the word, Amine Gemayel of the Kataeb Party spoke about the triumph of the Arab Spring against the back-drop of the STL indictment. He said the occasion returns with the return of all martyrs of Lebanon and the Cedar Revolution. He added that all those who gave their lives in the course of the revolution await a verdict similar to that of Hariri's.
He expressed confidence that Justice could be done.

Gemayel cited major achievements by the Cedar Revolution namely the liberation of Lebanon from Syrian rule. He saluted Lebanese youth and women who made the revolution possible and drew parallels between the Lebanese and Arab uprisings.

He accused the Syrian regime of conspiring against Lebanon for 30 years just to create a state in its own image, but exclaimed that March 14 persisted and prevailed.

He spoke about a favorable free Arab-East which could be of practical advantage to Lebanon.

The Kataeb head hoped for the Arab revolution to flower and this is the true meaning of democracy and liberty.

Gemayel listed the suffering of the Lebanese due to what he termed as cross-border, gun-running and infiltrating of armed-men.

He invited new-Arab elites to engage in debate for our common future since in his words Arab regimes were against us here in Lebanon and they confronted their own people. He reiterated that the Arab revolution provides us with a future for building sovereignty, independence and nation-building.

The Kataeb Head also demanded the U.N. to resolve the question of gun-control in Lebanon.

He then opened fire on a negligent and corrupt government and announced that new life could only come about through liberty and state authority. The majority "represented in this room" , must come back to power "this is a time for Arabs and Lebanese to make their revolution for change" and announced that the present historical moment is that of dignity and pride.
Gemayyel's message to the Lebanese and the World is that they were the first to launch the civil revolution in the 21st century.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Mansour from Rabiyeh: Lebanon cannot sever ties with Syria
 

Tue 14/02/2012 14:44

NNA - 14/02/2012 Lebanon's policy of disassociation aims at self-preservation, as the country cannot abide by Arab League resolutions, according to Foreign Minister Adnan Mansour who addressed reporters shortly after a visit to MP Michel Aoun in Rabiyeh on Tuesday.

Mansour explained why Lebanon's best interest was in the policy of isolating itself from regional developments, particularly in Syria, a stance negated by March 14 Camp which refused to stand idle while onslaught of Syrians continued.

The Arab League called for an extraordinary meeting in Cairo to discuss the Syrian crisis, which opted for an immediate halt of political and economic relations with the regime of Bashar Assad. Mansour revealed that a statement acknowledging the Syrian National Council (SNC) as the official representative of the people was distributed upon gatherers and is scheduled be made official in Tunisia on the 24 of February. "This is very dangerous, and strays away from a political solution."

What Mansour deemed most perilous was an article asking for financial and moral support for the SNC. "We have to look to Lebanon's interest first and foremost...our Arab brethren understand Lebanon's reservations." Consequently, the Minister hoped that Lebanese factions would also understand the policy of disassociation to save Lebanon any residual violence that may spill over from Syria.

Domestically, the FM downplayed dispute within Cabinet, describing it as a mere divergence in viewpoints.
R.Z.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Retracing Hariri's last steps
 

Tue 14/02/2012 14:44

NNA - 14/02/2012 - Led by MP Bahiyya Hariri sister of former slain PM Rafiq Hariri, the whole Future Bloc and allies appeared today at noon at the L'Etoile coffee shop next to the parliament building where the late PM spent his last hour before his assassination near the St. George's hotel at 12:55 on the morning of February 2005.

Bahiyya Hariri and March 14 delegation members in a bid to retrace the PM's last minutes walked from L'Etoile to Hariri's tomb where they read the Fatiha Verse of the Koran and laid a memorial wreath. Delegation included: March 14 Deputies of the House, religious dignitaries, municipal heads, business and media magnates and members of the public at large.


 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Jumblatt's big question marks about Al-Qaeda in Syria?!
 

Tue 14/02/2012 14:17

NNA - 14/02/2012 - Druze Leader Waleed Jumblatt, raised a big question mark about an ill-timed appearance of Al-Qaeda on the Syrian scene.

Jumblatt and in a public statement today, stated that evoking Al-Qaeda phantoms is meant to confuse the Syrian Revolution by tarnishing its image by damaging its passive democratic pluralistic nature. The Key question is raised by the sudden appearance of Bin Laden's successor Ayman Zawahiry on TV and whether it is part of an intelligence-orchestrated act.

The PSP Leader questioned the ill-timed evoking of Al-Qaeda ghost in order to justify the ferocity of a Baathist regime determined on killing its own all-sacrificing heroic people.

Jmublatt concluded that evoking Al-Qaeda helps the regime as well as certain Lebanese groups in their claims that Ersal has effectively become a launching pad for staging anti-regime operations by Al-Qaeda and other Salafist groups.

He urged maximum vigilance and awareness in dealing with this tricky issue.

 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Arslan advocates return to cabinet sessions
 

Tue 14/02/2012 14:10

NNA - 14/02/2012 MP Talal Arslan blamed the President and Prime Minister for suspending cabinet sessions and obstructing governmental work, in a statement issued on Tuesday.

PM Najib Mikati halted cabinet work when Ministers loyal to MP Michel Aoun decided to walk out on a session due to administrative appointment disagreement. Mikati refused to reconvene with cabinet until ministers owned up to their work and agreed to be productive.

"It is not acceptable to suspend cabinet sessions, particularly at this decisive stage in the region," Arslan said.

He called for a return to dynamic and incessant governmental work. According to the statement, the security and socio-economic situations did not allow for this kind of stagnation. He asked all parties concerned in the dispute to get over their differences and put the country's best interest first.

R.Z.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Jumblatt, Plumbly convene in Beirut
 

Tue 14/02/2012 13:33

NNA - 14/02/2012 Progressive Socialist Party leader, MP Walid Jumblatt, met Tuesday with Representative of United Nations Secretary-General to the Lebanese Government, Derek Plumbly.

The two reportedly discussed latest political developments.

 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Rahhal accuses Labor Minister of blackmail, denounces illegal arms
 

Tue 14/02/2012 13:18

NNA - 14/02/2012 Future parliamentary bloc MP, Riad Rahhal, said Tuesday to Radio Free Lebanon that Minister of Labor, Charbel Nahhas, is blackmailing citizens by refusing to sign a decree which grants transportation fees to workers and employees, approved by Cabinet, adding that the main problem in Lebanon is presence of Hezbollah artillery.

"President Michel Sleiman and Prime Minister Najib Mikati should issue a decree comprising a substitution of ministerial portfolios, because the policy of blackmail should not last, otherwise governments will no longer work," he said.

The MP further stated that the main problem in this country was the presence of illegal weapons, questioning the benefit to be derived from national dialogue, if Hezbollah continued to refuse discussing its arms.

"The Resistance ended in 2006, following the July war; afterwards, it turned into a militia," he concluded.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - No portfolio substitutions - Abboud
 

Tue 14/02/2012 12:55

NNA - 14/02/2012 - Tourism Minister, Fadi Abboud, said Tuesday during a radio interview that the substitution of the portfolio of Labour Minister Charbel Nahhas is out of the question, noting that the general trend in this country is to avoid political escalation.

Cabinet has reached a deadlock leading to suspension of all sessions, after Ministers of the Free Patriotic Movement walked out on PM Najib Mikati due to a disagreement.
"Our political team believes that the government crisis was imposed," he said, adding that his party expects solutions to be proposed soon.

In response to a question about the possibility of holding Cabinet session to respond to the request of UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon to renew cooperation Protocol with the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, probing 2005 assassination of PM Rafik Hariri, Minister Abboud said that the issue did not require holding cabinet, since according to him, the issue rests with Ban Ki Moon.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Rahi returns from Cyprus
 

Tue 14/02/2012 12:44


NNA - 14/02/2012 Maronite Patriarch Beshara Rahi returned Tuesday to Beirut after a short visit to Cyprus, during which he held Saint Maroun mass for Maronites of the island.

R.Z.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Siniora writing to his brother Rafic
 

Tue 14/02/2012 12:40

NNA - 14/02/2012 Head of Future parliamentary Bloc Fouad Siniora marked the seventh anniversary of Rafic Hariri's assassination with a message of remembrance where he addressed him as "martyred brother."

Siniora wished Hariri was on his side to behold the unfolding Arab Spring. He added that Arab youth ignited a revolution reminiscent of the one in which he and Rafic partook during their boyhood. He brought to Rafic's attention sacrifices wrought by Syrian youth chanting "liberty-liberty" in the face of a regime only bent on exacting on them a military-security solution.

Siniora added that the Syrian people is thoroughly convinced now that the authority in power no longer represents them or reflects their aspirations; under the present circumstances, Siniora says "balloting boxes neither signify a majority neither a minority." Alone, the crackling of arms would determine the outcome of political equations.
The former P.M. vowed never to relinquish the country or its sons along with those he finds himself at loggerheads with. He concluded that no matter how large the gulf separating us might be, his Bloc would continue to seek common denominators in order to cross over and reach out for national accord.
G.G.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Hariri: Syrians will prevail, Hezbollah must discuss arms
 

Tue 14/02/2012 12:27

NNA - 14/02/2012 Former Prime Minister Saad Hariri asserted Monday, in a TV interview from Paris, his willingness to hold national dialogue if Hezbollah arms were to be discussed, adding that his return to Lebanon is imminent, as is the fall of the Syrian regime and rise of democracy in the region.

Hariri addressed the nation on the eve of memory of his father's assassination. Rafik Hariri was murdered on February 14, 2005. A Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) was formed and indicted four Hezbollah members. March 14 Camp planned a major rally in BIEL, Down Town Beirut, on Tuesday to commemorate the memory of the fallen martyrs of the Cedar Revolution, which ignited with Rafik Hariri's murder and culminated in expelling Syrian military out of Lebanon after many years of what was termed Syrian custodianship.

"I know that the issue of [Hezbollah's] weaponry is intricate, but one cannot say let's discuss a defense strategy without discussing arsenal. We all want to defend our country," he noted.

Hezbollah has adamantly refused to discuss the issue of its arms, maintaining that those weapons were meant to defend Lebanon against Israel. Although, at many occasions, the Party has turned its guns internally against other fellow Lebanese. On that note, Hariri conjured back to memory the 1996 April Understanding, sponsored by Rafik Hariri and backed by support of all Lebanese for the Resistance at that time. The Israeli-Lebanese Ceasefire Understanding also known as the April Understanding was an informal written agreement between Israel and Hezbollah, reached through the diplomatic efforts of Rafik Hariri and the US, which ended the 1996 military conflict between the two sides.

The former PM refused to allow the STL to morph into an attack on the Shiite sect. "I don't want to discuss the issue of the accused, but we can't point the finger at an entire sect," he added that those who killed his father "benefited regionally because Rafik was a major symbol of moderation and development." Nevertheless, he warned that justice will prevail and the murderers of his father will be punished in accordance with the law.

Hariri acknowledged that his life and the lives of every member of March 14 Camp was in danger. This, however, has not deterred him from being politically active. "Had it not been for my [skiing] accident [in the Alps], I would've been among my brethren in Beirut, but God willing I will be there soon," the former PM explained to his supporters. "Those trying to exile me from Lebanon have been paying the price so far, and those who tried to erase Rafik Hariri's project are ousting themselves from Syria."

On a regional level, Hariri assured that the Sunnis of Lebanon did not plan a union with those of Syria, in case a Sunni-led regime rose to power, asserting that no Lebanese would allow harm to befall his/her country. "Saad Hariri will continue the path of Rafik Hariri and Lebanon will always come first," he stressed.

Eleven months ago, the Syrian people took to the streets demanding freedom and dignity and the ousting of President Bashar Assad. The popular rallies were met with severe violent crackdown. "Nowadays, the regime's forces are killing the people and [army] defections happened in order to protect civilians," he said while pointing to a scheme by the regime to stir sectarian strife between Shiites and Sunnis in order to veil the truth of what was happening.

"The same thing that happened in Libya is happening now in Syria: there is a regime that is killing its own people and the killing must be stopped. This was my stand concerning Tunisia, Egypt and Libya and today regarding Syria." Hariri advised Syrian opposition to unite and speak with one voice.

The former PM strongly criticized the Russian administration for siding with the regime instead of the rightful people's demand of their basic rights. He advised Moscow to pay special attention to the people, who will ultimately prevail, and to the unified stance of major Arab countries.

"Today [Russia] has sided with the regime and it will regret its current stance in the future because the regime in Syria will change and democracy will come," Hariri said.
He also censured the Lebanese government over its self-disassociation policy which basically abandoned the Syrian people and claimed to be neutrally distant from regional events.

"Today, Lebanon is placing itself in the eye of the storm. With our self-disassociation policy, how would [the new administration in Syria] deal with us when the regime falls? Today there is an Arab consensus and Lebanon has rejected it." Hariri reminded current Lebanese officials that the Syrian people were far more important than a faltering regime. He demanded better treatment of Syrian refugees, in light of Syrian hospitality towards Lebanese fleeing Lebanon during July war of 2006 between Hezbollah and Israel.

Hariri turned to Hezbollah once more and stated that, "The real resistance is what the Syrian people are doing today, why are you defending the regime?"

 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Kataeb cautions from submerging Lebanon in Syrian crisis
 

Mon 13/02/2012 22:52

NNA - 13/02/2012 - Kataeb Political Bureau sounded the alarm on Monday over the grim clashes which rocked Tripoli city last week, warning form attempts at plunging the country in the mounting flames of the Syrian crisis.

Kataeb's caveat topped the party's discussions during its regular weekly meeting, chaired by leader Amine Gemayel, during which conferees also discussed latest developments on the Lebanese and Arab scenes.

"Clashes have revealed the magnitude of security chaos in the northern capital and the presence of dangerous weapons," conferees agreed, warning from importing the Syrian crisis into Lebanon.

"All this confirms the views of Kataeb party which believes that despite the need to respect the rights of people demanding freedom, it is [our] duty to prevent any involvement of our country in the internal Syrian crisis," a statement by Kataeb read.

While questioning the role of the security forces, whose mission at this critical time is to prevent smuggling illegal weapons, Kataeb Political Bureau called on the government to hold responsibility and beware of the delicacy of this period. Kataeb also urged Arab countries and the United Nations to work hand-in-hand "to put an end to Syria's bloodshed."

At the domestic level, conferees asserted that the inter-cabinet standoff was no surprise, accusing the cabinet of lacking interests in the country's economic and security situation, not to mention the dire living conditions of citizens. Kataeb, herein, recalled its previous warnings against "the impact of such a government on Lebanon."

They also denounced attacks against President Michel Sleiman and the suspension of cabinet sessions.

"A quick surgical procedure is now required to bring seriousness back to the Lebanese political life, especially in the shadow of the delicate circumstances Lebanon and the region endure."

On the eve of February 14, the 7th commemoration of late Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, Kataeb called on all the Lebanese to beware the high significance of this event "which sparked the Cedars Revolution and launched a movement of freedom and liberation, not only in Lebanon, but throughout the region."
R.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Mikati will not back up: Daouk
 

Mon 13/02/2012 22:05

NNA - 13/02/2012 - Information Minister Walid Daouk said on Monday that Prime Minister Najib Mikati bears no intention to back out from his current position in view of the governmental crisis which erupted two weeks ago, when Mikati ended a Cabinet session over differences with Aoun's minister Jibran Bassil on civil service appointments.

"He [the Prime Minister] is only implementing the constitution," Daouk argued. "According to me, we are all asked to set governmental work apart from victories, whether they are real or illusionary. We should all abandon this sort of personalism," he told MTV in response to a question on the "Reform and Change" bloc Leader Deputy General Michel Aoun most recent stances slamming the Prime Minister.

Mikati, who decided to suspend all sessions until the government's cohesiveness is restored, said his decision derived from his sense of national responsibility, reiterating that he did not mix personal matters with politics

"We have gotten used to the methods of General Aoun. We will try to resolve the matter... taking into consideration the nation's higher interests," Daouk vowed.
R.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Mikati, Albanian Speaker promote amplified diplomatic exchange
 

Mon 13/02/2012 21:23

NNA - 13/02/2012 - The Albanian House Speaker on Monday winded up her first trip to Lebanon with a visit to Prime Minister Najib Mikati at the Grand Serail, where the pair saw eye-to-eye over the importance of augmenting diplomatic relations between both countries.

Albania's Jozefina Topalli, who met Mikati with an accompanying Parliamentary delegation, said discussions with the PM featured high on bilateral relations, as well as on means of beefing up Lebanese-Albanian relations.

"We hope PM Mikati will visit Albania within the coming few months, upon the invitation of Albanian Prime Minister, Saleh Brisha, to discuss the signature of a number of important agreements," Topalli said, mentioning in specific an joint agreement by both countries' foreign ministries.

The pair also engaged in means of widening Lebanese-Romanian diplomatic and political exchange, as well as means of cooperating at the investments level.

Earlier during the day, House Speaker Nabih Berri met with his Albanian counterpart with talks featuring high on legislative works and parliamentary scrutiny.

Topalli also had her share of talks with President Michel Sleiman over the means to boost bilateral ties in all fields.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Jumblatt denies sectarian links to Syrian crisis, says Alawites not spared
 

Mon 13/02/2012 20:49

NNA - 13/02/2012 - Progressive Socialist Party (PSP) Leader, Walid Jumblatt, urged prudence on Monday from any scenario saying the Syrian crisis was the by-product of sectarian strife.

In his statement accorded to Al-Anbaa weekly, Jumblatt capitalized on Syria's 11 months of unrest, fearing its repercussions on Lebanon. Marking the commemoration of Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, Jumlatt also paid tribute to Lebanon's late martyr.

"The Syrian regime did not spare Alawites the taste of its oppression," Jumblatt said, indicating that hundreds of Alawites were being held in Syrian penitentiaries, just like other Syrians of different sectarian belongings.

The Member of Parliament ruled out any links of the Syrian crisis to sectarian threads. He affirmed that it was the offshoot of the Syrian people's legitimate demands of freedom and democracy.

Turning to the Lebanse scene with Tripoli's turmoil winding down, Jumblatt warned from attempts at flaring up a similar clash any time in the near future.

"We should make sure to spare Tripoli the ramifications of sectarian tension," he said, accusing mercenaries of being behind the clashes that rocked Jabal Mohsen and Bab Al-Tebeneh over the last couple of days.

"Mercenaries have no religion and no color. They are more than willing to smash up the security situation without calculating the consequences," said Jumblatt.

Moreover, he expressed wonder at Lebanon's official stance to dissociate itself from a recently drafted Arab League statement calling on the UN Security Council to create a joint peacekeeping force for Syria, in a latest effort by the regional group to end the 11-month-old crisis.

"The purpose [of the AL statement] is to lift oppression and halt the carnage wrought on the Syrian people," Jumblatt said.

"Why run away from the political, humanitarian, and moral responsibility in supporting the people of Syria," Jumblatt wondered.

The new AL effort was spelled out in a resolution adopted by League foreign ministers meeting in Cairo on Sunday. However, Syria immediately rejected the idea.

On the eve of February 14, marking the 7th commemoration of Late Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, Jumblatt heaped praise on the accomplishments of the late PM, saying he had served Lebanon away from personal and sectarian agendas.

"The PSP was the first to demand the establishment of an international tribunal to probe the assassination of Hariri," he reminded. Jumblatt also asked Lebanese politicians to face this "de facto" tribunal, away from the media.
R.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Sleiman tackles developments with Chehayeb, Boustani
 

Mon 13/02/2012 18:48

NNA - 13/02/2012 - Most recent developments featured high Monday on talks between President of the Republic, Michel Sleiman, and MP, Akram Chehayeb, who visited him at Baabda Palace.

The President held similar talks with former Minister Naji Boustani, and later met with American business man of Lebanese decent, Ray Irani.

Irani, "Occidental Petroleum" Corp's chairman and chief executive, briefed Sleiman on the company's achievements worldwide. He also expressed a keen intent on supporting his motherland in its oil exploration mission.
R.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved





 

Politics - Janjanian: "Syrian spring" capable of toppling current government
 

Mon 13/02/2012 18:46

NNA - 13/02/2012 - Deputy Shant Janjanian said the "Syrian Spring" would be capable of toppling Mikati-led cabinet and turning back the original person to his natural place for leading the country.

Janjanian's words came Monday in the context of a meeting held with March 14 Forces youth.

Janjanian clarified that March 14 had been well committed to the democratic mode of performance to put terms to the current "Black Shirts" government.

The deputy affirmed that March 14's present role as opposition to present cabinet became far stronger than its former role in authority. He assured the youth of the Cedars Revolution that their activity was under the control of honest hands to accomplish the patriotic terms of sovereignty, liberty and independence.

A.M./P.BC.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Major General Bartlett Visits Lebanon
 

Mon 13/02/2012 18:27

NNA - 13/2/2012 - U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) Director of Exercises and Training Major General R. Benjamin Bartlett visited Lebanon today and met with Lebanese Armed Forces Commander General Jean Kahwagi and other senior military officials to discuss bilateral military cooperation, a statement by the US embassy in Beirut said on Monday.

"In his meetings, General Bartlett emphasized the strong and sustained military cooperation between the two countries as well as Lebanon's initiatives to implement its obligations under United Nations Security Council Resolutions 1559 and 1701," the statement read.

It added that General Bartlett renewed the United States' commitment to a stable, sovereign and independent Lebanon. He underscored U.S. CENTCOM's support in strengthening the capacity of the Lebanese Armed Forces, recognizing its importance in serving as Lebanon's sole legitimate defense force to secure Lebanon's borders and defend the sovereignty and independence of the state.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved








 

Politics - Rahi: Maronites believe in dialogue to solve disputes
 

Mon 13/02/2012 18:07

NNA - 13/02/2012 - Maronite Patriarch Bechara Rahi said that Maronites did not believe in violence as means to solve disputes among people but in dialogue.

Rahi's stance came on Monday in the context of his pastoral tour in Cyprus where he visited Larnaca and Nicosia.

Rahi added that the Church would not cease to support the return of Maronite Cypriots to their villages in Lebanon.

A.M./P.BC.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved




 

Politics - Charbel launches menu for archiving refugees' documents
 

Mon 13/02/2012 17:18

NNA - 13/02/2012 - Interior and Municipalities Minister launched new menu for archiving the documents and records for Palestinian refugees, under title "Palestinians and the Directorate General for Political Affairs and Refugees."

The launching event came Monday in the context of a press conference held by Charbel at his office.

The menu aims to facilitate all formalities related to the personal status of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon and to ameliorate and support the livelihood conditions of refugees.

UNRWA director in Lebanon, Salvatore Lombardo; Lebanese Palestinian Dialogue Committee head, Abdul Majid Qassir; and others participated in the event.
A.M./P.BC.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved






 

Politics - Khoury meets with Iraqi delegation
 

Mon 13/02/2012 17:18

NNA - 13/02/2012 - Environment Minister Nazem Khoury received on Monday at the Green Hall in the Ministry an Iraqi delegation comprised of representatives of parliamentarians, ministers, and the civil society.

Interlocutors reviewed with the Minister the role of civil associations in Lebanon and ways of benefiting from the civil society's experience in the country.

Talks also focused on partnership between civil associations and the government on one hand, and between the associations and the parliament on the other.

P.BC.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Araji calls to deploy checkpoints along Chtoura-Masnaa highway
 

Mon 13/02/2012 17:15

NNA - 13/2/2012 - Member of Parliament Assem Araji on Monday called upon security and military forces to deploy more checkpoints and conduct patrols along the highway from Chtoura to Masnaa, in an effort to shirk abduction operations in said prefecture.

Araji had visited last week Minister of Interior and Municipalities, Marwan Charbel, to whom he explained the sensibility of the security situation in the aforementioned area.

Charbel, for his part, has vowed to increase patrols and fix security checkpoints between along Chtoura-Bar Elais-Masnaa road.

R.A.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved





 

Politics - Wadih Khazen from Mufti Qabbani's: unity, dialogue necessary amidst region's situation
 

Mon 13/02/2012 17:13

NNA - 13/02/2012 - Former Minister Wadih Khazen highlighted the necessity of enhancing national unity and resorting to dialogue amidst the present situation on the regional level.

Head of the Maronite General Council Wadih Khazen's stance came on Monday in the context of his visit to Lebanon's Mufti Muhammad Rachid Qabbani at Dar Fatwa.

Khazen referred to a sort of tension in the heart of citizens that could unfortunately lead to a bad condition at Lebanon's domestic arena. "National unity is the valve of safety to prevent any probable threats."

Khazen, accordingly, called for bolstering national unity and dialogue and resuming governmental sessions so as to look into daily life matters of citizens.

Separately, the Mufti received Head of Dialogue Party Fouad Makhzoumi and discussed with him the general situation.

A.M./P.BC.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved









 

Politics - Mansour returns from Cairo, sees Arab League decisions dangerous
 

Mon 13/02/2012 16:36

NNA - 13/2/2012 - Foreign Minister Adnan Mansour returned Monday from Cairo, where he had been for an Arab League meeting to skim through the 11-month crisis in Syria.

Speaking from Beirut International Airport, the Minister said yesterdays' decisions were taking a dangerous term as to Syria and the entire region.

He explained that the danger resided in the Arab League's call to cut off all diplomatic ties with Syria, tighten sanctions, form a UN joint peacekeeping force, support the Syrian opposition and provide it with all kinds of material and political aid.

"This aid mirrors many perspectives which might be military," he said, adding "there are figures from the opposition in Lebanon (...) this implicates Lebanon in complicated and hazardous matters."

The Minister, who expressed reservations against the League's decisions yesterday along with his Algerian counterpart, also lambasted the decision to acknowledge the Syrian National Council (SNC) as the representative of the Syrian people.

"I have asked yesterday, before they distributed the SNC-related decision, if they honestly sought to topple the regime in Syria (...) if there was no intention to do so, then the solution must be political," he said, maintaining that dialogue is the sole means for Syria to exit crisis.

"But the acknowledgement of SNC would plunge Syria into the unknown and put stability and security in the region at stake," he corroborated.


R.A.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved
















 

Politics - Sleiman sees dialogue necessary for national interest
 

Mon 13/02/2012 15:55

NNA - 13/2/2012 - President of the Republic, Michel Sleiman, relayed hope that February 14 commemoration would be an occasion to skim through the current situation in the country and that the painful anniversary of Rafik Hariri's martyrdom would bring to mind the importance of national unity.

Accordingly, the President shone light on the necessity of national dialogue as the sole means to achieve the nation's higher interest.

Sleiman met Monday at Baabda palace with House Speaker of Albania, Josephina Topalli, over the means to boost bilateral ties in all fields.

He also met with Prime Minister Najib Mikati over an array of most recent political developments and the outcomes of the Premier's recent visit to France.

Head of Kataeb Party, former President Amine Gemayel, had also been to Baabda palace today.

The pair reportedly engaged in latest political up-to-dates in Lebanon and the broader Arab region.

Sleiman later followed up on the security situation in Tripoli with Minister of Interior and Municipalities, Marwan Charbel.

Ninette Kelly from UNHRC also visited Sleiman today and tackled with him the Commission's program on refugees.

Sleiman lastly met with Egyptian ambassador to Lebanon, Mohammad Tawfiq, with talks mainly touching on gas dragging from Egypt and bilateral relations between both countries.


R.A.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


















 

Politics - Berri meets Albanian counterpart over legislative works
 

Mon 13/02/2012 15:31

NNA - 03/02/2012 - House Speaker Nabih Berri met on Monday at his residence in Ain Tineh with his Albanian counterpart Josephina Topalli. Talks reportedly featured high upon legislative works and parliamentarian monitoring.

Berri underscored the necessity of enhancing bilateral ties between Albania and Lebanon, notably via the exchanging investments and holding agreements in this concern.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved
 



 

Politics - Ibrahim, Canadian Ambassador meet
 

Mon 13/02/2012 15:26

NNA - 13/02/2012 - General Security Director, Brigadier Abbas Ibrahim, met over the situation of the Canadian Diaspora in Lebanon with Canadian Ambassador, Hilary Childs- Adams, who visited him on Monday at his office.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Mikati: Lebanon not positioned to conspire against any Arab country
 

Mon 13/02/2012 15:07

NNA - 03/02/2012 - Prime Minister Najib Mikati said he, as a premier, has not yet been informed of the presence of Free Syrian Army bases in Lebanon, affirming that he would not allow Lebanon to be a passage of conspiracy against any Arab country.
Mikati's stance came Monday in the context of an interview on LBCI channel.

Asked about the non-confidence between him and some ministers, Mikati said he felt that some ministers have abolished their estimation for the Constitution's stand when they deemed him [Mikati] no more than a minister of primary rank. "Doesn't that contradict the Taef Accord?" Mikati wondered.

The Premier explained that if any side wanted to interpret the Constitution within his own taste, matters could not be rectified.

Mikati voiced encouragement for President Michel Sleiman's call for national dialogue among Lebanese politicians.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved








 

Politics - Khalil bound to Tehran
 

Mon 13/02/2012 14:27

NNA - 13/2/2012 Health Minister Hassan Khalil left Beirut today and headed to Tehran, Iran upon an invitation of his counterpart.

Both men are scheduled to discuss cooperation health sector.


L.W.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Maalouf: We ought to defend presidential posts
 

Mon 13/02/2012 14:21

NNA - 13/2/2012 MP Joseph Maalouf deemed it necessary to preserve presidential posts in the Lebanese constitution as it is important to preserve country's institutions.

Representing Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea in an event the party organized on the occasion of Valentine's Day, Maalouf denounced repetitive security incidents on Lebanese grounds especially in Tripoli.

He then called on security forces and the Lebanese army to be unyielding and disarm people in respect to the national dialogue table.


L.W.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Moussawi, Plumbly tackle regional, domestic developments
 

Mon 13/02/2012 14:00

NNA - 13/2/2012 Hezbollah international relations representative Ammar Moussawi tackled Monday the most recent regional and domestic developments with the UN special coordinator for Lebanon Dereck Plumbly.

Both men also went over the 1701 implementation report the UN Secretary General will be raising.

"It is of everyone's responsibility to safeguard internal stability," Moussawi noted and stressed the importance of the Lebanese army's role to control northern borders so as to prevent weapons' smuggling attempts.


L.W.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Sleiman, Mikati discuss developments
 

Mon 13/02/2012 13:15

NNA - 13/2/2012 Lebanese President is currently meeting with Prime Minister Najib Mikati at Baabda with talks featuring high on most recent up-to-dates.

 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Hariri press office rebuts Al-Akhbar article
 

Mon 13/02/2012 13:00

NNA - 13/2/2012 The Pro-Hezbollah "Al Akhbar" newspaper published today a news story entitled "The King saves Hariri: a donation of two billion dollars", that enclosed a series of lies and fabrications about Former Prime Minister Saad Hariri, and the kingdom of Saudi Arabia and its leadership.
The Press Office would like to stress that the news -its title and details- is unfounded and false. It would also like to note that it understands the media and political confusion in which "Hezbollah" has fallen after its Secretary General publically confirmed that it has been receiving funding from Iran since the early eighties.
The Press Office also considers that it was not necessary to try and hide this confusion by launching fabrications and lies that the Lebanese and Arabs are fed up with.

Press Office of Former Prime Minister Saad Hariri

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Houry: Arab gathering outcome acceptable
 

Mon 13/02/2012 12:55

NNA - 13/2/2012 MP Ammar Houry Monday said Arab Ministers Gathering's outcome was the minimum acceptable to depend on for the Syrian people protection especially now that choices have become limited with the agression persistence.

Future bloc member criticized Lebanese Foreign Affairs Minister's shameful stance during the meeting when Lebanon evaded the gathering and took side with the crime against the victim.

Speaking for Al-Sharek radio on the occasion of Rafic Hariri assassination, the MP said Lebanon's stance has become uncertain for Premier Mikati, during his visit to France, clearly explained Lebanon's disassociation policy yet, yesterday's decision was biased to the Syrian regime, against Arab Ministers' position.

"System's triumph over the people shall not work for people who are calling for their freedom and freedom cannot be subdued," he remarked.

Pertaining to the Syrian situation's repercussions on Tripoli incidents, Houry said weapons inside Lebanon aim at lessening pressure on Syrian regime.
"We, March 14 forces, will not be bored of calling for disarmament," he noted.



L.W.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved















 

Politics - Nawaf Moussawi backs demands of Change and Reform bloc
 

Mon 13/02/2012 12:52

NNA - 13/2/2012 - Loyalty to the Resistance parliamentary bloc member Nawaf al Mousawwi voiced his support to the demands of the Change and Reform bloc in the Cabinet.

"It is the right of the Change and Reform bloc to expect its allies in the government to stand by its side," Moussawi said in a political gathering in Tyre.

He added that MP Michel Aou's bloc is facing galactic battle against it in order to weaken it.

The MP blasted former Prime Minister Fouad Siniora for saying that the resistance and its weapons have no legitimacy.

"This man (Siniora) is not qualified to offer us legitimacy because when he was in office he did not respect the constitution and has violated the national charter," Moussawi stressed.

He reiterated that all successive governments have recognized the legitimacy of the resistance in the ministerial statements and have accordingly won the support of the parliament.

"In addition to the ministerial statements, the resistance has wide support among the Lebanese people according to all surveys."

The MP commented on the uprisings that swept most of the Arab countries.

"These revolutions must have unified speeches and they should be above all remove the oppressive and tyrannical regimes that are supported by the United States. These revolutions should also back the resistance and engage in modernization of the Arab countries."

The MP slammed some of the Arab countries which have failed to respond strongly to the attempts by Israel to blemish the Islamic holy sites in occupied Palestine.

O.H

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Saadeh: Government adopts ostrich policy
 

Mon 13/02/2012 11:21

NNA - 13/2/2012 - MP Samer Saadeh Monday said government is adopting the "ostrich policy" for it fails to acknowledge that a real problem exists mainly regarding Tripoli security incidents.

MP Saadeh told Voice of Lebanon- Freedom and Dignity- radio that if the government does not rule with an iron hand and give orders for a military intervention, conflict in Syria will be transferred into Lebanon.

The MP expressed fears from having a explosive situation in Lebanon so as to take the attention away from Syria.

-L.W.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Zahraman: Weapons in street increase tension
 

Mon 13/02/2012 09:53

NNA - 13/2/2012 - Deputy Khaled Zahraman stressed that weapons in the street increase tension, particularly amid the Syrian crisis.

The MP called on Hizbullah and March 14 to lift immunity on any one who disrupts security.

"Let the army disarm all citizens on the entire Lebanese territories", the MP stressed on Monday to "Voice of Lebanon".

The MP confirmed necessity to disarm Tripoli because any security disruption might paralyze the city.

A.A.M

NNA 2012 All rights reserved







 

Politics - Nicolas Nahhas: No problem in toppling Cabinet if Labor Minister terminated
 

Mon 13/02/2012 09:14

NNA - 13/2/2012 - Economy and Trade Minister Nicolas Nahhas told Voice of Lebanon that there won't be a problem in toppling the government as MP Michel Aoun has threatened if Labor Minister Charbel Nahhas was dismissed from office.

"No minister is allowed to defy the Cabinet's decision because this issue is essential and important and must be implemented from now on by all ministries," Nahhas said.

He reminded that the parliament voted unanimously in 2000 on a proposal that stipulates that the minister's only role is to announce the decree and not to offer a legal interpretation of it.

Nahhas stressed that no one has the right to interpret the law or decree in accordance to his understanding.

"Prime Minister Najib Mikati suspended the Cabinet sessions because he is convinced that the ministers should work according to the constitution and not for a political objective," the minister explained.

Nahhas believes that the prime minister will resume the Cabinet session after he returns from his visit.

O.H

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Abu Faour heads to Saudi Arabia
 

Sun 12/02/2012 22:56
NNA - 12/2/2012 - Social Affairs Minister, Wael Abu Faour, left Beirut Sunday evening, heading to the Saudi Kingdom.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Al-Rai pursues his Cyprus parish visit
 

Sun 12/02/2012 22:53

NNA - 12/2/2012 - Maronite Patriarch Bshara Butros Al-Rai pursued his parish visit to Cyprus Sunday, whereby he patronized the cornerstone laying of "Our Lady" Church's new building situated on the hilltop of the town of Markine. The new Church building is funded by the Cyprus government in a gesture to the Maronite group in the aforementioned town. A number of prominent political figures from the Cypriot Parliament, towns' mayors and a crowd of believers gathered to mark the event and welcome the Patriarch's visit.
Al-Rai gave a word of blessing to the Church project and to the towns' men and officials, thanking them for their warm welcome.
Al-Rai then headed to the town of Kochkay, where he visited "Saint Aya Marina's" Church. Al-Rai gave a word of encouragement to the towns' people who gathered to welcome him, and share with him their worries about their lands. The Patriarch reassured believers gathering in "Aya Marina's Church" that they shall be returning to their lands eventually, since every emergency has its ending and nothing is meant to stay the same forever, he noted. "What is of today cannot be accepted by nature, and there will come a day when it shall end," Al-Rai explained.
Al-Rai praised the efforts exerted by the towns' people to preserve their roots, existence and unity, while raising prayers to the Lord Almighty to bless them with the chance to return to their lands.
"We, along with Saint Marina, await the appearance of justice and peace which shall break anything that stands in the way of uniting the Island," concluded Al-Rai.
Following his prayers at Saint Marina's Church, Al-Rai headed to Prophet Elijah's Monastery, where a welcoming reception was held in his honor.
Al-Rai and his accompanying delegation also visited Anatopoly, where he headed a mass service at Saint Maroun's Church.
Furthermore, Al-Rai took part in a youth event Sunday evening and a photo exhibition by the Maronite villages entitled, "Heritage Tunes and Colors" organized at Saint Maroun's School in Anatopoly.
Al-Rai's tour was concluded by attending a dinner banquet given in his honor by Maronites' Representative at the Cypriot Parliament, Antonios Haji Rousso.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Mansour: Decision to acknowledge "National Council" shall plunge Syria into a dark tunnel!
 

Sun 12/02/2012 22:01

NNA - 12/2/2012 - Foreign Affairs and Expatriates Minister, Adnan Mansour, gave a word before the Arab Foreign Ministers' Conference held in Cairo Sunday, which was devoted to looking into the Syrian situation. Mansour stated that the Syrian crisis has been a source of pain to all Lebanese, whereby they have been against violence and killing in their brotherly neighboring country ever since it began. "Dialogue is the sole means to solving the crisis, and we in Lebanon are well aware of the value of dialogue since we have known an internal war for several years, of which we have suffered the worst circumstances; and at the end of which we were faced with nothing but dialogue as our way out," he explained.
Mansour posed the question before his Arab fellow conferees of what exactly is requested of Syria: "Is it actually a change of regime that is sought after or a political solution to the crisis there?" asked Mansour; adding that if a political solution were aspired for, then would one side in Syria be supported on account of the other? Mansour considered that the Arab issued decision shall tighten economic sanctions on Syria; thus, questioning herein if such sections shall be of any benefit or instead, shall reflect negatively on the Syrian people themselves? "The issued decision also refers to political and financial support to the opposition; hence, would such support bring stability to Syria?" asked Mansour.
Mansour went on to warn against any outside interference in internal Syrian affairs, since that would only cause "chaos and destruction," he noted. "If the Arab League, which represents 22 Arab states, failed to rely on itself in solving the Syrian crisis, then how can it rely international sides and delegate the solution-finding to them?" implied Mansour.
Over the project law to acknowledge the "Syrian National Council" as a representative of the Syrian people, which is to be declared in Tunisia, Mansour considered such a decision as extremely critical. He warned that if such a decision were to be adopted and implemented, then that would plunge Syria into a dark tunnel! "We as an Arab League shall bear a historical responsibility as a result of said decision, which shall shake stability in Syria and the region!" warned Mansour.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Khalil: Lebanese ought to support the Army in its measures along the borders
 

Sun 12/02/2012 19:54

NNA - 12/2/2012 - Public Health Minister, Ali Hasan Khalil, referred to the incidents occurring in the North region, considering this an occasion to address a call to all wise men in the country to rise up to their responsibilities. He called for avoiding any tampering with the country's security stability, which has been the guarantee for safeguarding the country from the influence of ongoing events in the surrounding region throughout the past period. In this context, he stressed the need to support the Lebanese Army in its adopted measures along the borders, so as not to render Lebanon a "passage-way" for meddling in Syrian affairs. "This, in addition to allowing the Lebanese Army the chance to bear its responsibilities in securing safety and stability in Lebanon, as a whole," Khalil added.
Khalil also highlighted the importance of dialogue and communication between all Lebanese sides, which would allow for coming up with solutions to all pending problems and dossiers.
Minister Khalil's words came during the reconciliation gathering arranged between people of Hasbaya and Kfakila-Marj'Ayoun in South Lebanon, patronized by State Minister Marwan Kheireddine Sunday.
Deputies Nawwaf Moussawi and Kassem Hashem also took part in the gathering. In a word by Moussawi, he touched on the need for a quick solution to the situation inside the Council of Ministers on the basis of dialogue. He called for working together for the sake of overcoming all differences and widening the chance for agreement and consensus.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Kabbani: Marytr Hariri's blood shall build a bright tomorrow for Lebanon and the Arab nation
 

Sun 12/02/2012 19:20

NNA - 12/2/2012 - In a statement by MP Mohamad Kabbani on the eve of Martyr Rafic Hariri's assassination commemoration, he referred to the huge emptiness left behind by such a "giant of Lebanon and the Arabs!"
"Martyr Hariri's national roots and attachment to Lebanon as a land, people and institutions, is highly missed in current times of separation, contradiction and sectarian bias," said Kabbani. He also referred to the late PM Hariri's development and construction path, which is also highly missed during the current phase of those who are attempting to destroy what has been built and spreading corruption.
"The democratic state project for which the late Hariri died is confronting the plans of sects in conflict," Kabbani noted.
On the eve of the 7th commemoration of his assassination, Kabbani considered that Martyr Rafic Hariri's blood shall pave the way for a brighter tomorrow for Lebanon and the whole Arab nation.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Meqati returns to Beirut
 

Sun 12/02/2012 18:57

NNA - 12/2/2012 - Prime Minister, Najib Meqati, returned to Beirut Sunday evening, winding-up a 2-day official visit to France.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Mufti Shaar, Scholars denounce fighting in Tripoli and Syria
 

Sun 12/02/2012 16:03

NNA - 12/02/2012 Mufti of Tripoli and the North called upon religious scholars of the region to convene at Dar Fatwa Sunday whereby they denounced in a statement violence in Syria, and demanded state control over Tripoli.

A violent two-day clash, starting Friday, between northern localities of Bab Tabbaneh and Jabal Mohssen culminated in 3 dead and 23 wounded. The attack stopped after heavy mobilization by the army and a truce being reached between both rivals.

"We call upon all politicians to lift the cover off those disturbing the peace." The statement asserted that at the people of Tripoli, with their various sects and denominations, are the offspring of one city and make up its fabric.

Commenting on the uprising in Syria demanding ousting of the regime, the gatherers asked the Lebanese state to respect international conventions regarding care and protection of Syrian refugees.

"We demand the international community in general and the Arab and Muslim worlds in particular take responsibility towards protecting the Syrian people."

R.Z.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Qobeissy: Why connect Lebanon to regional problems?
 

Sun 12/02/2012 15:26

NNA - 12/02/2012 A funeral ceremony in southern village of Aaramta Sunday was the podium for MP Hani Qobeissy who denounced those attempting to link the country to events in the region, advising to best preserve Lebanon's policy of isolation instead.

Uprising in neighboring Syria demanding ousting of President Bashar Assad spurred an array of different reactions in Lebanon, with allies of the Syrian regime describing it as an international ploy against resistant Syria, while others standing by Syrian people's rightful demand for freedom and reform.

"Any sectarian charged rhetoric we hear these days is irresponsible," said the Development and Liberation Bloc MP.

"They want to attach the fate of Lebanon to the fate of other countries in the region."

Qobeissy considered the official stance of the administration, to isolate and separate itself from Syrian developments, a wise choice.

R.Z.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Pro-Asads Demonstrate in Ramlet al-Bayda Today
 

Sun 12/02/2012 15:22

NNA - 12/02/2012 - A group of pro-Asad demonstrators took to the street in support of the Chinese veto at the U.N. Security Council to bloc further sanctions against the regime.

They presented the Chinese ambassador with a petition expressing appreciation and condemning unfavorable posturing by the Arab/International communities.

Petition read by Jamal al-Muhsen had words of praise to Putin's administration in Moscow which spared no chance in backing the Damascus regime against "local conspirators and saboteurs in the pay of Zionism and America!" Demonstrators concluded that "the people is willing to die for the sake of its beloved leader Bashar Asad."
G.G./P.BC.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Fatfat criticizes Lebanon's policy towards Syria, warns criminals of inevitable punishment
 

Sun 12/02/2012 15:00

NNA - 12/02/2012 Future MP Ahmad Fatfat said Sunday that the criminals involved in the assassination of Rafik Hariri will be brought to justice before the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL), no matter how long it takes, criticizing in this context the failure of Lebanese politicians to aid the Syrian people in their plight.

Hariri was murdered on 14 February 2005 and the STL was formed to investigate his case. It resulted in the indictment of four members of Hezbollah. In neighboring Syria, massive rallies against the regime began eleven months ago, and were met with a brutal crackdown.

"The murderers will be brought to justice even after three thousand years," Fatfat speaking at a ceremony organized by Future Bloc in West Bekaa, on the occasion of the commemoration of February 14, criticized the policy of separation adopted by the Lebanese government towards popular uprising and consequent violence in Syria.

He shunned the position of certain Lebanese politicians, namely Foreign Minister Adnan Mansour and Defense Minister Fayez Ghosn, who did not aid the Syrian people but rather "facilitated their slaughter," according to him.

The MP accused Prime Minister Najib Mikati of focusing on being popular among the Sunni sect, while MP Michel Aoun zeroed in on the Maronite community.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Fneish: to keep army out of polarizations
 

Sun 12/02/2012 14:54

NNA - 12/02/2012 - Minister of State for Administrative Development, Mohammad Fneish, wants to keep the military out of any polarizations in the country.

Speaking to a number of Hizbullah sympathizers in the southern village of Seddikin today, the Minister favored to distance the army completely in order to assume its full responsibilities in maintaining civil peace and stability.

He demonized certain media magnates on account of fomenting religious-sectarian strife between Sunnis and Shias in the country. He added that Iran is on the offensive and is about to defeat the Israeli adversary and that the beginning became obvious in 2006.

Fneish regarded the struggle over Syria as tantamount to an attempt to cross out Syria from the Arab-Israeli conflict. He added that the regime in Damascus was secure and well on its feet and that hopes of those who wish to see an end of the regime would soon be dashed.

He added that his party is determined to strike at anyone jeopardizing domestic stability and that relations with the Syrian regime were dictated by Taef Accords. He concluded that all support from various political quarters must be given unconditionally to the military.

G.G./P.BC.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Rahi holds Saint Maroun mass in Cyprus
 

Sun 12/02/2012 14:35

NNA - 12/02/2012 Maronite Patriarch Beshara Rahi held Sunday mass in Cyprus, celebrating Saint Maroun Day, as he wished harmony upon all Cypriots after a visit to 4 Maronite villages under Turkish rule, and asserted that these Maronites were the symbol of the island's unity. The mass was held at Our Lady of Grace Chapel in Nicosia, and attended by Cypriot President, Archbishop of the Orthodox Church, governmental, religious and social figures, as well as members of the Maronite community.

Turkey invaded Cyprus in 1974, after an attempted coup by Cypriot National Guard. This resulted in the partition of the island into a Greek and Turkish part.

Public Relations Officer of the Maronite Bishopric of Cyprus, Antonis Skoulos, said to NNA that Rahi's visit allowed many Cypriots the chance to see their occupied hometowns for the first time in many years. "The Patriarch can assist his Maronite congregation in Cyprus because of his post and his good relations with everyone."
R.Z.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Faysal Karameh for a secure and stable Tripoli
 

Sun 12/02/2012 14:33

NNA - 12/02/2012 - Youth and Sports' Minister Faysal Karameh urged the cabinet to meet urgently in order to discuss the deteriorating security situation in Tripoli. He added that the convening of cabinet discussion is dictated by the security imperative as a priority.

The Minister wanted to see a bigger Army role to put the lid once and for all on the likelihood of recurrent armed clashes between Tebbaneh and Baal Mohsen.

Karameh's plea to the army came before two senior police officers coming to see him at his Tripoli home where he accused the Mikati government of inertia and incompetence.

He appealed to Saad Hariri to return to Lebanon soon to assume his responsibility as head of the Future Bloc.

Karameh expressed indignation at the Arab Spring saying it achieved practically nothing in any of the Arab countries concerned. He duly said the Palestine question must have the priority over anything else.

He disclosed a so-called youth document to be submitted to the cabinet to issue identification cards for the youth.
G.G./P.BC.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Kanaan accuses Mikati of constitutional infringement
 

Sun 12/02/2012 14:21

NNA - 12/02/2012 - Head of the Change and Reform Parliamentarian Bloc, MP Ibrahim Kanaan, accused Prime Minister Najib Mikati of constitutional infringement which puts him at pains of accountability.

Kanaan refused any mediation between Aounist and the Prime Minister saying that things might be settled through face-to-face encounters in line with the law. He advised anyone intent on driving out Charbel Nahas to do so through proper cabinet channels. He added that the days of bullying his bloc are gone forever.

Kanaan claimed to speak in the name of all Lebanese Christians and accused the opposition of misconstrued opinion over Syria.

He added that certain oppositionists regard the Syrian issue a personal matter rather than one with political implications.

He concluded that certain Lebanese would find themselves returning the key of Lebanon to any post-Asad regime as he said.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Ghosn for a bigger army role in securing Tripoli
 

Sun 12/02/2012 14:02

NNA - 12/02/2012 - National Defense Minister Fayez Ghosn favored a bigger policing role for the army in the northern port-city of Tripoli.

The Minister's confirmation came during a visit to Yarzeh by Chief Tripoli coordinator of local committees, Faysal Dernayka, who also agreed with him over a bigger role by the military.

Summing up meeting's outcome with Minister Ghosn, he told newsmen that the military are going to assume their full responsibility in securing the city of Tripoli and by doing so they would definitely support the local economy. He hinted that all sides in Tripoli must do their best to facilitate army policing tasks and that the very presence of the army would be conducive for them to re-launch dialogue.

Dernayka for his part, held all local politicians responsible for any negative outcome in the event of degrading security situation.

 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved

Politics - Siniora: Future Bloc here to stay/Lebanese Spring prelude to Arab Revolution
 

Sun 12/02/2012 13:26

NNA - 12/02/2012 - Head of the Hariri Parliamentarian Bloc, Fouad Siniora, reassured that his bloc is here to stay despite wishful thinking of political adversaries to the contrary.

Marking the 7th anniversary of the assassination of Rafic Hariri, Siniora and in an interview on Ash-Sharq (Orient) radio station talk-show exclaimed that whoever killed Hariri thought supporters would forget him in 15 days; they were mistaken and they miscalculated.

He expressed confidence that justice would prevail in the end and STL would exact punishment on the murderers no matter how long it takes.
Commenting on the Mikati-led government, Siniora reiterated that real power lies with Hizbullah and that the Party of God is the real motor of the cabinet. He called Hizbullah the maestro of the ministerial orchestra and that no major decisions could be taken without the party's consent. He accused the Telecom Ministry of risking to put the country on the path of public debt incumbent on the average tax-payer.

With reference to the Arab Spring, Siniora said Lebanon witnessed its first Intifada in 2005 long before any other Arab country. He concluded that symptoms of the Arab Spring were already apparent and manifested themselves first in Lebanon.

G.G./P.BC.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Hizbullah marking the anniversary of its slain leaders
 

Sun 12/02/2012 12:59

NNA - 12/02/2012 - Leading Hizbullah cleric Hashem Safieddin wants the Israelis to remain edgy so that they would never envisage mounting any stupidity against Lebanon. Safieddin's warning came at a special Teir-Debba/South Lebanon ceremony.

Marking the anniversary of Hizbullah slain leaders in the south, cleric Safieddin told a group of party clergymen and representatives from Lebanese and Palestinian organizations that incitement against Syria would be tantamount to compliance to American-Israeli instructions.

He concluded that attacking the Syrian leader at this time would only serve American and western agendas. He predicted a quick disintegration of Israel saying the Jewish state can no longer depend on its military prowess for survival.

He accused certain Arabs of conspiracy against his party along with domestic Lebanese allies.
He ended on a note that God Almighty would keep His promise to grant his party divine victory.
G.G./P.BC.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Raad: Party's most concerned with sectarian cohabitation!
 

Sun 12/02/2012 12:47

NNA - 12/02/2012 - Head of the Hizbullah parliamentarian Bloc MP Muhammad Raad, perceived in inter-confessional co-habitation a principle ideological party tenet in dealing with Lebanese protagonists.

Raad's emphasis on his co-existential equation came at a municipal function in Arabsalim/Touffah district where he accused the pro-Hariri camp (without names), of arming Tripolitans to fight his local allies from the Arab Democratic Party. He added that the same politicians provoked clashes in order to vent anger at Asad's gaining the upper hand in Syria.

Raad concluded that any transgression of party-prescribed equation would entail destruction and mayhem and, as such Hizbullah won't allow unrest or instability in the country.
G.G./P.BC

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Qadry denounces Mikati�s failure to aid Syrian refugees in Bekaa
 

Sun 12/02/2012 12:45

NNA - 13/02/2012 MP Ziad Qadry strongly criticized PM Mikati�s reluctance to help Syrian refugees in Bekaa, stating that the man who could suspend cabinet sessions and pay Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) funds without consulting cabinet first can ask Higher Relief Council (HRC) to step in.
A popular revolt began eleven months ago in Syria and swept over the country, as citizens braved going to the streets, despite ferocious violence, in a call for freedom from regime of Bashar Assad. Thousands of Syrians were forced to flee their homeland; some of them sought refuge in Lebanon. However, the Lebanese government has not offered any substantial assistance to those refugees in Bekaa region, while deploying the HRC in north of the country.
The Future Bloc MP refused to accept PM Najib Mikati�s excuse of having his hands tied by the cabinet. It is a humanitarian and nationalistic duty to support Syrian refugees, he said, and it is not true that [Mikati] does not have enough authority to get the HRC to help in Bekaa.
Qadry�s choice of example was the deadlock reached by cabinet on paying the fees for the STL, probing 2005 assassination of PM Rafik Hariri. Mikati solved the crisis by tapping into the funds set aside by HRC in the aftermath of Israeli-Hezbollah war of 2006.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Mufti Shaar holds meeting in Tripoli
 

Sun 12/02/2012 12:09

NNA - 13/02/2012 Tripoli�s Dar Fatwa is the site of a pivotal meeting Sunday called for by Mufti of the North to reach a common stance on events in Syria as well as recent violent out-break between Bab Tabbaneh and Jabal Mohssen.
It was no surprise that Sheikh Malek Shaar invited numerous religious figures to his residence in the northern city, on the backdrop of a two-day-battle between Sunnis of Bab Tabbaneh and Alawaites of Jabal Mohssen, with the latter being adamant supporters of regime of Syria�s Bashar Assad.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Karameh regrets conflict in Tripoli
 

Sat 11/02/2012 21:11

NNA - 11/2/2012 - Youth and Sports Minister, Faisal Karameh, expressed regret Saturday for the current conflicts taking place in Tripoli. He supported the Lebanese Army command's adopted measures for ending said conflict; stressing that priority at this stage is for restoring stability to Tripoli prior to any political talk. He added that cabinet sessions devoted to tackling the critical security dossier ought to be resumed.
Karameh also refused the atmosphere of dispute hovering over the Council of Ministers. Furthermore, he hoped that March 14th Forces would not escalate their tone of speech during the 7th commemoration of Martyr Rafic Hariri. He added that former PM Saad Hariri ought to return to Lebanon to be closer to Lebanese citizens' in their problems and burdens.
Karameh's words came during a radio interview to "Al-Fajr Radio Station" to be broadcasted Sunday morning.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Al-Sayid: Americans and Israelis are distorting Arab Revolutions
 

Sat 11/02/2012 20:49

NNA - 11/2/2012 - Hizbollah Political Council Head, Sayid Ibrahim Amin Al-Sayid, praised the Lebanese model of human values and accomplishments, away from sectarianism and confessionalism. He also hailed the Arab Revolutions, which he referred to as being the "new human achievement." However, he noted that the Israeli enemy and the Americans are working on distorting the image of such an accomplishment!
Al-Sayid hoped that the Arab human accomplishment would be completed, so as to become a "rising project" for the whole nation, for the sake of liberating Jerusalem and Palestine, confronting all aggression and achieving the "state and society model" through true foundations, values and understandings.
Al-Sayid's words came during a commemoration ceremony marking the Prophet's Day in Baalbek Saturday.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Al-Rai heads mass service at Aya Marina Church in Cyprus
 

Sat 11/02/2012 20:34

NNA - 11/2/2012 - Maronite Patriarch Bshara Butros Al-Rai headed a mass service Saturday at Aya Marina Church in the town of Aya Marina situated in northern Cyprus. Attending the church mass were a number of Maronite parish priests; Maronites' representative at the Cypriot Parliament, Antonios Rousof; Peace Political Party Head, Roger Edde, and a crowd of town believers.
In his religious sermon, Al-Rai relayed the greetings of the Maronite Church in Lebanon, hailing the importance and value of the Maronites in Cyprus and their contribution to the Island's life at the trade, economy and social levels. He added that Christians are the secret and body of Jesus Christ in the Middle East, and their strength is through their deep faith. He noted herein that humans rule over the people, but the utter ruler over all is Jesus Christ.
Al-Rai stressed on exerted efforts for finding a solution to the Maronites' case in Cyprus. He indicated that he had raised this matter with UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, and Turkish Foreign Minister, Mohamad Davutoglu.
Following the Church mass, Al-Rai met with the town's mayor, imploring him to aid the Church members in holding their mass service every Sunday, and in working on reconstructing their Church.
Aya Marina Church Parish Head also welcomed the Patriarch, thanking him for his visit and concern. He presented him with a map of Cyprus prior to its division as a memorial gift, as well as two photos of Aya Marina Church before it was struck.
Patriarch Al-Rai then visited the village of Asomatis in North Cyprus, where he headed a mass service at Saint Michael Church. He expressed a word of reassurance to all Maronites there that they shall be returning to their land soon.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Meqati winds-up his official visit to France
 

Sat 11/02/2012 19:50

NNA - 11/2/2012 - Prime Minister, Najib Meqati, ended his official visit to France Saturday evening. In an encounter with members of the Lebanese expatriate community residing in the French Capital, Paris, Meqati said, "What is needed at this stage to overcome the current passing crisis is for all to be convinced that the cabinet is a place of productivity and work, and not one for political contest and electoral polemic." He added that solutions ought to come via respecting and implementing the Lebanese Constitution, activating state institutions and demonstrating a sense of responsibility and meticulousness at this stage. Furthermore, Meqati highlighted the need for confronting and solving all pending problems and dispute dossiers, which can no longer endure postponement.
Over his talks with French officials during his visit, Meqati said, "I have heard what renders me reassured of France's continued support to Lebanon." He added that efforts are being exerted for the sake of keeping Lennon away from the repercussions of the incidents taking place in the surrounding region at this phase.
Meqati described his visit to France as a greatly successful one, reflecting France's support to Lebanon and the Lebanese, both residents and expatriates, and its keen concern for boosting the brotherly ties existing between both the French and Lebanese people. He also referred to France's readiness to extend assistance to Lebanon at all levels, especially in aiding it to boost its security and stability, as well as its economic, social and humanitarian growth and development.
Meqati's encounter with Lebanese expatriates took place at the Lebanese Embassy in Paris Saturday evening, in an official reception organized in his honor by Lebanese Ambassador to France, Butros Assaker.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Mansour for dialogue in Syria and Lebanon
 

Sat 11/02/2012 17:15

NNA - 11/02/2012 - Foreign Minister Adnan Mansour stressed the importance of dialogue in both Syria and Lebanon because of repercussions that might be felt on the domestic scene.

Interviewed on the Official Tv station, Minister Mansour reiterated need for staying aloof from the ongoing unrest in Syria.
Anticipating the upcoming conference of Arab Foreign Ministers, the Foreign Minister reiterated need for distancing Lebanon from any Arab League decision deemed harmful to Syria.

He justified this on grounds of special relations binding both countries.

He seemed to adopt the official virgin that dialogue between government and opposition provides the only outlet and that all parties concerned must sit down and talk. He expressed indignation at the current tension in Tripoli and concluded he would in the final analysis stick to a unanimous cabinet decision.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved







 

Politics - Mikati, Juppe for safekeeping Lebanon
 

Sat 11/02/2012 15:48

NNA - 11/02/2012 Prime Minister Najib Mikati met Saturday with French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe whereby the latter expressed his understanding of Lebanon's geopolitical situation, and the need to bolster bilateral ties.

Mikati, currently on an official visit to France, has already met yesterday with French President Nicholas Sarkozy and a host of high ranking figures.

The French FM expressed understanding towards Lebanon's intricate geo-political situation amidst developments in the Arab world, particularly Syria. Juppe confirmed his support for the Lebanese army.

In his turn, Mikati reiterated that France has always been Lebanon's gateway to the West, and hoped that in turn it viewed Lebanon as the door to the Orient.

"I am positive that France will not allow any harm to befall Lebanon," said Mikati, "Lebanon must remain for future civilizations an example not only of common living, but also of accepting the other and dialogue."

Mikati ultimately thanked the French administration for its aid via its contingenet working within United Nations Interm Forces in south Lebanon.
R.Z.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved













 

Politics - Clashes in Tripoli a hot topic in Baabda
 

Sat 11/02/2012 15:17


NNA - 11/02/2012 - President Michel Sleiman followed up Saturday on the security situation in Tripoli, while skirmishes have continued since yesterday between two locations in North Lebanon, Bab Tabbaneh, predominantly Sunni, and Alawite Jabal Mohsen majority.

The particularly tense atmosphere in the region since Friday has led to armed clashes with the use of projectile bombs and firearms, leaving one dead and several injured, three of whom were soldiers of the Lebanese army.

In this context, Sleiman spoke respectively with Minister of National Defense, Fayez Ghosn, Interior Minister, Marwan Charbel, and the commander of the army, General Jean Qahwaji, and followed up on measures adopted by the military to restore calm to the region.

Separately, the head of state has spoken before a delegation of civil society organizations meeting in Tripoli, reiterating the crucial need for balanced development between various parts of the country.

President Sleiman has subsequently received Justice Minister Chakib Qortbaoui, followed by a delegation of union of mutuality fund, former Minister Elias Hanna and, finally, artists Marwan and Ghadi Rahbani who gave him an invitation to their latest musical, "In the land of the gypsies."
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Mikati checking at Hariri's Paris Residence
 

Sat 11/02/2012 15:10

NNA - 11/02/2012 - Lebanese PM Najib Mikati, checked on Saad Hariri at his Paris Residence to find out for himself about his present state following last week's accident in the Alps.

Among itinerant Hariri visitors was Nohad Machnouq. Meanwhile messages of support for the ex-PM came from Issa Bin Khalifa the Bahraini King and Recep Tayip Erdogan the Turkish PM.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Charbel confident Tripoli violence on route to calm down
 

Sat 11/02/2012 15:08

NNA - 11/02/2012 Sad state of affairs in Lebanese prisons topped concerns of Interior Minister during an interview with New TV Saturday, whereby he also reassured citizens that the situation in Tripoli is under control thanks to security apparatuses.

Violence broke-out Friday in the northern localities of Bab Tabbaneh and Jabal Mohssen, which prompted army interference as the shooting and bombing continued well into Saturday.

"Political authorities...are keen on halting any security deterioration in the regions of Tabbaneh and Jabal Mohssen, thanks to awareness of leaderships of the intricate circumstances," said Minister Marwan Charbel, adding that said authorities along with the aid of security apparatuses were halting any attempt at domestic strife.

Prisons in Lebanon have constantly suffered from rough living conditions which fail to offer inmates a dignified existence. Charbel promised to work on bettering the state of affairs in jails. "Prison should be a place to reform behavior and prepare prisoners to go back to their families as good citizens, rather than more skewed and full of hatred and malice."

The Minister revealed that he and Minister of Social Affairs, Wael Bou Faour, have scheduled a visit to Roumieh Penitentiary by end of current month.
R.Z.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved










 

Politics - PLO Official and the Mufti
 

Sat 11/02/2012 14:44

NNA - 11/02/2012 - Sunni Mufti of the Republic Muhammad Qabbani informed senior PLO representative to Lebanon Ashraf Dabbour that Palestine and Jerusalem rank as the first Arab Cause for Lebanese Muslims. He dubbed Palestine as the mother of all Arab causes and that refugees evicted in 1948 must enjoy the right of return and the recovery of their lost land and capital no matter how long it takes.

He vowed to take up the plight of Nahr el-Bared Palestinians reportedly barred by the authorities from burying their dead!

Fathi Aboul-'Ardat the senior PLO official in Lebanon reciprocated in kind to the Mufti and thanked him for his support. While calling Jerusalem "Palestine's eternal capital", Aboul-'ardat briefed the Mufti over Hamas-Fatah reconciliation as part of an all-out effort for restoring national unity. He also agreed with him over securing basic human rights for Palestinian refugees residing in Lebanon.

G.G./R.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved








 

Politics - Gemayel: Tripoli events not related to Lebanon
 

Sat 11/02/2012 14:00

NNA - 12/02/2012 Kataeb Party Head Amine Gemayel said in a statement Saturday that clashes in Tripoli transcend Lebanon and have more to do with external affairs, as he hoped that this does not ruin Lebanon's image and position on the world map, which PM Mikati was trying to improve while on an official visit to France, whereas cabinet in Lebanon continued suspending its sessions.

Clashes began Friday afternoon between Bab Tabbaneh and Jabal Mohssen localities in the northern city of Tripoli. The violence escalated as many were wounded, some fatally. The army mobilized its troops in an attempt to control the situation.

The veteran politician insisted on guarding the country from falling into the abyss of disputes that did not concern it at all. He advocated a positive image of Lebanon which portrayed common living and a culture of life. Gemayel insisted that allowing certain parties to carry arms was harmful for the country as a whole, and prompted others to follow suit. He demanded the government take action in this regard.

Addressing current government impasse, Gemayel described the situation as illogical. "How can a cabinet, which is formed of one political camp and shares identical objectives, be obstructed by the very people who formed it?"

Cabinet reached a deadlock when ministers of the Free Patriotic Movement walked out on Wednesday's session, leaving national affairs at a standstill due to a dispute over administrative appointments. Prime Minister Najib Mikati suspended all sessions starting February first.

 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved













 

Politics - Raad: Syria punished for backing Hezbollah
 

Sat 11/02/2012 13:31

NNA - 11/02/2012 - Head of the Hezbollah parliamentarian bloc, Deputy Mohammad Raad, stated that Syria is being punished by the U.S. and the West for backing Hezbollah and for its rejection of Israeli preconditions.

MP Raad's statement came during a belated Prophet's birthday ceremony in the western-Bekaa village of Sohmor, in presence of local municipal heads, dignitaries and party officials.

The MP dismissed Syrian opposition as being a minority and that the majority of the people backed Assad's reforms.

He also envisaged a further objective of the rebels namely to cut-off Syria from the regime in Tehran.

He predicted an imminent collapse of the rebels and concluded that Assad would ultimately prevail.

 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Fatfat for the containment of Tripoli clashes
 

Sat 11/02/2012 13:09

NNA - 11/02/2012 - Leading pro-Hariri parliamentarian Ahmad Fatfat, favored a quick containment of armed clashes between Tabbaneh and Baal-Mohsen in Tripoli. He urged security officials and politicians to deal with the situation in order to prevent similar future occurrences.

Fatafat's call came during an interview on "Voice of Lebanon" radio station in which he accused Baal-Mohsen militias of provoking the clashes.

He also regarded the absence of the state as being largely responsible.

While commending the Lebanese army for its role in Tripoli, he wanted to see full deployment along the Syro-Lebanese border to the north and east. He favored army control over cross-border gun-running into Syria but, added that Syrian civilians seeking refuge in Wadi-Khaled must be protected. He put their number at 6000.

The MP predicted the future of Mikati-led cabinet in Hassan Nasrullah's hands and noted that in the event of government resignation a team of technocrats must run the country.

Fatfat added that Mikati faces a triple task; mainly holding of elections, staying aloof from army deployment on the Syro-Lebanese border and staying away in order to avoid dealing with the STL protocol.

He described Future bloc relations with President Suleiman as being fairly good and moving in a positive direction.

Fatfat criticized the Russian veto at the U.N. Security Council and expressed apprehension at a possible recurrence of political assassinations in Lebanon while opting for national reconciliation between parties. The Deputy concluded that disarming Hezbollah remains to a precondition and priority for the pro-Hariri camp.

 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Thor-Sarkissian: Berri; the Real P.M.!
 

Sat 11/02/2012 12:39

NNA - 11/2/2012 - Future Bloc parliamentarian Serge Thor-Sarkissian, dismissed House Speaker Nabih Berri as the real prime minister of Lebanon and that he effectively became the focal point of reference for settling internal squabbles inside the council of ministers.

The pro-Hariri MP and, in an interview on Voice of Lebanon radio station today, lambasted both prime minister Mikati and General Aoun for what he termed as "their making political gains out of putting cabinet work on hold. He added that both engaged in a farcical folkloric game intended for regimenting their respective confessional constituencies.

He also reiterated calls for state-monopoly over arms in the country and accused certain politicians (without naming them), of effectively blocking the de-militarization or disarming of Beirut.

G.G.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Qabbany alarmed by Tripoli clashes
 

Sat 11/02/2012 11:45

NNA - 11/02/2012 Mufti of the Republic called upon Lebanese army to halt the disturbing violence in Tripoli, north Lebanon.

Skirmishes between Bab Tabbaneh and Jabal Mohssen localities began Friday afternoon and quickly spiraled out of control, as the Lebanese army deployed and mobilized units in an effort to control the bloody chaos.

"It is an attempt at creating sectarian strife," said Sheikh Mohammad Rashid Qabbany. He advocated all Lebanese to hold on to state institutions as the only means of preserving national stability.

R.Z.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved






 

Politics - Mikati meets Sarkozy, Bel and Fillon: Lebanon's stability comes first
 

Fri 10/02/2012 22:34

NNA - 10/02/2012 Premier Mikati declared that only peace in the Middle East can bring forth stability as he explained Friday to the French President Lebanon's reasons for keeping neutral towards developments in the Arab region, while he asked the French State's aid for Lebanese army.

PM Najib Mikati, currently on a visit to France, also met with his French counterpart Francois Fillon and Head of the French Senate Jean-Pierre Bel in presence of French ambassador to Lebanon, and Lebanese ambassador to France, along with Central Bank Governor Riyad Salameh.

The meeting with Nicholas Sarkozy, described as "very good" by Mikati, ended with the French President recognizing Lebanon's critical geo-political situation within the Middle East and among Arab countries. "France is ready to give all the support Lebanon needs economically and technically," said the President.

Mikati told reporters following the meeting that he asked Sarkozy to press Israel to stop its breaches of Lebanon's sovereignty, along with its espionage work against the country. "What is critical for me is Lebanon's stability, and I have asked the President to support this Lebanese stance." Within the same framework, Mikati asked for further support and aid for the Lebanese army.

The Premier also called for a solution to the Palestinian cause based on Arab peace initiative launched in Beirut in 2002. "Without peace, there will never be stability in the region."

R.Z.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Rahi, Chrysostomos II avow positive relations
 

Fri 10/02/2012 21:52

NNA - 10/02/2012 A several day pastoral visit to Cyprus brought Patriarch Rahi together with Archbishop Chrysostomos II on Friday where they asserted brotherly ties between Maronites and Greek Orthodox.

Maronite Patriarch Beshara Rahi arrived to Cyprus to meet high ranking political and religious figures in a bid to revive bilateral ties and consolidate relations with Cypriot Maronites.

A visit to the Greek Orthodox Church of Cyprus laid the ground for a meeting with current primate Archbishop Chrysostomos II of Nea Justiniana and All Cyprus, who asserted that, "The doors of the...bishopric are open to all Maronites."
Cyprus was divided in 1974 when Turkish troops occupied the northern third in response to a Greek-inspired coup in Nicosia aimed at uniting the island with Greece. Only Turkey recognizes the authorities in the northern sector. "We are willing to help solve all problems, and confirm that the Greek Orthodox Church is passing through difficult circumstances with the Maronites, specifically concerning the four occupied Maronite villages."

Chrysostomos II stated efforts for a solution were underway with the United Nations, as he held on to the belief that strength comes through peace and justice.

In his turn, Rahi thanked the Greek Orthodox Church for the help it has given Cypriot Maronites. "What distinguishes Maronites is their solid relation with civil and spiritual authorities wherever they go."

The two men exchanged gifts by the end of their meeting.

R.Z.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Qaderi: army's deployment in North must cover borders
 

Fri 10/02/2012 19:21

NNA - 10/02/2012 - Deputy Ziad Qaderi said the Lebanese Army must deploy its troops throughout the North region to even cover the Lebanese borders with Syria, instead of taking positions between the houses in Wadi Khalid.

Qaderi's words came on Friday via an interview on LBCI station.

The Deputy voiced refusal of the presence of joint committees in the North whose duty was to send a name list of persons wanted for capture.

"There are judicial institutions and a political authority that the security apparatus is not allowed to surpass at any subject relevant to escorting wanted persons," said Qaderi.

The Deputy also refused that the North or Bekaa region be taken by the Free Syrian Army as a site for launching attacks on the Syrian interior.

He thereupon rejected that Lebanon be used as a channel for smuggling weapons into Syria.

A.M./P.BC.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Kahwaji, Indonesian counterpart tackle means of boosting ties
 

Fri 10/02/2012 18:38

NNA - 10/02/2012 - Lebanese Army Commander, General Jean Kahwaji, reviewed on Friday general developments with the Indonesian Defense Force Commander, General Aghos Souhartono, who visited his Yarzeh office on Friday.

Both men reviewed means of activating ties between the Lebanese and Indonesian armies, as well as matters involving the Indonesian UNIFIL force operating in South Lebanon.

Kahwaji seized the occasion to express Lebanon's profound appreciation of Indonesia and its army.

The Lebanese Army Commander separately met on Friday with the Sate Security General Director, Major General George Karaa, with talks reportedly focused on mutual cooperation between both institutions.
R.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Alain Aoun capitalizes on Lebanese awareness vis-a-vis Syrian turmoil
 

Fri 10/02/2012 18:17

NNA - 10/02/2012 - Member of Parliament Alain Aoun saw on Friday that the Lebanese ought to handle developments at the Syrian scene with extreme awareness.

Interviewed on OTV, Aoun explained that emanating from the Lebanese state's keenness on sparing Lebanon the ramifications of Syria's unrest, it decided on dissociating itself, at the International Security Council, from all issues involving Syria.

"The Lebanese should avoid any scenario that might wind up entangling Lebanon in the Syrian crisis," he said.

Moreover, Aoun said that Tourism Minister Fadi Abboud's proposal to reactivate Kleiat airport was touristic par excellence, ruling out the possibility of having anything to do with Syrian developments.

MP Aoun went on to categorically deny any cabinet resignation scenario in the making. "The government's presence at this critical period protects Lebanon, especially in light of regional developments."

He also affirmed that the government would not remain paralyzed, saying that his bloc's [Change and Reform] moves all relied on Prime Minister Najib Mikati's stances.

"The government work should be reactivated, so that decisions on vital issues will be made, not to mention that the suspension of ministerial meetings is unconstitutional."

 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Faysal Karami deplores Tripoli incidents
 

Fri 10/02/2012 18:04

NNA - 10/2/2012 - Minister of Youth and Sports, Faysal Karami, on Friday deplored the painful incidents in Bab Tebbaneh and Jabal Mohsen localities in Tripoli, calling for nipping strife in the bud and curbing any security escalation.

The Minister cast doubts over the timing of the clashes, which erupted amid growing fears from fishy plans aimed at turning Tripoli into a conflict arena, at the background of the crisis in Syria.

Accordingly, he urged the government to retract from cabinet sessions' suspension as well as to face, with responsibility and courage, the current challenges.


R.A.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Hariri: Time has come to recognize SNC as legitimate representative of Syrian people
 

Fri 10/02/2012 17:26

NNA - 10/2/2012 - Former Prime Minister Saad Hariri on Friday warned about the dangers of the war waged by the Syrian regime against the growing popular revolution all over Syria.

"The military campaign waged by the armed brigades of the Syrian regime against the cities of Homs, Zabadani, Deraa and other cities witnessing popular movements, is a dangerous episode of the bloody series sponsored by international and regional parties, that agreed to give Bashar al- Assad the opportunity to pounce on his people and protect his political regime with all brutal methods," a statement by Hariri's press office quoted him as saying.

Hariri added: "The Syrian people is facing a military machine that does not care for human and moral values, and for any bonds of brotherhood and kinship between those in charge of killing and the victims, which confirms that the Syrian regime has reached the edge of collapse, not caring about children screaming and elderly calling for help, or about the almost unanimous Arab and international condemnation of the regime and of the crimes that stain its face."

"Bashar al-Assad would not have dared to invade the Syrian cities and villages with tanks and rocket launchers, if he hadn't received an external cover that allows him to do so, and the time has come for all who stand with the Syrian people, especially the Arab countries that have outworn through its Arab League and its official institutions all means of pressure on the Syrian regime, to take practical steps that go beyond condemnation, and even beyond imposing economic sanctions. They should start by recognizing the Syrian National Council as the legitimate representative of the Syrian people, and pull the rug from under the feet of the brutal regime. The danger against the Syrian people now threatens Syria's entity and its national will to free itself from the era of slavery, domination and hegemony," the statement read.

"Bashar al-Assad's Brigades are currently engaged in the last battle to defend a regional axis, which aims at removing Syria for good from the Arabic body, and seizing its national decision under the pretext of defending the regimes of resistance and dissent," Hariri noted.
He said: "The blood of hundreds of innocent peaceful people killed inside their homes in Homs, Zabadani, Madaya, Horan and other cities and towns, cry out to the conscience of the world and of the Arabs in the first place, including leaders on whom the Syrian people rely, and whom they expect to take a historic stance that stops the bloody series and roots out the sedition that the Syrian regime wants to spread by all means."

"We in Lebanon feel with every wound that affects our brothers in Syria and we consider that expressing solidarity with them in the ordeal they are facing is a national duty and a brotherly responsibility, that we will not distance ourselves from. Large Lebanese groups have lived similar situations of oppression and tyranny in the past and were subjected to military attacks by the same regime that is killing its own people now. We are confident that the Syrian people will triumph in the end, no matter how brutal the regime is, and that the forces of tyranny will receive the same fate that all criminals receive usually. And we, as all noble Arabs, are looking forward to decisive actions that will stop the bloodshed and root out the sedition that the regime is seeking. Finally, we say to our brothers in heroic Homs and all Syrian governorates: patience, patience, patience, you have already triumphed with your blood and sacrifices, the Syrian people has triumphed, and tomorrow will tell," Hariri concluded.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Wahhab: Mikati paralyzes state, bets on Syria's regime collapse
 

Fri 10/02/2012 17:26

NNA - 10/02/2012 - Former Minister Wiam Wahhab blamed Prime Minister Najib Mikati for paralyzing the government and military institutions by betting on the collapse of Syria's regime, only to serve a foreign political agenda.

Head of Arab Tawhid Party Wiam Wahhab's stance came Friday from Rabieh upon his visit to the Head of the Bloc of Reform and Change General Michel Aoun.

Wahhab turned Mikati's paralysis to be probably due to his concern about his personal interests. "If he [Mikati] is brave enough, he must resign from his premiership, or else he must understand that the ministerial majority must rule and the minority must obey, as says the Constitution."

Wahhab assured that the Syrian regime, under the chairmanship of Bashar Assad, would emerge victorious throughout all the chaos and turbulence preoccupying the country.

Accordingly, he advised the Premier not to listen to what foreign ambassadors promised him in this concern, "because they never said the truth and would abandon him later on."
On a different note, Deputy Michel Aoun received on Friday at his residence in Rabieh a delegation of Union for Lebanon party, headed by Massoud Achkar, with talks reportedly featuring high on the marginalization of Christians by Christians as well as the regional situation, notably in Syria.

Afterwards, Aoun received former Deputy Hassan Yaacoub who reminded of the Taef Accord that prevented both Lebanon and Syria from turning a passage of assault in either of the two countries.
A.M.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Wahhab: Mikati paralyzes state, bets on Syria's regime collapse
 

Fri 10/02/2012 17:26

NNA - 10/02/2012 - Former Minister Wiam Wahhab blamed Prime Minister Najib Mikati for paralyzing the government and military institutions by betting on the collapse of Syria's regime, only to serve a foreign political agenda.

Head of Arab Tawhid Party Wiam Wahhab's stance came Friday from Rabieh upon his visit to the Head of the Bloc of Reform and Change General Michel Aoun.

Wahhab turned Mikati's paralysis to be probably due to his concern about his personal interests. "If he [Mikati] is brave enough, he must resign from his premiership, or else he must understand that the ministerial majority must rule and the minority must obey, as says the Constitution."

Wahhab assured that the Syrian regime, under the chairmanship of Bashar Assad, would emerge victorious throughout all the chaos and turbulence preoccupying the country.

Accordingly, he advised the Premier not to listen to what foreign ambassadors promised him in this concern, "because they never said the truth and would abandon him later on."
On a different note, Deputy Michel Aoun received on Friday at his residence in Rabieh a delegation of Union for Lebanon party, headed by Massoud Achkar, with talks reportedly featuring high on the marginalization of Christians by Christians as well as the regional situation, notably in Syria.

Afterwards, Aoun received former Deputy Hassan Yaacoub who reminded of the Taef Accord that prevented both Lebanon and Syria from turning a passage of assault in either of the two countries.
A.M.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Nahhas: To shirk bids for states' interest
 

Fri 10/02/2012 17:23


NNA - 10/02/2012 - Labor Minister Charbel Nahhas called on Lebanese officials to shun attempts at wagering on the nation's future, but to opt instead for fortifying the Lebanese state and retrieving its robust status.

In a dialogue gathering on Friday titled "For the sake of retrieving the state's status, steadfastness, and legitimacy", organized by the Independent Nasserite Movement - Mourabitoun, the Labor Minister said it was high time for the Lebanese to abandon bidding positions inspired by foreign supporters.

"We have entered a new chapter of complexities with all those bids occupying the general picture, in line with developments at the Syrian scene," Nahhas said in presence of the Reform and Change bloc leader Michel Aoun and Former Prime Minister Salim Hoss.

Irritated by those pouring scorn at the Lebanese cabinet with words of contempt and depictions of failure, Nahhas wondered how they happen to be the very same people crossing legs whilst leading parliamentary and ministerial political blocs.

"Some really feel no shame in setting their personal interests apart from the position they occupy at the state's level."

Moreover, Nahhas saw that state legitimacy grew along its act of protecting its people's best interests.

"Today, with the flooding sums of financial capital, in light of the increasing real-estate value, we find ourselves equipped with the right means to collect revenues worth the amount of 2 billion USD per year," said Nahhas, adding that this sum should be sufficient enough for lifting the Lebanese economic cycle, as well as social services.

The Lebanese market offers 2000 job opportunities per year, a number deemed too little if compared to the 20,000 people demanding jobs annually.
"The Lebanese state ought not to be transferred to a ministry of social affairs!" Nahhas said, stressing the necessity of activating a Lebanese state comprising a potent nerve of administrators, military men, and technicians, who all enjoy competencies required, facing foreign countries.
R.H.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Sinora tackles affairs with Plumbly
 

Fri 10/02/2012 15:46

NNA - 10/02/2012 - Head of Future Parliamentary Bloc, Fouad Siniora, met over the general situation as well as current developments in Lebanon and the region with newly-appointed UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon, Derek Plumbly.

The meeting was held on Friday in Siniora's Sadat Tower office.

 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved



 

Politics - Sleiman highlights societal dialogue, job opportunities for youth
 

Fri 10/02/2012 15:26

NNA - 10/02/2012 - Lebanese President Michel Sleiman stressed that Lebanon's societal categories were in dire need for dialogue, especially with the current outbreak of turbulence across the East Mediterranean region.

The President's words came before visitors to Baabda Presidential Palace on Friday. The President spoke about the necessity for government to open doors of opportunity for skilful academic students, without bearing into concern any political belonging or view.

Separately, Sleiman received State Minister Ali Qanso and discussed with him ongoing efforts to resume cabinet sessions and governmental works.

Afterwards, Sleiman received former Ministers Ziad Baroud and Michel Edde who informed him of the seminar to be held this year on the Enunciation of Virgin Mary occasion which would highlight the Christian-Muslim dialogue.

Amongst Baabda's visitors: Indonesian Army Chief, and a religious delegation headed by Priest Emil Afifi.

A.M./P.BC.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Mikati from Paris: Lebanon cannot be used as path to plots
 

Fri 10/02/2012 15:16

NNA - 10/2/2012 Lebanese Premier Najib Mikati Friday said Lebanon ought not to be used as a path for plots nor it should be in feud with any Arab state.

Mikati, who is on an official two-day visit to Paris, said that France fully understands Lebanese circumstances and geopolitical situation.

The Lebanese Premier openly avowed the sturdy Lebanese-French ties highlighting the importance of working on activating them on all levels.

At another Level, Mikati visited the "Movement of the French Enterprises" (MEDEF) headquarters whereby he met with the movement members in presence of Lebanese Central Bank (LCB) Governor Riyad Salemeh along with the Ambassadors of France to Lebanon and Lebanon to France.

Stressing the need to arrive at a joint economic language to achieve convergence between both countries, Mikati said the Lebanese financial system, always adopting the Banking Secrecy law, relies on the economy of the market, respects the law of the private sector, trains a qualified work force, guarantees low taxes, and manages deposits worth three times the size of the GDP.
"This thing per se is an evidence of our confidence in the banking sector governed by the LCB," he remarked.

Also, he noted that the Lebanese health, education, telecommunications, water, infrastructure, transportation, and electricity sector bear major investment opportunities.

"Lebanon is about to become a gas producing country," he remarked.

Concluding his word Lebanese Premier said "we have always considered France our gateway to Europe hence; you should consider Lebanon as the gateway to the Arab world.


L.W.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Hemayed criticizes those who suspect Army's performance
 

Fri 10/02/2012 15:08

NNA - 10/2/2012 - Liberation and Development bloc member, Deputy Ayoub Hemayed, lashed out on politicians who launch campaigns against the Lebanese army and distrust their role.

He said nothing justified those who accuse the Army of neglecting its duties and responsibilities in immunizing the Lebanese scene.

Hemayed praised, in this regard, the sacrifices of Lebanese Army's chiefs, officers and soldiers along the Lebanese territories.

"Army is the symbol of national commitment and local fusion to defend the country and its unity," he added, hoping Lebanon would always be able to confront the constant Israeli schemes.

He accordingly called upon the government to rush into assuming its social and developmental duties.
D.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - French candidate Smida in Ain-el-Tineh
 

Fri 10/02/2012 14:53

NNA - 10/2/2012 - Speaker of the House, Nabih Berri, on Friday met with French candidate to the legislative elections, Patricia Smida, from Lebanese origins.

Smida, independent candidate for the 10th district for the French residing abroad, had been to Ain-el-Tineh today as part of a tour in Lebanon to meet with Lebanese officials.

R.A.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Aoun receives Union for Lebanon delegation, Yaacoub
 

Fri 10/02/2012 14:38

NNA - 10/02/2012 - Deputy Michel Aoun received on Friday at his residence in Rabieh a delegation of Union for Lebanon party, headed by Massoud Achkar, with talks reportedly featuring high on the marginalization of Christians by Christians as well as the regional situation, notably in Syria.

Afterwards, Aoun received former Deputy Hassan Yaacoub who reminded of the Taef Accord that prevented both Lebanon and Syria from turning a passage of assault in either of the two countries.
A.M.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Nicolas: Our battle does not target the President
 

Fri 10/02/2012 12:11


NNA - 10/2/2012 MP Nabil Nicolas Friday said no campaign targets the Lebanese President but it aims at setting things back on their right track.

Speaking to the MTV television channel, Change and Reform bloc member said the President is hindering institutions as he became part of the appointments process.

"What brings us together with Mikati is the constitution," Nicolas said and accused the Premier of hindering the government.
"Mikati is impeding government and he might have unpronounced reasons for that as he might be too afraid to take a decision," he added.

At another level, Nicolas uttered holding on to the Memorandum of Understanding between the FPM and Hezbollah for "preserving stability in Lebanon was one of the Memo most important achievements."

On the electoral law issue, Nicolas said "we prefer proportionality principle," adding that they would go for the Bkerki adopted system if the majority agreed on so.

Pertaining to the Syrian unrest, Nicolas said the U.S. is seeking to strike coexistence in Syria the way it did in Iraq.

"Russians will not accept military interference in Syria," he noted depicting the Lebanese government's demeanor regarding Syria as being wise "despite some parties' attempts to push Lebanon into events there," he said.


L.W.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Khoury pursues French tour, tackles environmental affairs
 

Fri 10/02/2012 12:02

NNA - 10/2/2012 - Environment Minister Nazem Khoury pursued his visit to France, holding a series of meetings with officials from the environment, water and energy departments.

The Minister met with the Secretary General of the Union for the Mediterranean, Patrick Barraquand, in presence of the Lebanese Ambassador to France, Boutros Assaker, with talks touching on the water dilemma in the Mediterranean area and means to make use of the Strateau water strategy.

Discussions featured high on means to boost cooperation between Lebanon and France at environment, energy, green economy and sustainable development levels.
D.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Khazen: Mikati's step suspending cabinet sessions is unconstitutional
 

Fri 10/02/2012 10:42

NNA - 10/2/2012 - Deputy Farid Khazen described the step which Prime Minister Najib Mikati took in suspending the cabinet sessions as unconstitutional.

Cabinet session was suspended last week when disagreement occurred between Prime Minister Najib Mikati and ministers of Change and Reform bloc, when Mikati raised the issue of appointments.

The MP pointed out on Friday to "Voice of Lebanon"-Freedom and Dignity radio that the crisis could be solved, adding that there is not a fundamental reason to suspend sessions.

Commenting on the Syrian crisis, the MP said "the Syrian crisis lasted for a long time", adding that the scene looks like a civil war.

The MP considered that no compromise or solution for the crisis in Syria but the situation is heading towards more violence and clashes.

A.A.M

NNA 2012 All rights reserved









 

Politics - Majdalani: No details on Syrian army probable operation
 

Fri 10/02/2012 10:30

NNA - 10/2/2012 MP Aatef Majdalani Friday said he bore no specific details on what Syrian army is preparing on Northern borders, in Wady Khaled town.

"This is extremely perilous as it is a violation to the Lebanese sovereignty," he told Voice of Lebanon- Freedom and Dignity- radio.

Majdalani also avowed the presence of security information reporting that the Syrian army is preparing for a military operation to cross the borders into Wady Khaled.

"Siniora, the Lebanese president, and General Kahwaji had already tackled the issue of Army deployment in North Lebanon," he said and uttered confidence in the military institution's capability to fulfill its obligations entirely.


L.W.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved









 

Politics - Zahraman: Carrying out gatherings to avoid strife
 

Fri 10/02/2012 10:18


NNA - 10/2/2012 MP Khaled Zahraman Friday said meetings were underway to prevent any security incident in Akkar or Tripoli.

Future bloc member said his bloc has already called for an army deployment on Northern borders when we were aware of the aggressions Syrian regime was practicing against Lebanese civilians.

The MP also told Voice of Lebanon- Freedom and Dignity- radio that borders'' control is a must for ongoing smuggling operations might bear repercussions Lebanon is not up to.

"Dialogue is essential for the reinforcement of our ground," he noted.

L.W.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved










 

Politics - Rai arrives to Cyprus
 

Fri 10/02/2012 09:42

NNA - 10/2/2012 - Maronite Patriarch Beshara Rai arrived on Friday morning to Cyprus on a private plane for a pastoral visit where he will meet number of civilians and religious figures.

Before heading to Cyprus Rai stressed at the airport that the spirit of partnership and love is the big address to build bridges in a place we actually exist in it.

"This visit is a pastoral visit", Rai added.

It is worth noting that Tourism Minister Fadi Abboud, Representing President Michel Sleiman, Cypriot Ambassador to Lebanon Homer Mavromatis and other religious and official figures bid him farewell at the airport.

A.A.M

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Qabalan, Asiri contact Qabbani
 

Fri 10/02/2012 08:54

NNA - 10/2/2012 - Mufti of the Lebanese Republic Sheikh Mohammed Rashid Qabbani received a phone call from the Vice-President of the Higher Islamic Shiite Council Sheikh Abdul Amir Qabalan who checked over Qabbani's health.

Discussions also focused on the general situation in Lebanon and the region.

Also, Mufti Qabbani received a phone call from the Saudi Ambassador to Lebanon Ali Awad Asiri after he returned from Riyadh and checked too over his health.

A.A.M

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Rai heads to Cyprus
 

Fri 10/02/2012 08:19

NNA - 10/2/2012 - Maronite Patriarch Beshara Rai headed on Friday morning to Cyprus in a pastoral visit.

A.A.M

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Al-Rai calls for a new pact between sects that renews coexistence vows
 

Thu 9/02/2012 20:10

NNA - 9/2/2012 - Maronite Patriarch Bshara Butros Al-Rai headed Thursday the church mass marking Saint Maroun's Day at Saint George Maronite Cathedral in Beirut Central District, aided by Bishops Boulos Matar, Boulos Sayyah, Michel Aoun and Roland Abu Jaoudeh. Attending the church mass was President of the Republic, General Michel Sleiman, and First lady, Mrs. Wafaa Sleiman; House Speaker, Nabih Berry; Prime Minister, Najib Meqati; and a number of prominent political, diplomatic, military and social figures.
In his sermon on the occasion, Patriarch Al-Rai called for a new pact amongst various Lebanese sects that would renew the vows of coexistence and mutual living in the country; in addition to keeping Lebanon away from "axes" in the region.
Al-Rai highlighted the need for uniting between political duties and administrative work and moral principles; as well as practicing political work in a spirit of service and self-devotion for the sake of public benefit. He stressed on the important factors of transparency, honesty, qualifications, decency and efficient work in the public field, with commitment to boosting citizens' rights at the social and economic daily living levels.
Al-Rai shed light on honoring humans through the alleviation of man to higher standards and the experience of life dialogue between various cultures and religions. He hailed herein the memory of Saint Maroun in his pure belief in Christ, prayers to the Lord and endless devotion to serving Him and the people throughout his lifetime. He also praised the existence of Maronites in this part of the world and their significant value in demonstrating the principle of openness, which ought to be preserved and deeply rooted, Al-Rain noted. He reminded of the Apostolic Guidance message to all to ensure Lebanon's rise through joint efforts and demonstration of equality and balance within the Constitution.
Al-Rai raised prayers to the Lord to light the path before the Lebanese towards more glory and a dignified living in this country.
Following the church mass, the President, First Lady, Speaker Berry and Patriarch Al-Rai received well-wishers at the Church Hall. President Sleiman and his wife then headed to the Beirut Maronite Archdiocese where a luncheon banquet was held in their honor on the occasion, attended by Patriarch Al-Rai and a number of bishops, priests and prominent political and military guests.
In a word at the luncheon event, President Sleiman implored all Lebanese, especially the Maronites, to hold on to their valuable heritage, and to exert all possible efforts to rally around the nation whilst opening up to the while region; so that Lebanon would remain: "Lebanon the Message." He also called for safeguarding and preserving the Lebanese democratic regime; urging all to practice democracy the proper way, while respecting human values and ethics.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Parties' ideological fire!
 

Thu 9/02/2012 17:29

NNA - 09/02/2012 The Gathering of Parties regarded ideologically-speaking close to Syria and Iran, "opened fire" in all directions starting with Syrian rebels and ending with the Egyptian Muslim Brothers.

Having met at the Lebanese Baa'th branch Beirut main office today, they issued a public statement attacking Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States accusing them of conspiring with the Americans to overthrow the Asad regime. They also criticized what they termed as GCC anti-Russian stance and took care to defend Asad against the rebels dismissing them as "mere gangs of armed terrorists"

Parties also came out in support of Hizbullah chief Hasan Nasrallah's speech on Prophet Muhammad's Birthday describing it as a great piece of oratory which exposed American ploys.

Same groups expressed deep indignation at certain wings of the Egyptian Muslim Brothers saying their attitude in parliament clearly demonstrated how much they became effective partners to the US-led conspiracy.

G.G./P.BC.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Ain Tineh itinerant visitors today
 

Thu 9/02/2012 15:58

NNA - 09/02/2012 - House Speaker Nabih Berri met over current situation with Syrian Ambassador to Lebanon, Ali Abdul Karim Ali.

The meeting was held on Thursday in Ain Tineh in presence of Public Health Minister, Ali Hasan Khalil and Ahmad Baalbaki. No further disclosure as to meeting's outcome was made.
P.BC./G.G.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Cabinet stinks of corruption, says Adwan
 

Thu 9/02/2012 15:53

NNA - 09/02/2012 Faltering work of a comatose cabinet was the focus of MP George Adwan's address to Lebanese Forces (LF) supporters during a Wednesday dinner, where he sternly denounced the presence of arms in the hands of Hezbollah.

LF along with other March 14 Camp supporters have long demanded Hezbollah hand their arms to the government. However, the Party continuously rejected said demand, stating the artillery was meant for use against Israeli hostilities.

"The existence of these weapons with Hezbollah halts the construction of a state," said Adwan, adding that it was high time for the government to spread its power over entire country.

The MP voiced contempt against the failed cabinet of Najib Mikati, asserting that the "stench of scandals and corruption reeked heavily [out of it]."

R.Z.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Khreiss asserts no sectarian strife in Lebanon
 

Thu 9/02/2012 14:58

NNA - 09/02/2012 Events spiraling out of control in Syria have caused much worry of negatively effecting domestic security in neighboring Lebanon, a thing which MP Ali Khreiss categorically ruled out Thursday during a meeting with Palestinian Popular Struggle Front in southern city of Tyr.

Political factions in Lebanon, both with and against Bashar Assad, warned of domestic sectarian strife as a result of over ten months of violent crackdown on popular demonstrations demanding ousting of Assad and his Baathist regime.

"Security and stability in Lebanon are a red line," said the pro-Amal Movement MP, "attempts at sectarian strife, which some are trying to instigate, will not pass no matter what."

Khreiss accused certain Arab countries of being friendly towards Israel. "What is happening in Syria does not aim at spreading democracy, but punishing it for being the only country that still confirms that Israel is the enemy."
R.Z.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - (update) Rahi presides over Saint Maroun mass
 

Thu 9/02/2012 13:18

NNA - 09/02/2012 - The Maronite Patriarch Beshara Rahi chaired Thursday Mass of Saint Maroun at St. George's Cathedral in downtown Beirut in the presence of the President, Prime Minister, Speaker of the House, and a number of political, military and diplomatic figures.

During the homily, the head of the Maronite Church stressed that fallen martyrs who of this land, since independence till present day, paved the way for the prosperity of Lebanon.

He particularly valued the presence of Maronites who "played a pioneering role� for church unity and for interreligious dialogue, including the Islamic-Christian dialogue, the dialogue of social and national life."

"It is crucial to maintain cooperation, equality and balance between all components of Lebanese society, under the Constitution," he said, stressing the need to distance Lebanon from regional and international developments.

 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved
 


Politics - Fatfat warns against Syrian military entering Lebanon
 

Thu 9/02/2012 12:36

NNA - 09/02/2012 An unlawful entry of Syrian army into Lebanon is a declaration of war, and should be dealt with as thus, according to a statement by MP Ahmad Fatfat Thursday.

Regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad has repeatedly accused northern regions of Lebanon of harboring Syrian dissidents, and of smuggling arms into the Syrian state. Assad's military assaulted Lebanese citizens residing in north Lebanon, particularly the region of Wadi Khaled, under the pretext of preserving domestic peace.

The Future Bloc Parliamentarian revealed intelligence stating Syrian military was preparing to storm into Wadi Khald to attack "non-existent" Syrian rebels.

"Any action of this kind constitutes a pronouncement of war, and Lebanese government and army must retaliate clearly and sternly," the MP said.

"The Lebanese people, with all its components, will not keep quiet and will defend their land and blood...against Assad's thugs if necessary."

R.Z.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Geagea: to maintain Christian presence in the region
 

Thu 9/02/2012 11:52

NNA - 09/02/2012 - Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea congratulated Thursday the Lebanese, especially the Maronites, on the occasion of St. Maroun Day, hoping that this festival is positive for the country.

Saint Maroun, born in the middle of the 4th century, was a priest who later became a hermit, retiring to a mountain near Antioch, Turkey. He attracted many followers who later became known as the Maronites.

Geagea stressed the importance of Christian presence in the Orient, calling for preserving and maintaining Christians in the region, and bolstering interfaith dialogue for better coexistence.

 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Rahi heads Saint Maroun's mass
 

Thu 9/02/2012 11:20

NNA - 09/02/2012 Maronite Patriarch Beshara Rahi is currently holding celebratory mass in presence of President Michel Sleiman, PM Najib Mikati and House Speaker Nabih Berri.

The mass, commemorating Saint Maroun's day, is taking place at Saint George Cathedral in Down Town Beirut.

R.Z.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Siniora says army deployment at boarders overriding
 

Wed 8/02/2012 22:14

NNA - 08/02/2012 - Future Parliamentary bloc leader, Foaud Siniora, underscored on Wednesday the paramount importance of deploying Lebanese Army soldiers along the eastern and northern Lebanese boarders.

Siniora made his remarks during a meeting with Lebanese Army Commander Jean Kahwaji over most recent domestic developments.

"The eastern and northern borders ought to be controlled and monitored so as to protect people residing in borderline Lebanese villages from the assaults they are being subjected to."

Siniora also skimmed through local developments on Wednesday with a delegation representing Bkirki Gathering within the latter's task to discuss electoral law proposals with Lebanese politicians, and most importantly that of the Gathering.
R.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Rahi says political squabbles no longer bearable
 

Wed 8/02/2012 21:04

NNA - 8/02/2012 - Maronite Patriarch Mar Bechara Boutros Rahi said on Wednesday that political standoffs are no longer tolerable in Lebanon, at the time that the country is mostly in need of unity.

Rahi accompanied by Beirut Parish Head, Boulos Matar, visited today Al-Kahaleh and Louwayzeh within the frame of his tour to different Lebanese cities and localities.

"We need to build partnership among one another. Partnership that is achieved by clinging to internal unity no matter how diversified our thoughts and affiliations are," Rahi said.

However, Rahi failed to find the reason behind inter-cabinet face-offs, deeming their disagreement as "baseless".
R.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved






 

Politics - Mahfoud after meeting Geagea: "Puzzle" composition blew up government structure
 

Wed 8/02/2012 19:29

NNA - 8/2/2012 "Change" Movement Head Elie Mahfoud considered that the appointments issue and the "puzzle" composition and contradictions existing within the government have blown up the latter's structure.
Mahfoud was speaking in the wake of his visit to Lebanese Forces Head Samir Geagea at his Maarab residence on Wednesday.
Mahfoud also hoped that Free Patriotic Movement (FPM) companions would reconsider memorandum of understanding signed with Hezbollah.
On the other hand, Geagea met with a delegation of LF students at Francophone universities where they tackled with him relevant students' affairs.

---------------L.Y
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Sleiman, Araji meet over developmental affairs
 

Wed 8/02/2012 18:34

NNA - 8/2/2012 - President of the Republic, Michel Sleiman, and Member of Parliament Assem Araji, on Wednesday broached an array of developmental affairs relevant to Zahle region.

The pair, who met in Baabda presidential palace this evening, also raised the issue of Litani River pollution and the measures that should be taken on this level.

R.A.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Charbel, Kertbawi inspect Roumieh jail
 

Wed 8/02/2012 18:14

NNA - 8/2/2012 Interior and Municipalities Minister Marwan Charbel and Justice Minister Shakib Qortbawi visited on Wednesday Roumieh jail, where they closely inspected the current conditions there and listened to the stringent needs and demands by prisoners.
Human Rights House Commission Head Michel Moussa, MPs Ghassan Mkhaiber and Joseph Maalouf, as well as Internal Security Forces Chief Ashraf Rifi were also present.
Speaking during a joint press conference in the wake of the tour, Minister Qortbawi disclosed that four state-owned lands were earmarked for the building of four new jails.
On medium-term steps to improve jails' current conditions, Qortbawi brought to attention that the Cabinet has set up a specialized committee tasked with studying the current situation of prisons in Lebanon.
Minister Sharbel, for his part, underlined the importance of continued work to deal with all pending problems of jails from all dimensions. The Minister stressed the necessity of ensuring the minimum level of prisoners' rights in line with humanitarian standards.
MP Mkhaiber underscored that dealing with current problems at jails falls within the joint responsibility of judicial, legislative and executive authorities.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Mikati meets Qortbawi, Abou Faour
 

Wed 8/02/2012 18:11

NNA - 08/02/2012 - Prime Minister Najib Mikati met on Wednesday at the Grand Serail with Justice Minister Shakib Qortbawi. Discussions reportedly focused on relevant ministerial affairs.

Afterwards, Mikati received Social Affairs Minister, Wael Abou Faour.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Mikati for cooperation to preserve Lebanon's economic identity
 

Wed 8/02/2012 17:14

NNA - 08/02/2012 - Prime Minister Najib Mikati said all the Lebanese politicians must cooperate together, amidst the current big challenges, to preserve Lebanon's economic identity whose fundamental factor was economic freedom.

Mikati's words came Wednesday upon his meeting at the Grand Serail with a joint delegation of Economic Committees and the General Labor Confederation (GLC), headed by former Minister Adnan Qassar and GLC head Ghassan Ghosn.

"It is no longer acceptable to move backward; we should rather press efforts to become more modern and progressive," said the Premier.

Mikati explained that Lebanon was a pillar in what had been known as "Global Economy," adding that it was recommended to make our economy more liberal and to safeguard the private sector and individual freedom.

Afterwards, Mikati received Information Minister Walid Daouk and discussed with him ministerial affairs.

Separately, Mikati met with State Minister Ali Qanso over recent developments at the local scene, notably the governmental condition. Qanso stressed the necessity of resuming regular cabinet sessions because nothing could justify their suspension.

Among Grand Serail's visitors: UN Special Coordinator to Lebanon, Derek Plumbly, who came on a protocol visit upon assuming his new mission; Amal Movement senior Bassam Tlayss; and head of Trade, Industry and Agriculture Chamber in Sidon, Muhammad Zaatari.



A.M./P.BC.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved



















 

Politics - March 14: Government swings with Syria's regime, distorts nation's image
 

Wed 8/02/2012 17:06

NNA - 08/02/2012 - March 14 political camp said Mikati-led cabinet has presented the most distorted image of Lebanon before Lebanese and the world, describing it [cabinet] as swinging away through the rhythm of the staggering Syrian regime.

March 14 movement's fresh stance came on Wednesday in the context of its regular weekly meeting at its headquarters in Ashrafieh. The movement issued a statement in the wake of the meeting.

It said the current governmental crisis was due to the swaying regime of Bashar Assad that had been the fundamental ground for its formation. "The current cabinet fails on the level of politics, development, economy, telecommunications, power and smells the bad odor of corruption, deals, notably diesel issue, and the scandal of appointments."

March 14 considered the present cabinet to be trying to cover its failure by drawing forth a Christian-Islamic dispute that has been unavailable, for the purpose of tampering with the affection of the subjugated citizen.

On the same note, March 14 deplored Hizbullah's persistence in supporting Assad's regime and placing thereby a category of Lebanese in the position of confrontation with the whole Syrian public. "Hizbullah ties Lebanon's destiny to that of the dictator Assad's regime," in order to serve its [Hizbullah's] regional relations, at the time that other political sides have been looking forward to a prosperous future upholding all Lebanese, March 14's statement read.

The camp reiterated its demand for a complete deployment of the Lebanese army on the Lebanese-Syrian borders in order to provide safety for Lebanese citizens in the region as well as for the Syrians trying to flee into Lebanon.

March 14 denounced the Russian-Chinese veto, at the Security Council session, on the Arab League's decision regarding the Syrian crisis, saying that such veto would augment bloodshed against the Syrian public.

Nevertheless, March 14 hailed the Gulf Cooperation Council's decision of withdrawing its ambassadors from Syria, urging for more decisive Arab, regional and international stances in defense of Syrian people's aspiration for their country's democracy, sovereignty and independence.

Eventually, March 14 marked February 14, 2012 - the seventh anniversary of Rafic Hariri's martyrdom - to be in BIEL/Beirut. It depicted the occasion as a new station for struggle along the path of the Cedars Revolution.
A.M./P.BC.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Berri, Wednesday Deputies review latest developments
 

Wed 8/02/2012 16:23

NNA - 8/2/2012 - Speaker of the House, Nabih Berri, broached most recent developments in Lebanon, Syria, and the broader Arab region, with Wednesday Deputies at the Parliament today.

Separately, Berri met today with newly appointed UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon, Derek Plumbly, over latest developments.

He later received Minister of Social Affairs, Wael Abu Faour, with talks featuring high on the current general situation.

Berri lastly received Judge Sheikh Ali Khatib, Bekaa Mufti Sheikh Khalil Shoucair, and former ambassador Jaafar Mehawi.

R.A.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Kahwaji's itinerant visitors today
 

Wed 8/02/2012 16:02

NNA - 08/02/2012 - Lebanese Army Commander General Jean Kahwaji respectively received on Wednesday, at his Yarzeh office, Beirut Municipal Head, Bilal Hamad heading a delegation of Municipal Council and a delegation of Zgharta Municipalities Union presided by Toni Sleiman.

Head of the chairman of Kamil Chamoun Sportive City, Riad Sheikha, has been to Yarzeh office and discussed with Kahwaji means of cooperation with the army on the level of developmental and sports activities.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved



 

Politics - Sleiman hails army role in maintaining political stability
 

Wed 8/02/2012 16:00

NNA - 8/2/2012 - President of the Republic, Michel Sleiman, on Wednesday praised the role of the Lebanese army in preserving civil peace and stability, as well as in sidestepping the repercussions of neighboring unrest.

Sleiman capitalized the necessity to maintain national unity and keep confidence in the military institution, especially amid the ramifications of the crisis in Syria, namely in prefectures along the Lebanese-Syrian borders.

The President met today with Army Intelligence Chief, General Edmond Fadel, over the security measures adopted by the army, the situation in the South, and the control of borders and crossings.

Sleiman also met with Deputy Prime Minister, Samir Moqbel, over the current general situation, and the work of ministerial committees.

Minister of Youth and Sports, Faysal Karami, had also been to Baabda palace today.

The President later received former Minister Adnan Qassar, who presented him with an invitation to patronize the celebration organized by Arab Chambers Union on forthcoming March 12, on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the Union's foundation.

He lastly met with newly appointed UN Special Coordination for Lebanon, Derek Plumbly.



R.A.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


















 

Politics - Mikati for cooperation to preserve Lebanon's economic unity
 

Wed 8/02/2012 15:22

NNA - 08/02/2012 - Prime Minister Najib Mikati said all the Lebanese politicians must cooperate together, amidst the current big challenges, to preserve Lebanon's economic identity whose fundamental factor was economic freedom.

Mikati's words came Wednesday upon his meeting at the Grand Serail with a joint delegation of Economic Committees and the General Labor Confederation (GLC), headed by former Minister Adnan Qassar and GLC head Ghassan Ghosn.

"It is no more acceptable to move backward; we should rather press efforts to become more modern and progressive," said the Premier.

Mikati explained that Lebanon was a pillar in what had been known as "Global Economy," adding that it was recommended to make our economy more liberal and to safeguard the private sector and individual freedom.

Afterwards, Mikati received Information Minister Walid Daouk and discussed with him ministerial affairs.

Separately, Mikati met with State Minister Ali Qanso over recent developments at the local scene, notably the governmental condition. Qanso stressed the necessity of resuming regular cabinet sessions because nothing could justify their suspension.

Among Grand Serail's visitors: UN Special Coordinator to Lebanon, Derek Plumbly, who came on a protocol visit upon assuming his new mission; Amal Movement senior Bassam Tlayss; and head of Trade, Industry and Agriculture Chamber in Sidon, Muhammad Zaatari.

A.M./P.BC.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


















 

Politics - Syrian diplomat vows post-reforms pragmatic outcomes
 

Wed 8/02/2012 15:10

NNA - 8/2/2012 - Syrian ambassador to Lebanon, Ali Abdul Karim Ali, said Wednesday he was upbeat over the aftermath of political reforms, promised by President Bashar Assad, and highly expected to beget pragmatic results.

The diplomat visited today former Prime Minister Omar Karami at his residence in Beirut, with talks mainly touching on an array of public affairs and the Lebanese-Syrian ties.

On the military operations kicked off by the Lebanese army along northern borders with Syria, Ali hoped there would be more seriousness in that respect.

He also called for raising awareness vis-a-vis the "criminal" media deforming all facts and forging all truths, warning of bids to spark security chaos in Lebanon as well as in Syria.


R.A.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - (updated) Rahi utters rejection to policies disrespectful to others' dignity, people's fate
 

Wed 8/02/2012 15:08

NNA - 8/2/2012 Maronite Patriarch Beshara Boutros Al-Rahi Wednesday voiced rejection to all political activities not respectful to the dignity and fate of the people, as well as to other's opinions.

Celebrating a Mass on Tuesday evening at the Hadeth Notre Dame church on the occasion of winding up his visit to the region, Rahi said Levant is in need of new concepts, of moral and human values, and of a democracy based on which humans' opinions and aspirations be respected.

"Lebanese, Christians and Muslims, are attached to coexistence to enrich their culture and their civilization," he remarked.

Rahi urged Lebanese leaders to ignore their differences and assume their responsibilities so as to confront threats endangering Lebanese life.

The Maronite Patriarch hailed later on the people of Hadeth region who refuse to sell their lands despite all temptations.

The head of the Maronite church had also presided on Wednesday a Mass at the church of Notre Dame School of Jamhour, as part of his pastoral visits to the Maronite Diocese of Beirut.

A discussion took place following the Mass, whereby the Patriarch answered students' questions.

When asked about the repeal of political sectarianism in Lebanon, the Patriarch said, "I'm for this repeal, provided that an alternative was set to preserve the national pact."

The Patriarch called on the state to support citizens at the tourism, agriculture and economy levels as problems solving is politicians and not private sector's duty.

L.W.-D.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Kabalan deems concessions necessary for national interest's sake
 

Wed 8/02/2012 14:30

NNA - 8/2/2012 - Vice head of the Islamic Shiite Supreme Council, Sheikh Abdel Amir Kabalan, called on political factions to reactivate communication so as to find a way out of the government crisis and put the cabinet back on the right track for public interest's sake.

He called on politicians to make concessions and always put the country's interest above all considerations.

"The country's stability, as well as its social and political security urges officials to assume full responsibility and provide the stable political atmosphere which keeps away the repercussions the Syrian crisis," he said.

D.K.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Mansour, Plumbly engage in regional situation, stress 1701 implementation
 

Wed 8/02/2012 14:10

NNA - 8/2/2012 Foreign Affairs Minister Adnan Mansour Wednesday exchanged opinions about the prevailing regional situation with UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon (SCL) Derek Plumbly.

Both men also went over the UN commitment to Lebanon's sovereignty and independence as to implementing 1701.

"1701 implementation is undergoing and we will be exerting efforts tower further execution," he noted.

Asked about controlling the Lebanese-Syrian borders as well as Lebanon's receieving Syrian refugees, Plumbly said he has tackled these matters as well as the Syrian unrest issue during his meeting with Premier Mikati and other Lebanese officials.

At another level, Minister Mansour met today with the Azerbaijan Honorary Consul to Lebanon Nazih Gassab.
The latter conveyed Mansour with an invitation from his counterpart to visit Azerbidjian.
Both men tackled means to reinforce bilateral ties.



L.W.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Zahra: FPM Ministers' campaigns blatant outbids
 

Wed 8/02/2012 13:59

NNA - 8/2/2012 - Lebanese Forces bloc member Antoine Zahra on Wednesday said the campaign launched by the Free Patriotic Movement's ministers are flagrant outbids to cover up the regress in the government's performance.

He told the LFTV channel that the government's components were fighting over personal gains at the appointments level, therefore they reached a dead end.

The Deputy assured that resignation is ruled out at this stage, yet Ministers within are not willing to make concessions on the administrative appointments issue.

"The best solution is to form a government of technocrats," he said, assuring on a different note that the Syrian regime sought by all means to drag Lebanon into its crisis.
D.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Rahi utters rejection to policies disrespectful to others' dignity and to people's fate
 

Wed 8/02/2012 13:38

NNA - 8/2/2012 Maronite Patriarch Marbeshara Al-Rahi Wednesday voiced rejection to all political activities aiming not respectful to the dignity and fate of the people, as to other's opinions.

Celebrating a Mass on Tuesday evening at the Hadeth Notre Dame church on the occasion of winding up his visit to the region, Rahi said Levant is in need of new concepts, of moral and human values, and of a democracy based on which humans' opinions and aspirations be respected.

"Lebanese, Christians and Muslims, are attached to coexistence to enrich their culture and their civilization," he remarked.

Rahi urged Lebanese leaders to ignore their differences and assume their responsibilities so as to confront threats endangering Lebanese life.

The Maronite Patriarch hailed later on the people of Hadeth region who refuse to sell their lands despite all temptations.

L.W.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Fatfat denounces Nasrallah speech
 

Wed 8/02/2012 13:04

NNA - 8/2/2012 - MP Ahmad Fatfat Wednesday criticized Hezbollah's Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah statements, deeming the latter's words on the government's persistence as a proof of the party's control.

Future bloc member said Nasrallah's words delivered yesterday were an evidence of Hezbollah's political, moral, and financial affiliation to Iran.

"Nasrallah attempts to cover up all financial breaches its supporters are making," he remarked.

Speaking to Al-Mustaqbal television channel, Fatfat said Nasrallah insulted the Syrian and the Lebanese people's intelligence when he said that nothing is going on in Syria.

The MP called later on for the protection of all borders without any exception to prevent weapons smuggling.


L.W.

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Politics - Salhab: Mikati holds solution for current crisis
 

Wed 8/02/2012 11:32

NNA - 8/2/2012 - MP Salim Salhab Wednesday said Premier Mikati holds the solution for the crisis since he is the one who put himself in this situation.

"Backed by the law legal and constitution, we shall keep giving our opinions in appointments and we will even make concessions but if they were a gainst the law we will not allow the nomination," he told Voice of Lebanon radio.

"Conflict prevails over the management of appointments as over the adopted mechanism," he remarked.


L.W.

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Politics - Mansour: governmental crisis to be resolved soon
 

Wed 8/02/2012 10:58

NNA - 8/2/2012 - Foreign Affairs Minister Adnan Mansour Wednesday presumed that governmental crisis was on its way toward a settlement within coming days.

"No main problem hinders governmental works but there are slight variations in standpoints," Mansour told Voice of Lebanon- Freedom and Dignity- radio.

Pertaining to the visit of his Russian counterpart to Damascus, Mansour said Lavrov proposed an Arab League-inspired initiative deeming herein that chances of success rely on the Syrian opposition's response.


L.W.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved





 

Politics - Habib: Nasrallah's speech new conditions for Mikati
 

Wed 8/02/2012 10:05
NNA - 8/2/2012 - Member of Parliament Khodor Habib told "Lebanon Free Radio" that the speech of Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah is seen as a new condition book for Prime Minister Najib Mikati, adding that Nasrallah wants to preserve the government at any price.

"All of the introductions made by Nasrallah last night prove the united fate between Hezbollah and Iran. We all know that when Iran wants to negotiate with the international community it waves the cards it holds and one of these cards is Hezbollah," the MP said.

Habib also blasted MP Michel Aoun who criticized President of the Republic Michel Sleiman and Mikati.

"Aoun's statement is another illustration that this is a government of contradictions and common interests and nothing more."

Habib explained that he travelled to Paris to check on former Prime Minister Saad Hariri who underwent a successful operation, adding that Hariri needs several months to recover.

O.H

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Politics - Habib: Nasrallah's speech new conditions for Mikati
 

Wed 8/02/2012 10:05

NNA - 8/2/2012 - Member of Parliament Khodor Habib told "Lebanon Free Radio" that the speech of Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah is seen as a new condition book for Prime Minister Najib Mikati, adding that Nasrallah wants to preserve the government at any price.

"All of the introductions made by Nasrallah last night prove the united fate between Hezbollah and Iran. We all know that when Iran wants to negotiate with the international community it waves the cards it holds and one of these cards is Hezbollah," the MP said.

Habib also blasted MP Michel Aoun who criticized President of the Republic Michel Sleiman and Mikati.

"Aoun's statement is another illustration that this is a government of contradictions and common interests and nothing more."

Habib explained that he travelled to Paris to check on former Prime Minister Saad Hariri who underwent a successful operation, adding that Hariri needs several months to recover.

O.H

NNA 2012 All rights reserved

 

Politics - Nasrallah capitalizes importance of Islamic unity
 

Tue 7/02/2012 22:34

NNA - 7/2/2012 - Hezbollah Secretary General, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, shone light Tuesday on the paramount importance of Islamic unity, namely as facing rabid efforts to disintegrate the Islamic nation, Umma.

Nasrallah, who spoke today during a commemoration marking Prophet Mohammad birthday in Sayyed As-Shohada Complex in the Southern Suburb of Beirut, maintained that the victory of the Islamic Revolution in Iran has pushed forward the project of Islamic unity.

He made it clear that too many have endeavored, nay bore the brunt, so as to disintegrate such unity, only to serve bigger interests.

"Unity of Muslims means the recuperation of [their] decision-making, sovereignty, and future," he said.

He explained that the victory of the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran was not aimed to melt all Islamic sects in one, but that the project of Islamic unity rather meant that all Muslims, which politics had endeavored to tear apart, should find common grounds to meet.

Nasrallah noted last decades' developments which forestalled such inter-Muslims rapprochement, raking up the eight-year-aged US-Israeli-Western-Arab-orchestrated warfare against Iran.

He maintained that politics' magnates, makers, and designers worldwide, namely the US and Israel, have opted for the Umma disintegration through sowing seeds of sectarian strife and promoting for an alleged Shiite expansion, shortly after their bids to quell the aftermath of the Islamic Revolution failed. "This is the material of the soft war, used by the US and the West."

Nasrallah, who admitted having skimmed through the option of establishing an Islamic republic in Lebanon back in 1982, did not fail to remind that some Christian leaders, in turn, had for long sought a Christian nation.

"We retracted from speaking of a religious nation, and this is utmost nobility," he said.

Nasrallah was also keen to acknowledge Iran's unwavering support for Hezbollah, on all levels.

Indeed, echoing last Friday's speech of Ayatollah Khamenei, Islamic Revolution's Supreme Guide, Nasrallah asserted to receive "moral, political, and material" support from Iran, ever since 1982.

"The Resistance in Lebanon wouldn't have scored the biggest and most important Arab victory against Israel in May 25, 2000, and in July 2006, had it not been for this Iranian support," he underscored.

Nasrallah also avowed that his party never received any Iranian dictations in counterpart of this support.

"Iran will not ask for anything in return in the future but we will have then to sit down and decide on what to do," Nasrallah stressed, perhaps in a likely indirect reference to a case of an Israeli war against the Islamic Republic.

Turning to Syria, where he reckoned that what is sought is to oust President Bashar Assad-led regime, he cautioned against media overstatements and facts deformation.

As commending President Assad's readiness to make reforms and hold dialogue, Nasrallah pointed out attempts to foment civil war in this neighboring country.

On the Lebanese domestic level, he underlined "the present government will persist."

"It is neither time to topple the government nor to fan security tensions," he said, maintaining that the continuity of the Mikati-led government was necessary to preserve stability on both security and political levels.



R.A.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Future wonders at irresponsiveness by demand to deploy Army in the north
 

Tue 7/02/2012 19:55

NNA - 7/2/2012 "Future" Bloc wondered at the irresponsiveness by official and concerned authorities with the demands of Lebanese citizens to deploy Lebanese Army at the joint northern/ eastern borders with Syria, in protection of Lebanese villages and controlling frontiers.
Future Bloc's stance came in the wake of its regular weekly meeting on Tuesday afternoon at "Central House", under the chairmanship of Bloc Head Fouad Siniora.
The Bloc tackled the current situation in Lebanon and the region.
Future Bloc also stressed that dealing with current governmental problems lies in bearing responsibilities rather than violating the stipulations of Constitution, laws and decrees in effect.
On the Syrian situation, the Bloc deplored in its statement the massacres perpetrated by the Syrian regime against innocent citizens, as it said.
Future also sturdily denounced the stance adopted by Russia and China in using veto power at the Security Council, which aborted international and Arab endeavors to reach a decision that would halt perpetrated crimes against humanity targeting the Syrian people.
----------------L.Y

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Michel Aoun: Sleiman-Mikati complicity derails authority
 

Tue 7/02/2012 19:34

NNA - 07/02/2012 - Deputy Michel Aoun expressed discontent regarding a joint complicity concerted by President Michel Sleiman and Prime Minister Najib to derail local authority.

MP Aoun, head of the Bloc of Reform and Change, headed the regular weekly meeting for his bloc at his residence in Rabieh.

Aoun said that Premier Mikati had surpassed his powers and the Constitution and wanted to impose his opinion on others. BRC head hoped that Mikati would call for a regular governmental session, in accordance with the Constitution's article 65, for the purpose of inquiring from Mikati about the reason for his suspension of cabinet sessions.

As for President Sleiman, Aoun considered him to be taking a political side instead of assuming his natural national role as a neutral figure during cabinet sessions.
A.M.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Daouq meets Media Graduates' League
 

Tue 7/02/2012 19:21

NNA - 7/2/2012 - Minister of Information, Walid Daouq, on Tuesday met with a delegation of Media Graduates League over the current situation of media and information, in light of a project law on prints law amendment.

Dr. Amer Mashmoushi, heading the delegation, laid bare to the Minister the League's vision to media and a comparison with related laws adopted in the West.

Daouq asked the delegation to refer a copy of the League's project to concerned parties, with a view to further discussion, as well as to the information parliamentary committee.

The meeting, held at Daouq's office in the Ministry, was also attended by the Ministry's Director General, Hassan Falha.


R.A.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Sleiman, Mikati skim through developments
 

Tue 7/02/2012 18:59

NNA - 7/2/2012 - President of the Republic, Michel Sleiman, and Prime Minister, Najib Mikati, on Tuesday met in Baabda palace over most recent developments and ongoing contacts among parties regarding an array of current affairs.

Sleiman also received today former ambassador to KSA, General Marwan Zein, who came upon the invitation of his diplomatic mission.


R.A.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - (UPDATE) Rahi starts tour in Damour and Naameh
 

Tue 7/02/2012 18:34

NNA - 7/2/2012 Maronite Patriarch Mar Bechara Boutros Rahi started his pastoral tour on Tuesday afternoon to Damour and Naameh.
Rahi's first stop over has been in the town of Damour, where he met with the families at Saint Elias Church. In his word, Rahi lauded the town of Damour as the city of hope and resurrection.
Rahi then moved to the town of Naameh, where he met with Naameh families at Saint Elias Church.

Afterwards, Rahi moved to Kfarshima.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Bassil: we must resist Israel, corruption with same ferocity
 

Tue 7/02/2012 18:29

NNA - 07/02/2012 - Energy and Water Minister Gibran Bassil said it was required to fight Israel and corruption with the same degree of ferocity, indicating that the latter was more dangerous than the former.

Bassil's words came Tuesday upon receiving at his ministerial office a joint student delegation of the Free Patriotic Movement and Hizbullah.

"We can fight Israel on the borders, but we cannot easily fight the borderless corruption that springs from inside," said the minister.

However, Bassil continued, both must be defeated since both might destroy the state and economy and dismantle the patriotic factors of sovereignty, freedom and independence.

Separately, Bassil received at his office the Iranian Ambassador to Lebanon, Ghazanfar Roknabadi, and tackled with him local developmental projects to be executed by Iranian companies in the field of water and power.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Rahi starts tour in Damour and Naameh
 

Tue 7/02/2012 17:45

NNA - 7/2/2012 Maronite Patriarch Mar Bechara Boutros Rahi started his pastoral tour on Tuesday afternoon to Damour and Naameh.
Rahi's first stop over has been in the town of Damour, where he met with the families at Saint Elias Church. In his word, Rahi lauded the town of Damour as the city of hope and resurrection.
Rahi then moved to the town of Naameh, where he is to meet with Naameh families at Saint Elias Church.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Sleiman meets with Mikati at Baabda
 

Tue 7/02/2012 17:29

NNA - 7/2/2012 President of the Republic Michel Sleiman is currently meeting with Prime Minister Najib Mikati at Baabda Palace, to discuss the governmental situation and current developments, notably on the eve of Mikati's official visit to France.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Mikati, Ozyildiz tackle economic cooperation
 

Tue 7/02/2012 17:22

NNA - 7/2/2012 Prime Minister Najib Mikati met on Tuesday afternoon at the Grand Serail with Turkish Ambassador to Lebanon Inan Ozyildiz, where they tackled bilateral relations notably economic cooperation.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Jumblatt prefers Roknabadi to desist from talking about Syrian crisis
 

Tue 7/02/2012 17:18

NNA - 07/02/2012 - Deputy Walid Jumblatt preferred on Tuesday that the Iranian Ambassador Ghazanfar Roknabadi would desist from talking about the Syrian crisis in order to reduce pressure on the suffering of the Syrian public.

He also wished that Roknabadi would visit some Syrian cities to clearly view the massacres committed against the public.

"These Popular Arab revolutions, on top of which Syria's, do not need national lessons from anybody," said Jumblatt.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Geagea meets Tachnag delegation
 

Tue 7/02/2012 17:09

NNA - 07/02/2012 - Lebanese Forces Leader, Samir Geagea, met on Tuesday with a delegation of Tachnag Party that included the Secretary General of said party, Deputy Agop Pakradonian. Discussions reportedly focused on the latest developments at the domestic and regional scenes.
R.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Abi Ramia: Cabinet's collapse deems national collective suicide
 

Tue 7/02/2012 16:41

NNA - 07/02/2012 - Deputy Simon Abi Ramia said the Mikati-led cabinet provided political and security stability for all the Lebanese - something that we could not dispense of amidst the present regional situation. Therefore, he deduced, its collapse would deem as a collective suicide operation on the level of nation.

However, Abi Ramia urged Prime Minister Najib Mikati to respect the Free Patriotic Movement in his cabinet and deal with it as a major parliamentarian bloc composed of 28 members.

Abi Ramia's words came Monday evening in the context of an interview on MTV media station.
A.M.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Amine Gemayyel tackles array of issues with itinerants
 

Tue 7/02/2012 15:55

NNA - 07/02/2012 - Head of the Kataeb Party Amine Gemayyel, on Tuesday, discussed with a delegation of the Syndicate of Doctors headed by Sharaf Abou Sharaf, the syndicate's affairs and condition.

Gemayyel also met with Head of the National Dialogue Party, Fouad Makhzoumi, who emphasized the necessity of preserving national unity regardless of what might happen in Syria and of the unstable situation in the region.
R.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Mansour, Zasypkin tackle Syrian situation
 

Tue 7/02/2012 15:50

NNA - 7/2/2012 Foreign Affairs and Expatriates Minister engaged in talks on Syrian situation during his meeting with Russian Ambassador Alexander Zasypkin.

The latter said Russia's stances aim at figuring out a peaceful settlement for the Syrian internal conflict in a way that suits people's interests.

Zasypkin also hailed the high sense of understanding in Lebanese-Russian ties especially regarding Syrian situation.

Pertaining to the Arab Ministers upcoming gathering in Cairo, the Ambassador hoped stances would be balanced.


L.W.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Berri decorates Consul Ghandour
 

Tue 7/02/2012 15:49

NNA - 7/2/2012 - Representing Lebanese President Michel Sleiman, Speaker of the House Nabih Berri decorated on Tuesday Lebanese Consul Ghassan Ghandour with a cedar citation of a knight's rank, in a celebration he hosted at his Ein-Teeneh residence.

Ghandour, who has been in Greece for 30 years now, thanked Berri and the Lebanese President for the citation, considering it a token of Lebanon's appreciation of all the Lebanese abroad.
R.H.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Industrialists' affairs top talks between Sabounjian, Ifram
 

Tue 7/02/2012 15:38

NNA - 07/02/2012 - Industry Minister Vrej Sabounjian received on Tuesday at his office a delegation of the administrative council of the Lebanese Industrialists Association, headed by Neemat Ifram, in presence of the director general of said ministry Dany Gedoun.

Talks reportedly focused on industrialists' affairs pertaining to the rise in power costs, the VAT returns collected from exportation, and the anchorage of scientific cooperation between the Agriculture Ministry and the industrial sector on the basis of supply and demand.

Sabounjian said his ministry was well aware of the significance of solving the pending problems of industrialists. "It is time to recognize that Lebanon's industry and agriculture are important inasmuch as its tourism and services."

The minister promised to convey the industrialists' demands to the cabinet for discussion.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Mikati's interlocutors: Hazim denies standoffish acts against Damascus Christians
 

Tue 7/02/2012 15:36

NNA - 07/02/2012 - Patriarch Ignatius Hazim IV of Antioch and the entire East asserted on Tuesday that during his entire stay in Damascus, he never encountered any phenomenon signifying that Christians were unwelcomed.

Hazim, who visited Prime Minister Najib Mikati on Tuesday heading a delegation of Patriarchs, thanked the premiere for his invitation and wise briefing on the domestic status quo.

"I never sensed disrespect or any sort of marginalization [of Christians] in the [Syrian] national life," Hazim said, stressing that he only feared the unknown at the time that all Christian schools, churches, and relations were still active.

Touching on the local scene, Hazim said that Lebanon fully deserved to be a country of mutual love and peace among its citizens.

"Some of the Lebanese enjoy political culture whereas some others remain in need of attaining moral culture," Hazim added.

At another level, Mikati chaired on Tuesday a coordinating meeting in presence of Information Minister Walid Daouk, Tele-Communications Minister Nicolas Sehnawi, and Trade and Economy Minister Nicolas Nahas, as well as IDAL Executive Council Head.

The meeting reportedly focused on preparations underway towards the launch of a media and digital city by means of attracting investments by Lebanese companies functioning in Dubai, Jordan, and Egypt.

Mikati also held talks with Social Affairs Minister Wael Abu Faour who disclosed on emerging ongoing contacts in a bid to come out with a new working mechanism deemed necessary to rekindle inter-cabinet relations, towards more productivity.

Albeit, Abou Faour said that contacts were still at their beginning stages, adding that Berri was most probably preparing his thoughts for a stronger intervention.

Lebanese Army Commander, General Jean Kahwaji also had his share of talks with Mikati over the country's general security situation and the pressing needs of the military institution.
R.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Geagea: Syrian situation unbearable
 

Tue 7/02/2012 15:27

NNA - 7/2/2012 - Lebanese Forces party Head Samir Geagea said Syria's developments are no more acceptable as the regime is pointing heavy weapons against civilians.

"There is a minimum of moral stances that should be taken up without justifications whatsoever," he said, addressing Lebanese politicians.

Geagea noted that "the situation in Syria reminds us of the incidents which once had taken place in Lebanon, particularly Achrafieh, Zahle and Tripoli."

"Syria as people, institutions and infrastructure is falling victim of some poles' strategic interests," he remarked, assuring that there's no way backwards when it comes to the Syrian crisis.

"Extending the term of this unrest serves in no way the Syrian opposition, people or regime," the LF leader argued.

As for the impact of Syria's unrest on the Lebanese scene, Geagea considered that "it depends on how responsibly the state and the government act at this level," calling for Army deployment at critical border crossings.

Geagea finally accused the current government of relapse and of being unconstructive, with no reform or change plans on its agenda.
D.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Islamic-Christian summit dwells on inter-religious dialogue
 

Tue 7/02/2012 15:27

NNA - 7/2/2012 - An Islamic-Christian spiritual summit was held Tuesday at Beirut Maronite archbishopric in light of Patriarch Bechara Boutros Rahi's pastoral tour on Beirut parishes, and upon the invitation of Beirut Archbishop, Monsignor Boulos Matar, as reported by our National News Agency correspondent.

Conferees discussed their aspirations for Lebanon, so as the country becomes a pattern for dialogue between religions, as per the communique issued in the wake of the meeting.

The Patriarch and the religious figures who attended this summit called for cooperation and coordination in order to restore stability, peace and national unity, especially at the current crucial stage.

The communique indicated that the Patriarch's tour in Beirut will come to an end Thursday February 9, with a mass to be held at St. George cathedral, Down Town.
D.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Daher: Army solely responsible for protecting Lebanon
 

Tue 7/02/2012 14:35

NNA - 7/2/2012 MP Khaled Daher Tuesday said protecting Lebanese sovereignty as well as the Lebanese people is army's responsibility.

The Future bloc member told LBCI television channel, "We don't mind at all the deployment of Lebanese army units at our door steps, because unlike Beirut Suburbs, we do not have security complexes."

Commenting on Wiam Wahhab and Naser Qandil's statements on an international decision to transfer the crisis from Syria to the Lebanese borders, Daher said such stances implicate a wish by March 8 to use the army as a tool to strike a certain Lebanese party.

Daher also said that the Russian stance regarding Syrian events shall soon negatively reflect upon Russia.


L.W.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Sleiman follows up on recent developments
 

Tue 7/02/2012 14:28

NNA - 7/2/2012 The Lebanese President engaged in talks on most recent domestic and regional developments at Baabda palace on Tuesday.

Sleiman convened with Future Movement head Fouad Siniora and discussed with him ongoing contacts to solve pending dossiers.

The president also received Labor Minister Charbel Nahhas and tackled with him ministerial affairs, especially concerning the transportation decree.

Minister of Information Walid Daouk also visited Baabda today and discussed with the President means of reinforcing the official audio-visual media.


Also, among Baabda visitors today had been MP Marwan Fares and former MP Ghattas Khoury.

L.W.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Syrian regime in final stages: Hout
 

Tue 7/02/2012 12:57

NNA - 2/7/2012 - The Syrian regime is witnessing its final days and playing its last cards to silence the popular Syrian uprise, Member of Parliament Imad Hout told Orient radio on Tuesday.

"The Syrian regime lately escalated its military operations in a bid to subjugate dissidents," he said, foreseeing failure surrounding those attempts.

"This regime is well aware that Russia will not be able to cover-up for its acts for long," Hout added, seeing in this eventuality the reason behind Assad's bulging crackdown on popular protesters.

Moreover, Hout blasted the fact that Russia was exploiting Syrian blood in favor of its regional interests.

"Russia is wagering on bettering its conditions by blackmailing the west. All of this comes at the expense of Syrian bloodshed," Hout added.

The "Jamaa Islamiyah" MP went on to voice his party's support to the Syrian people, en route to their equitable demands.

Touching on most recent Lebanese Army action, witnessed in the North of Lebanon, Hout reminded that the Lebanese Army remained the sole meeting point amongst the Lebanese.

"This requires of the Lebanese Army to preserve the trust of the Lebanese majority. The army's priority ought to be the protection of Lebanese from all sorts of borderline violations," Hout said, suggesting that the Army should initiate deployment operations along the Syrian-Lebanese borderlines "to protect the Lebanese from all sorts of breeches perpetrated at the hands of the Syrian Army."
R.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Islamic-Christian Summit at Beirut archbishopric
 

Tue 7/02/2012 12:36

NNA - 7/2/2012 - Islamic-Christian Summit is currently convening at Beirut Maronite archbishopric on the occasion of Patriarch Beshara Rai holding his pastoral tour to the archbishopric.

A.A.M

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Nahas meets Orthodox Gathering delegation
 

Tue 7/02/2012 12:28

NNA - 7/2/2012 - Economy and Trade Minister Nicolas Nahas received on Tuesday a delegation of the Orthodox Gathering headed by Secretary General Michel Tweini with talks touching on general situation in the country and the electoral project.

The conditions of the Orthodox community and their presence in the administrative institutions also topped talks between conferees.
D.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Manjian: Berri will act soon to solve government crisis
 

Tue 7/02/2012 10:51

NNA - 7/2/2012 - State Minister Panos Manjian on Tuesday confirmed that House Speaker Nabih Berri will soon take action as an attempt to solve the current government crisis, immediately after the return of Premier Najib Mikati from Paris.

He made clear to the Voice of Lebanon radio station that the meeting held in Rabyeh yesterday aimed at voicing support for the Change and Reform's stances within the government.

Manjian reminded that previous governments never reached consensus, assuring that cabinets in the future will also fail to do so.

As for the impact of the Syrian situation on the local scene, Manjian confirmed that the current government was not tied in any way to the Syrian regime.

He accordingly called for keeping distance from the Syrian unrest and allowing the Syrian people to choose its destiny and protect its own interests.
D.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved








 

Politics - Hajjar: No near solution for cabinet crisis
 

Tue 7/02/2012 10:41

NNA - 7/2/2012 - Deputy Mohamad Hajjar stressed that there is no near solution for the cabinet crisis.

"No near solution for the cabinet crisis", Hajjar stressed.

The MP told "Voice of Lebanon" -Freedom and Dignity radio on Tuesday that despite the differences among members , they will continue to stay in government upon the request of the Syrian and Iranian leaderships because their presence will serve them politically.
The MP criticized the logic of Change and Reform bloc ministers and deputies who seek to portray themselves as victims.

"This cabinet is the cabinet of failure and paralysis", the MP stressed.

A.A.M

NNA 2012 All rights reserved








 

Politics - Jarrah: Mikati, Bassil disrupt cabinet for "populace" aims
 

Tue 7/02/2012 10:26

NNA - 7/2/2012 - "Future bloc" member Jamal Jarrah stressed that Prime Minister Najib Mikati and Energy Minister Jebran Bassil aimed at disrupting the cabinet to gain popular support.

The MP stressed that the resignation of Mikati was not in his hand but in the hand of the Syrian power.

"Mikati's resignation is not in his hand but in the hand the power that brought him a PM", the MP told "Voice of Lebanon' radio on Tuesday.

Commenting on the northern border situation, the MP stressed that " the Syrian regime exports its crisis to the outside", pointing out that the Syrian military crowd on the borders was to enter the Lebanese territories in order to create a new reality in Lebanon.

Jarrah said that the Lebanese army was not completely deployed on the borders but in some regions due to some available information that armed elements exist.

"The Syrian army is not on the northern borders", the MP stressed.

Commenting on February 14 occasion, he stressed "it is important to commemorate the anniversary".

A.A.M

NNA 2012 All rights reserved











 

 


Politics - Aswad: It's unwise to dismantle government
 

Tue 7/02/2012 10:24

NNA - 7/2/2012 - Member of Parliament Ziad Aswad told Voice of Lebanon "Voice of Freedom and Dignity" that is unwise to dismantle the government which is headed by Prime Minister Najib Mikati.

But the MP stressed that Mikati has no right to take any decision or position which affects the performance of the government.

"The crisis is not over the administrative appointments in the government but rather in the mentality and trend which all successive governments have followed. We (Free Patriotic Movement) were not part of this authority which ruled the country during late former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri's era. We do not wish to follow the previous pattern," Aswad said.

Asked why his bloc is still in the government, the MP explained that the inter-government marriage is coercive because the situation in the country can't withstand the unfolding developments in the region, warning that the chances of a security setback are very great.

"It is unwise to breakdown the government because if we do this then we will open the door to different unpleasant options," Aswad said.

Aswad stressed that Mikati should realize that he can't rule the country all by himself, adding that the Christians are not ready to "beg" for their rights or be appointed in certain positions.

O.H

NNA 2012 All rights reserved












 

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