Politics - Al-Rai visits a monastery in Harissa
 

Sun 4/12/2011 21:56

NNA - 4/12/2011 - Within the framework of his pastoral visits to monasteries, Maronite Patriarch Bshara Butros Al-Rai visited Sunday "Nuns of Carmel Monastery" in Harissa. Following a little prayer, Al-Rai hailed the important aspects of all monasteries in Lebanon that cater to a life of prayer, silence and austerity. He added that such a life is the source of protection to the nation and the church.
It is to note that the aforementioned Monastery includes 24 nuns from various Christian sects and of different nationalities. Furthermore, it shall celebrate its golden jubilee marking its foundation in Lebanon during the upcoming year 2012.
R.Sh.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Saad holds a luncheon in honor of Cardinal Sfeir
 

Sun 4/12/2011 20:37

NNA - 4/12/2011 - Head of the Lebanese Center for Research and Development, Dr. Antoine Saad, held a luncheon banquet Sunday in honor of Cardinal Nasrallah Sfeir at Fakhreddine Restaurant in Brumana.
In his word honoring the former Patriarch, Saad considered that Sfeir has become a symbol of the liberal word, solid stand, wisdom and patience. He added that throughout Sfeir's presence in Bkirki as Patriarch, he provided valuable guidance and advice leading to the nation's wellbeing, sovereignty, freedom and independence.
Amongst the attending guests who came to honor the Cardinal were: Maronite Patriarch Bshara Al-Rai's representative, Bishop Samir Mazloum; Deputy House Speaker, Farid Mkary; Deputies George Adwan, Nuhad Mashnouq, Mohamad Hajjar, Mustapha Alloush and Ammar Houri; in addition to a number of other prominent political, judicial, military, media and social figures.
In a word in honor of Cardinal Sfeir, MP Mashnouq considered that through his presence, political and moral commitment rose to the level of prayer. He added that Sfeir rendered the Lebanese cause a "message to the world" and along that path came the apostolic guidance, which shall remain for a long time the best accord for Lebanese coexistence between Muslims and Christians, Mashnouq noted.
In turn, MP Adwan considered in his word on behalf of the Lebanese Forces, that Cardinal Sfeir comes to mind whenever politics is viewed as being a "stand and testimony of right." He added that Sfeir is also remembered every day whenever the Lebanese are dawned with awareness that their nation cannot thrive without the coexistence of both Muslims and Christians together, united by their aim for "Lebanon First" and the rise of a strong, stable and independent state.
At the end of the luncheon ceremony, Cardinal Sfeir was presented with the Center's honor shield. In his word of appreciation, Sfeir thanked all attendees for their warm support and words of praise. He raised prayers to the Lord to bless all and light the path leading to the state's rise to a pioneering level amongst other nations.
R.Sh.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Tohme: Change in Syria shall succeed
 

Sun 4/12/2011 19:47

NNA - 4/12/2011 - MP Nidal Tohme stated Sunday that with the developments witnessed on the Syrian internal scene, and their repercussions reflected on the Lebanese northern borders, all security and political officials are urged to secure the protection of Lebanese citizens, as well as Syrian citizens seeking refuge in Lebanon. He also called on all official and popular sides to practice necessary wisdom and insight, so as to provide shelter for brethrens in humanity who have come to seek refuge and safety temporarily inside Lebanon. Tohme hailed, herein, the exemplary role played by the Lebanese Army and all Lebanese security forces in catering to the safety and wellbeing of Syrian refugees.
Tohme went on to note that while maintaining keen concern for ensuring that Lebanon's social duties and obligations are met, he reiterated that the aspired for change in Syria shall succeed eventually. He added that the role of Lebanese citizens is to stand by their Syrian brethrens in achieving their choices, and respect the outcome of said choices no matter what.
Tohme was speaking during his visit Sunday to a number of villages and towns along the Lebanese northern borders, where he checked on the health conditions of a number of injured.
R.Sh.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Siniora and Hariri head to Dubai and Jumblat to Erbil
 

Sun 4/12/2011 19:29

NNA - 4/12/2011 - Former Prime Minister, Fuad Siniora, and MP Bahiya Hariri left Beirut Sunday, heading for Dubai on board a private plane.
National Struggle Front Head, MP Walid Jumblatt, left Beirut Sunday as well to Erbil.
R.Sh.
 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Waleed Jumblatt commemorating his Slain Father
 

Sun 4/12/2011 17:01

N.N.A. Dec.4, 2011 Druze leader Waleed Jumblatt, commemorated his slain father Kamal at his Moukhtara mansion today. Accompanied by family members and senior PSP aides he marched to his father's resting place where he spoke about domestic and regional developments.
Jumblatt's message was loud and clear: The STL would proceed with or without so-called false witnesses and/or Hariri's harsh reply to Hizbullah chief Hasan Nasrullah. Let the Court take its chances to the very end, Jumblatt exclaimed. Albeit, he expressed full appreciation for Hizbollah's apprehensions particularly party's reservations over Court's course of action and politicization.
He however minimized STL's all-out political impact saying it could ultimately turn into a minor detail due to unforeseen events in both Syria and Lebanon such as a sudden outbreak of communitarian strife.
Jumblatt pleaded with his Syrian coreligionists in Jabal al-Arab/Syria not to take sides in insights with Hama, Homs, Der'a and other brethren and seemed inclined toward accepting the Arab initiative; which he described as the key to a Syrian conflict resolution. The Druze chief ultimately rejected out-of-hand any outside interference or prospective internationalization of the conflict.
G.G.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Yazbek opposed to Syrian buffer zones
 

Sun 4/12/2011 15:07

NNA - 04/12/2011 Special Khamena'i representative to Lebanon cleric Muhammad Yazbek expressed vehement opposition to the establishment of "safety zones" in Syria.

The senior Hizbullah cleric dubbed any safety zones detrimental to Arabs and Syrians alike. Yazbek told a Hirmel Ashoura lamentation Council that the zones were an American invention with the sole purpose of fragmenting the region and safeguarding Israel.

He reiterated Iran/Hizbullah consent for reforms, halting of bloodshed and resuming dialogue between the Syrian regime and opposition with the objective of keeping Syria's rebuilding in sight.

G.G.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Arslan pushes for reopening false witnesses file
 

Sun 4/12/2011 15:05

NNA - 04/12/2011 MP Talal Arslan declared Sunday from Hassbaya that PM Mikati, who had to choose between financing the Special Tribunal for Lebanon and stability in the country, has to reopen False Witnesses file.

Head of Lebanese Democratic Party addressed gatherers during the opening of a mini-football stadium in attendance of representative of Youth and Sports Minister Faysal Karami. The STL, probing the 2005 assassination of PM Rafik Hariri, accused 4 Hezbollah members of the crime. Consequently, Hezbollah and allies vehemently objected to the tribunal accusing it of depending on the testimony of false witnesses.

"The PM surpassed the crisis with least amount of damage...hence, saving the stability despite our reservations."

Arslan said that with the arms of Hezbollah no harm can befall Lebanon, describing it as a sibling in the quintuplet of people and army which makes up "a three dimensional epic."

R.Z.
 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Hazim worries over Christians of Occident
 

Sun 4/12/2011 14:34

NNA - 04/12/2011 Head of Special Envoy of the Prime Minister of France for Christian affairs in East said Sunday that the situation of Christians differs from one Arab country to the other, asserting his country's backing of people's freedom after a visit to Patriarch of Antioch and All the East Ignatius IV Hazim in the Patriarchal headquarters in Balamand.

Recent Arab Spring which swept over a number of countries, most recent of which being Syria, alarmed certain men of the cloth of the sensitive situation of Christians in the East.

"We must distinguish between different countries where Christians reside, in Iraq for instance you know the ordeal Christians have been through, and I am worried about the situation in Egypt," said Andre Gauteiron.

He added that he discussed the events in Syria with Hazim, but also focused on other occidental countries.

R.Z.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved
 

Politics - Health Minister Khalil rejects regimentation
 

Sun 4/12/2011 13:41

NNA - 04/12/2011 Minister of Public Health Ali-Hasan Khalil reiterated his rejection of what he termed as "systematic regimentation aimed at domestic stability."

Addressing an Ashoura lamentation council in Kfar-Kila/South Lebanon, the minister added that whoever thinks that chaos and government-downfall come to their aid, would soon realize how self-deluded they are.

Minister Khalil accused pro-Hariris, without naming them, of serving the interests of Israeli foes while working to score points against Asad's regime. He urged alertness on part of all Lebanese in the face of continued Israeli conspiracies and insisted that defending the South was something which concerned us all.

His priorities are: Husein-style reforms, domestic stability and government reactivation at the socio-economic levels. By way of boosting agriculture, minister Khalil promised farmers to buy off all of their olive oil output.

He reiterated government calls for a renewed national dialogue prone to heal internal rifts and chart ways for carrying out genuine Husein-style reforms.
G.G.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Change and Reform Bloc in fierce showdown with system
 

Sun 4/12/2011 13:01

NNA - 04/12/2011 MP Ibrahim Kenaan revealed Saturday that Aounist bloc of Change and Reform is in confrontation with an administration that allowed submission, guardianship, corruption and undermining the dignity and national sovereignty of Lebanon.

Secretary of Change and Reform addressed a pro-Michel Aoun audience during the bloc's annual dinner in Jdeidet Boushriyeh. He alluded to the Aounist ministers' recent boycott of a cabinet session on the pretext that PM Najib Mikati had no right deciding schedule of the meeting.

"I hope that the boycott was a message clearly received...and anyone who thinks he can bypass us or lead us down a road that doesn't take us where we want to go is delusional," said Kenaan.

The MP reiterated that the bloc's demands were constitutional and democratic practices. He held that his bloc was alone in this demand.

R.Z.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Raad: Accomplices in Noose-tightening!
 

Sun 4/12/2011 12:32 NNA - 04/12/2011 Head of the Hizbullah parliamentarian Bloc MP Muhammad Raad referred to oppositionists whom he termed as "certain Lebanese accomplices whose main concern is the tightening of the noose on his party in a bid of returning to power."

Raad's remark came on the 8th day of Ashoura lamentations in the Western Beqaa village of Souhmor. He accused them of striving to control the country by resorting to tactics identical to those used by anti-regime oppositionists in Syria. The MP added that his party would back Asad in liberating the Golan through jihad rather than negotiations by a handful of conspirators."

The deputy professed a failed looming plot thanks to his party's vigilance and confrontational ability. His party's tidal wave would eventually sweep them all and that for the time being all attention must remain focused on Israelis and Americans Raad concluded.
G.G.
 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Saleh: Resistance to strike Israel at right time
 

Sun 4/12/2011 12:27

NNA - 04/12/2011 MP Abed el Majid Saleh stated Sunday that the Resistance would not hesitate to attack Israel if the occasion called for it, adding during an Amal Movement Ashoura council that Lebanon must stand by the army and Resistance.

The Deputy warned that Lebanon was not safe from regional events, and that Israel continued its daily breaches of Lebanese sovereignty.

"[Israel] challenges Lebanese army and resistance," Saleh said, "but who said the Resistance would be too bashful to strike Israel at the right time and situation."

R.Z.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Rahi calls for humility and mercy
 

Sun 4/12/2011 12:12

NNA - 04/12/2011 Maronite Patriarch Beshara Boutros Rahi held Sunday sermon at Resurrection Chapel in Bkirky.

He said that compassion was at the essence of Lebanese society's needs. "We need mercy in our Arab world," Rahi added that people must confess their sins in order to open up to one another.

R.Z.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Charbel says security situation in good shape
 

Sun 4/12/2011 11:41

NNA - 04/12/2011 Interior and Municipalities Minister told Voice of Lebanon radio Sunday that crimes taking place in Lebanon can happen anywhere in the world, and that the situation is secure under the watchful eye of his ministry, which also needed an extra fifty thousand members to control entire country including Dahyeh.

Number of murders, rape, and theft escalated in an alarming manner in recent months. Most recent gruesome crime was the rape and murder of 27 year old Miriam Ashkar at the hands of a Syrian janitor.

"The criminal will be tried [in Lebanon] within three months, and capital punishment is a possibility," said Marwan Charbel, adding that the situation in Lebanese prisons was unhealthy on many levels. He promised that two more prisons were under construction, and that a parliamentary decree was bound to reduce the prison year and give amnesty in certain cases.
Beirut's southern suburb (Dahyeh) was notorious for being under Hezbollah rule, where all government security forces were banned from entering. Charbel denied this, stating that Internal Security Forces have jurisdiction there just like in any part of the country.

The Minister warned of a fifth column attempting to cause strife among Lebanese. He called upon all political factions to rally around a dialogue table, as he ruled out cabinet resignation.

Charbel insisted that he was with funding the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, investigating the murder of PM Rafik Hariri in 2005. "All requests of tribunal's Prosecutor General are carried out in full by Ministry of Interior."

R.Z.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Qassem warns of Western infringement
 

Sun 4/12/2011 11:04

NNA - 04/12/2011 Deputy Secretary General of Hezbollah said during an Ashoura council in Baalbek Sunday that the upcoming phase will witness a number of transgressions by US and Israeli enemy, after both suffered continuous losses in the region, starting from July war of 2006 up till failed Syrian uprising.

On Friday Hezbollah discovered a spying device attempting espionage on their telecommunication network in Srifa and Deir Kifa towns in South Lebanon. An Israeli aerial combat plane launched a strike on the equipment after it became evident it has been uncovered.

Sheikh Naiim Qassem wondered why pro-Hariri March 14 Camp and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon did not condemn the Israeli breach of Lebanese sovereignty. "The upcoming months will witness further infringements in the region," asserted Qassem. He accused the US administration of causing the Syrian uprising attempting to topple rule of Bashar Assad. "When they failed in causing a coup in a week or two, they turned to Arab countries to aid them in furthering the crisis."

The Sheikh asserted that Hezbollah was adamant on building a strong country with strong administration that catered for the needs of citizens.

R.Z.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Al-Rai: The State ought not neglect sectors that cater to the people's needs
 

Sat 3/12/2011 20:21

NNA - 3/12/2011 - Maronite Patriarch Bchara Butros Al-Rai paid a visit Saturday to "Hotel Dieu de France" Hospital, where he checked on the general health conditions of admitted patients, especially his brother who underwent surgery recently.
Following the visit, Al-Rai highlighted its importance, especially during the current festive season, whereby it provided a chance to have a closer look at the health situation of patients and the hospital's general conditions. Al-Rai prayed for the well-being of all patients wherever they are, asking the Lord to bless them and relieve them of their pain. He also addressed a call to state officials to accord more attention and care to improving the general conditions of hospitals and health care centers in Lebanon. He added that the government ought not neglect such health sectors that cater to the people's needs and comfort.
R.Sh.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - (Corrected) Islamic Shari'a Council condones Mikati's "constants"
 

Sat 3/12/2011 17:20

NNA - 3/12/2011 - The Supreme Islamic Council convened under Mufti Mohammad Qabbani to condone Prime Minister Mikati's passing of STL-funding as part of upholding Dar Fatwa High Court's "constants."

Having deliberated over the present political juncture in presence of former Prime Ministers including Fouad Siniora, the Shari'a Council condoned Prime Minister Mikati's passing of STL funding bill as part of seeking the truth surrounding Rafic Hariri's assassination in order to make justice as well as carrying out Lebanon's commitment to the International Community.

The mandate of the present Shari'a Council is to be extended till the 31 of December 2011 pending the holding of future Council elections.

G.G./P.BC.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved







 

Politics - Mikati sticking to Dar Fatwa constants
 

Sat 3/12/2011 16:57

NNA - 3/12/2011 - Grand Mufti of the Republic, Mohammad Qabbani, went to the Serail for a meeting with Prime Minister, Najib Mikati, and head of the Islamic Shari'a Council, Omar Meskawi and delegation.

In his welcoming address, the PM reportedly briefed the Mufti over recent developments bearing on the present domestic and regional political juncture. He reiterated among other things his sticking to what he termed as Dar Fatwa constants.

According to him, those constants pertain to preservation of the country as a whole and Sunni sect in particular.

Mufti Qabbani reportedly responded in in-kind and commended the PM for his decision to fund the Special Tribunal over Lebanon. He concluded that the PM did this out of concern for Lebanon and the Lebanese.

The PM then presided over a ministerial meeting devoted to financial and economic issues.

 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved




















 

Politics - (Updated) Itinerant Baabda visitors, activities today
 

Sat 3/12/2011 16:48

NNA - 3/12/2011 - Marking International Day of the Disabled at Baabda Palace, a delegation of civil society associations met with President Michel Sleiman who commended them for their good work.

The President reportedly added that thanks to them, disabled people could carry out their creative work in society like any standard humans. President Sleiman also said their efforts contribute to helping disabled people integrate into their respective communities.

Delegation members, Pierre Daccache, Salah Harakeh, Hayat Arslan and Tamim Abou Kouroum briefed him over associations' congress due to open on December 13.

A delegation of North Lebanon Dentists headed by Rachelle Doueihi, briefed the President over activities in the North and presented him with a number of demands.

A delegation from the Lebanese Ping-Pong team headed by the winning champion of western Asia, Tivine Momgolian, met with the President.

The President also told a group of runners from the Alternative Annual Marathon at Rashaya Fort south Lebanon, that the pluralistic Lebanese system and the Lebanese constitution must be upheld at all costs.

G.G./P.BC.
 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved














 

Politics - Interior Minister inspects Dbayeh barracks
 

Sat 3/12/2011 16:41

NNA - 3/12/2011 - Minister of the Interior and Municipal Affairs, Marwan Charbel, inspected Dbayeh barracks where he was briefed by the local commanding officer over motorized unit activities.

He also watched a maneuver for the rapid deployment force in presence of Army and Internal Security top brass.

Minister Charbel delivered a word of appreciation and commended the motorized unit for its performance over thousands and thousands of miles of Lebanese territory.

He added that motorized unit furthered our faith in the Lebanese state in quest of permanent stability which is the mainstay of development and progress.

The Minister urged Lebanese politicians to engage in dialogue for the benefit of a bright future and thanked all nations of the world for helping build and equip the Internal Security Forces.

The Minister attended a live drill simulating the freeing of a number of hostages by the rapid deployment force.

Minister Charbel also attended a scenario simulating a terrorist attack on a number of protesters with soldiers affectively dealing with the sources of fire.

General Jabbour of the Dbayeh barracks then presented Minister Charbel with a coat-of-arms in appreciation.

G.G./P.BC.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved
















 

Politics - Ain Tineh itinerants and activities today
 

Sat 3/12/2011 16:24

NNA - 3/12/2011 - Itinerant Ain Tineh visitors for today included a delegation of Muslim clerics headed by Mahmoud Abou el Qate'e who spoke about need for Islamic unity namely the unity of Shias and Sunnis as a necessary prelude for the unity of all Lebanese.

He saw eye-to-eye over the non-implementation of a bill calling for ending familial violence. The cleric regarded law project contrary to the spirit and letter of Islam. He however, expressed support for Berri's position over the STL saying the Almighty One helped him chart the proper position.

He also brought to attention the plight of Palestinian refugees and their basic rights.

Another delegation member, cleric Mohammad Zaghmout, reportedly told Berri that America and its Lebanese agents were conspiring against Syria.

Newly-elected head of Lebanese Cultural University in the World, Masaad Hajal, reportedly discussed with the speaker Lebanese expats' problems and suggested ways for dealing with them.

He spoke about need for teaching expats the Arabic language as a means for strengthening their attachment to the motherland.

In the meantime, congratulatory cables on Independence Day belatedly came forth from Iraqi Prime Minister, Nour Maliki, Syrian Prime Minister Adel Safar, and Jordanian Prime Minister, Aoun Khasaouni.

The Speaker cabled congratulations to newly-elected Tunisian counterpart Mostafa Bin Jaafar for his assumption of the speakership.

G.G./P.BC.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


















 

Politics - Itinerant Baabda visitors, activities today
 

Sat 3/12/2011 15:36

NNA - 3/12/2011 - Marking International Day of the Disabled at Baabda Palace, a delegation of civil society associations met with President Michel Sleiman who commended them for their good work.

The President reportedly added that thanks to them, disabled people could carry out their creative work in society like any standard humans. President Sleiman also said their efforts contribute to helping disabled people integrate into their respective communities.

Delegation members, Pierre Daccache, Salah Harakeh, Hayat Arslan and Tamim Abou Kouroum briefed him over associations' congress due to open on December 13.

A delegation of North Lebanon Dentists headed by Rachelle Doueihi, briefed the President over activities in the North and presented him with a number of demands.

A delegation from the Lebanese Ping-Pong team headed by the winning champion of western Asia, Tivine Momgolian, met with the President.

G.G./P.BC.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved










 

Politics - Islamic Shari'a Council condones Mikati's "constants"
 

Sat 3/12/2011 15:21

NNA - 3/12/2011 - The Supreme Islamic Council convened under Mufti Mohammad Qabbani to condone Prime Minister Mikati's passing of STL-funding as part of upholding Dar Fatwa High Court's "constants."

Having deliberated over the present political juncture in presence of former Prime Ministers including Fouad Siniora, the Shari'a Council condoned Prime Minister Mikati's passing of STL funding bill as part of seeking the truth surrounding Rafic Hariri's assassination in order to make justice as well as carrying out Lebanon's commitment to the International Community.

The Islamic Shari'a Council also extended the mandate of the present Mufti till the 31 of December 2011 pending the holding of future Council elections.

G.G./P.BC.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved

 

 

 


Politics - Mansour restating government position
 

Sat 3/12/2011 14:45

NNA - 3/12/2011 - Minister of Foreign Affairs, Adnan Mansour, restated government position saying it preferred non-funding rather than cabinet downfall.

Interviewed on Voice of Lebanon radio station, the Minister indicated Hizbullah's non-intervention in the STL funding process. He also indicated House Speaker Nabih Berri's position which kept the Mikati cabinet afloat.

He added that Berri was the real architect of a political compromise which salvaged the present political situation regardless of his reservations over Court. Berri still retains reservations over Court performance, he retorted.

Mansour disclosed that STL Prosecutor-General blackmailed government officials in the event of withholding STL funding saying Lebanon would become liable to sanctions so did the accredited ambassadors.

He voiced deep apprehension over repercussions that Lebanese sanctions on Syria might entail and that he remained in contact with Syrian counterpart Mouallem to coordinate on such matters.

The Minister disclosed a comprehensive file of so-called espionage reported in the making and that a final decision to summon US ambassadress Connelly to villa Bustros is yet to be made. Mansour, who vigorously condemned the firing of rockets into Israel from the south, described it as the work of mere individuals.

G.G./P.BC.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved













 

Politics - Minister Ghosn to boost army defensive capabilities
 

Sat 3/12/2011 13:56

NNA - 3/12/2011 - National Defense Minister, Fayez Ghosn, vowed to boost Lebanese army defensive capabilities during a meeting with Greek-Orthodox Patriarch, Ignatius IV Hazim today.

Following his meeting with the Patriarch, he told newsmen that he was seeking the prelate's benediction and wisdom. He indicated that the Patriarch shared with him values about the rule of law and paramount state role in domestic politics.

He also spoke about unity of the Orthodox denomination in particular and unity of the Lebanese at large.

The Minister disclosed that the Military establishment managed to procure a sizable chunk of the annual budget since in his words, the army remains to be the custodian of national independence and unity.

G.G./P.BC.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - (Corrected) Saleh: joint stability between Lebanon and Syria
 

Sat 3/12/2011 13:55

NNA - 03/12/2011 Amal Movement MP Abed al Majid Saleh said Saturday that security of Lebanon is one and the same as that of Syria.

During an Ashoura ceremony for the Movement in Homein locality in South Lebanon, the Deputy had an audience with party officials and affiliates.

"The attempt to breed a new Middle East was aborted by the Resistance in 2006, and it will fail again," predicted Saleh.

The MP was outraged at Arab countries withdrawing their ambassadors from Syria, confirming that said country was subjected to an international conspiracy, and it was up to Lebanon to stand by its neighbor.

R.Z.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Homayed supports Syria
 

Sat 3/12/2011 13:49

NNA - 03/12/2011 Development and Liberation bloc member, MP Ayoub Homayed, stated Saturday Amal Movement's full support of Bashar Assad.

The Syrian uprising put in the spotlight allies of Bashar Assad in Lebanon, who continuously shore up their backing of the Baath regime in light of Arab League sanctions on the neighboring country.

"This black cloud will go away, it has to end, and Syria will be strong again," said the MP.
R.Z.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Saleh: joint stability between Lebanon and Syria
 

Sat 3/12/2011 13:43

NNA - 03/12/2011 Amal Movement MP Abed al Majid Saleh said Saturday that security of Lebanon is one and the same as that of Syria.

During an Aoushar ceremony for the Movement in Homein locality in South Lebanon, the Deputy had an audience with party officials and affiliates.

"The attempt to breed a new Middle East was aborted by the Resistance in 2006, and it will fail again," predicted Saleh.

The MP was outraged at Arab countries withdrawing their ambassadors from Syria, confirming that said country was subjected to an international conspiracy, and it was up to Lebanon to stand by its neighbor.

R.Z.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Mashnouq: Asad's green light for STL-funding!
 

Sat 3/12/2011 12:56

NNA - 3/12/2011 - March 14 deputy of the House Nuhad Mashnouq, described Hasan Nasrallah's most recent speech as tension-ridden and that STL-funding was decided by Asad of Syria himself.

Interviewed on Voice of Lebanon radio station, the MP regarded the STL option as a fully-acquired right of all Lebanese and constituted the sole venue leading to justice including the resumption of normal political life and cessation of political assassinations.

He attributed the realization of the funding issue to a build-up in domestic, regional and international pressure coming to bear on Miqati in due course.

Mashnouq described the government as being simultaneously confrontational towards oppositionists while serving as a Syrian asset for an increasingly embattled Asad regime. He opted for a resistant state rather than one political group posing as a party of resistance.

The deputy downplayed the significance of any domestic dialogue under constant threat of Hizbullah weapons and growing home-grown anti-regime revolution. Rather than wasting time on signing cooperation protocols with the Syrian government, Masnouq concluded that the Miqati government must resolve to hand over those convicted in Hariri's murder to the STL.

G.G./P.BC.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Raad furious at STL funding
 

Sat 3/12/2011 11:10

NNA - 03/12/2011 Hezbollah MP Mohammad Raad said Saturday that March 14 Camp is upset with funding of Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL), because their aim is to blackmail the Resistance and reassume power.

Funding of the STL was a huge issue of disagreement among pro-Hariri March 14 bloc and pro-Hezbollah March 8 camp. The tribunal accused 4 members of the Resistance of assassination of PM Rafik Hariri in 2005 along with 22 others.
"March 14 camp is driven by its power project and is ready to extend a hand to all the villains of the world to reassume power," said Raad, who later described the STL as sponsored by Satan and "could reach neither justice nor truth."

R.Z.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Mufti Shaar: Mikati's stance is heroic
 

Sat 3/12/2011 10:51

NNA 03/12/2011 At the inauguration ceremony of a specialized medical center in the district of Saint Maroun in Tripoli Friday, Mufti of Tripoli and North Lebanon, Malek Shaar, welcomed PM Mikati's position on the financing of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL), describing it as s "heroic and courageous" decision upon which the stability of the country depended.

Minister Ahmad Karami represented the head of government during said celebration.

The Mufti said the PM continuously maintained that the financing of the STL, probing 2005 assassination of PM Rafik Hariri, represented an important turning point in terms of justice.
 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - President Sleiman patronizes late President Moawad's commemoration
 

Fri 2/12/2011 21:49

NNA - 2/12/2011 - President of the Republic Michel Sleiman patronized on Friday the commemoration of late Lebanese President Rene Moawad in an official and popular ceremony at the Conventions Palace in Dbayeh, under the title of "Our blooming spring... your dream is being set free."

The late martyr was the President of Lebanon for 17 days in 1989, from the 5th to the 22nd of November, when he was assassinated by unknown hands.

Attending the celebration was Vice Prime Minister Samir Mokbel representing President Michel Sleiman, House Speaker Nabih Berri, and Prime Minister Najib Mikati. Former President Amine Gemayel, Former Prime Minister Fouad Siniora, Cardinal Mar Nasrallah Boutros Sfeir, as well as a huge number of official figures and dignitaries attended the event.

Speaking on the occasion, Maronite Cardinal Mar Nasrallah Boutros Sfeir harked back to the late President's great trust in the Lebanese people and hopes.

"We deeply regret the absence of this radiant face which left us so early. The nation only survives by a martyr's blood which waters its tree," Sfeir said.

"He was entrusted with our nation and hopes, and he was fully trusted with Lebanon and its values," he added.

In turn, the late President's son, "Independence Movement" leader Michel Mouwad, refused to succumb to any foreign custody, asserting the Christian people's doggedness to remain on Lebanese territories.

"Justice is only achieved in tribunals and sometimes comes as the consequence of revolutions," he said, affirming that Lebanon shall ever remain a free, independent and democratic Arab state.

"Everything that has been imposed on us by force will not last. The Arab Spring needs us as much as we need it to give Lebanon back its stolen identity," Moawad added.

Noted for his moderate views, Moawad had given some citizens hope that the long civil war in Lebanon could be ended. He was an example of non-violence and accepting the other in the Arab world, his culture of non-confrontation and troubleshooting conflict and his courage led all of the Lebanese parties to accept him as a president to end the war.

Before he died, Moawad had addressed the nation with these words: "There can be no country or dignity without unity of the people, and there can be no unity without agreement, and there can be no agreement without conciliation, and there can be no conciliation without forgiveness and compromise."
R.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - (Update) Mikati: Lebanon triumphed by funding STL
 

Fri 2/12/2011 20:48

NNA - 2/12/2011 Prime Minister Najib Mikati stressed that Lebanon triumphed by the decision taken to finance Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL), where it managed to address this deadline with a sense of responsibility in service of justice.

Premier Mikati was speaking during his inauguration of 55 round of International Arab Beirut Book Fair at Biel Center, organized by Arab Cultural Club in cooperation with Lebanese Publishers' Union.
Attending the inaugural ceremony have been Future Bloc Head Fouad Siniora, representing former Prime Minister Saad Hariri, Public Works and Transportation Minister Ghazi Aridi, Information Minister Walid Daouk and Culture Minister Gaby Layyoun, in addition to National News Agency Director Laure Sleiman, and diplomatic, cultural, media, military and political dignitaries.
Mikati also noted in his address that the real accomplishment will be realized once the international society meets its obligations towards Lebanon and once we preserve our nation's interests and boosting our civil march.
Mikati stressed that folding the chapter of Tribunal funding constitutes an episode of government work loaded with deadlines, pledging that a jam-packed government workshop shall be soon re-launched, in accordance with the priorities set by the ministerial council.
--------------L.Y

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Berri, interlocutors tackle current issues
 

Fri 2/12/2011 19:12


NNA - 2/12/2011 Speaker of the House Nabih Berri met with "National Dialogue Party" Head Fouad Makhzoumi where they tackled current issues on the local arena.
On emerging, Makhzoumi said he briefed the Speaker on the outcome of his Arab tour including Syria and Saudi Arabia. Talks also dwelt on pending social issues and daily living matters, stressing the importance of finding adequate solutions to standing concerns.
Makhzoumi also hoped that Lebanon will dissociate itself from what is currently taking place in the region, lauding the Speaker's role as a 'safe valve' to the nation.
On the other hand, Berri met with Eritrean Ambassador to Lebanon, residing in Saudi Arabia, Mohammed Omar Mahmoud and Consul Abdullah Matraji where they boarded bilateral relations.
Greek Catholic Metropolitan of Beirut Kerillus Selim Boustros also visited Berri Friday at Ein Tineh residence.
Kerillus underlined on emerging the importance of national unity, coexistence and opennes on all the world, saying Lebanon cannot be a small island isolated from the world.
Kerillus also hoped that Christian-Muslim society would continue seeking national unity while sparing the Country futile crises, urging all the Lebanese to place their country's supreme interest above any other personal calculation.
---------------L.Y

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Mikati meets Telecoms, Labor Ministers
 

Fri 2/12/2011 19:11

NNA - 2/12/2011 - Prime Minister Najib Mikati on Friday met at the Grand Serail with both Ministers of Telecommunications and Labor, who left without giving any statement.

R.A.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Abu Faour heaps praise on STL funding
 

Fri 2/12/2011 18:50

NNA - 2/12/2011 - Minister of Social Affairs, Wael Abu Faour, on Friday hailed what he termed "the courageous" step by Prime Minister Najib Mikati to settle on the long-simmering issue of funding the Special Tribunal for Lebanon.

Mikati had announced early Wednesday that the government paid its thirty-two-million USD portion of funding STL, a UN-backed court probing the 2005 assassination of statesman Rafik Hariri.

Abu Faour, also a member of Walid Jumblatt's National Struggle Front parliamentary bloc, did not fail to extol the efforts of House Speaker, Nabih Berri, a key player in the endeavors to finance STL.

He hoped that this decision would pave the way for the best inter-Lebanese relations, reckoning that it eschewed an uneven battle between Lebanon and the international community.

He corroborated that the funding decision was neither a victory nor a defeat to any party whosoever.

But the Minister was keen to maintain that Lebanon could not be deprived from its power points, namely the Resistance.

"The balance, which the Resistance had set in the South, is the sole mean to protect Lebanon from any likely Israeli aggression," he said.

He then renewed calls to resume an all-embracing national dialogue over a defense strategy, prone to cast aside citizens' fears on one hand, and contain the weapons of the Resistance on the other.

Abu Faour made these remarks during his patronizing today a training session on the rights of people with special needs, in Masabki Hotel, Shtoura.



R.A.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - (corrected)False witnesses dossier unsubstantiated, says N. Gemayel
 

Fri 2/12/2011 18:13

NNA - 2/12/2011 - Member of Parliament Nadim Gemayel on Friday said the false witnesses issue was void and unsubstantiated, in a backlash at Hezbollah Secretary General, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, who yesterday placed PM Mikati before the forefront responsibility of addressing this dossier.

Speaking to journalists following his meeting with Beirut Maronite Archbishop, Boulos Matar, Ashrafieh Deputy said the government was threatened of collapse many times, down to disagreement among its members.

But he commended the decision of Prime Minister Najib Mikati to fund the Special Tribunal for Lebanon.

"It is indeed a good and important decision for Lebanon to preserve its stability and credibility towards the international community," he said.

Prime Minister Najib Mikati announced early Wednesday that the government paid its thirty-two-million USD portion of funding STL, a UN-backed court probing the 2005 assassination of statesman Rafik Hariri.



R.A.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Mikati: Lebanon triumphed by funding STL
 

Fri 2/12/2011 18:02

NNA - 2/12/2011 Prime Minister Najib Mikati stressed that Lebanon triumphed by the decision taken to finance Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL), where it managed to address this deadline with a sense of responsibility in service of justice.

Premier Mikati was speaking during his inauguration of 55 round of International Arab Beirut Book Fair at Biel Center in Beirut.

STL is a UN-backed court probing the assassination of late Statesman Rafic Hariri and other related crimes.
Mikati stressed that folding the chapter of Tribunal funding constitutes an episode of government work loaded with deadlines, pledging that a jam-packed government workshop shall be soon re-launched, in accordance with the priorities set by the ministerial council.
--------------L.Y

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Siniora, Turkish diplomat meet
 

Fri 2/12/2011 18:02

NNA - 2/12/2011 - Head of Future parliamentary bloc, MP Fouad Siniora, on Friday broached the current situation in Lebanon and the broader Arab region, with Turkish ambassador.

The meeting took place at Siniora's office in Sadat Tower Building.


R.A.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - False witnesses dossier unsubstantiated, says N. Gemayel
 

Fri 2/12/2011 18:00

NNA - 1/12/2011 - Member of Parliament Nadim Gemayel on Friday said the false witnesses issue was void and unsubstantiated, in a backlash at Hezbollah Secretary General, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, who yesterday placed PM Mikati before the forefront responsibility of addressing this dossier.

Speaking to journalists following his meeting with Beirut Maronite Archbishop, Boulos Matar, Ashrafieh Deputy said the government was threatened of collapse many times, down to disagreement among its members.

But he commended the decision of Prime Minister Najib Mikati to fund the Special Tribunal for Lebanon.

"It is indeed a good and important decision for Lebanon to preserve its stability and credibility towards the international community," he said.

Prime Minister Najib Mikati announced early Wednesday that the government paid its thirty-two-million USD portion of funding STL, a UN-backed court probing the 2005 assassination of statesman Rafik Hariri.



R.A.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Geagea counters Nasrallah: Why to accept funding Israeli STL?
 

Fri 2/12/2011 17:33

NNA - 02/12/2011 - Lebanese Forces Head Samir Geagea countered on Friday Hizbullah leader Sayyid Hassan Nasrallah in the latter's speech yesterday, asking why Hizbullah accepted the government's financing an Israeli or U.S.-made tribunal.

"Had the tribunal been an Israeli or politicized, as Hizbullah says, shouldn't Hizbullah governmental members have resigned and collapsed Mikati-led cabinet?"

Geagea warned of Hizbullah's gaining materialistic benefits from Mikati, notably in the administrative appointments issue, in return of paying the STL's dues.
A.M>

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Mikati attends Friday prayer in Tripoli
 

Fri 2/12/2011 17:12

NNA - 2/12/2011 - Prime Minister Najib Mikati today attended Friday prayer, chaired by Tripoli Mufti Malek Chaar, at Al-Mansouri Mosque.

In his sermon, the Mufti hailed the funding of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, a step that he deemed as "national."

"The Prime Minister saved Lebanon's unity and security," he reckoned.

Prime Minister Najib Mikati announced early Wednesday that the government paid its thirty-two-million USD portion of funding STL, a UN-backed court probing the 2005 assassination of statesman Rafik Hariri.

Mufti Chaar underlined that Mikati proceeded in compliance with Islamic and national principles, and that he [Mikati] met Dar-al-Fatwa call.

A few months ago, Dar-al-Fatwa hosted an all-embracing gathering, under the chairmanship of Mufti of the Republic, Sheikh Mohammad Rashid Qabbani, for Lebanon's Sunnite leaders. Mikati renewed, in the wake of the meeting, his holding onto national principles and support for STL funding.

Earlier today, Mikati received at his residence in Tripoli a panel of popular delegations from North Lebanon.



R.A.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Qahwaji's itinerants today
 

Fri 2/12/2011 16:51

NNA - 2/12/2011 - Lebanese Army Chief, General Jean Qahwaji, on Friday met with General Security Chief, Brigadier Abbas Ibrahim, over the means to boost joint security cooperation.

He later met with political writer Joseph Bou Fadel.

A delegation of Caracalla dance group had also been to Yarzeh today for a meeting with Qahwaji.



R.A.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Security situation composed, stable: Charbel
 

Fri 2/12/2011 16:46

NNA - 2/12/2011 - Minister of Interior and Municipalities, Marwan Charbel, on Friday avowed that the security situation was stable and composed and that security apparatuses were keen on assuming their role.

The Minister chaired today at his ministerial office a meeting for Internal Security Forces' chiefs and commanders, whom he exhorted to intensify efforts so as to proof the internal arena.

He also said the ISF institution was built upon discipline and laws implementation evenly among citizens.

He highlighted the obligation to sidestep ISF from politics.


R.A.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - S. Hariri comments on Nasrallah's yesterday speech
 

Fri 2/12/2011 16:45

NNA - 02/12/2011 - The Tribunal has been funded, and one thousand similar speeches will not abolish the recognition by the Lebanese state of the Tribunal and its track, said former Prime Minister Saad Hariri.
Commenting on the speech given yesterday by Hezbollah's Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, the press office of former Prime Minister Saad Hariri stresses the following:
"What we heard yesterday was just a long list of discontents, which require us to make the following comments:
First, Sayyed Hassan appeared very upset by the Future movement and by the political campaigns of the movement's MPs, to which he tried to give a religious and sectarian aspect, thereby denying the fact that they are national positions that express the rejection by a large number of Lebanese of the hegemony of the weapons.
His focus on what he claims to be a sectarian aspect of the political and popular movements in both Lebanon and Syria, and linking them in a pure sectarian frame, are words that we refuse and will not find in the Arab spring people who will believe them.
Second, the speech expressed a deep irritation towards the Future movement's Tripoli Rally, which was a regional rally dedicated to Tripoli and the North, and not a central rally of the March 14th forces, unlike what he wanted to insinuate. And the speeches that were delivered rose to the level of confronting the major issues in the country, and did not drift, as he wanted to hear and read yesterday, into any form of sectarian discourse.
Third, the speech also expressed, with an unprecedented bitterness and sourness, his unlimited discontent with former Prime Minister Saad Hariri, and it seemed that the words "Saad Hariri" were stuck in Sayyed Hassan's throat and he kept repeating them all through his speech.
He said that Premier Saad Hariri worked day and night to disrupt the Saudi-Syrian initiative, and then he says in another section of his speech that he is personally responsible of disrupting the initiative, and that he personally informed the Qatari Prime Minister and Turkish Foreign Minister of the rejection.
The indisputable fact is that former Prime Minister Saad Hariri wanted the initiative to be to the level of a national reconciliation, which would transfer Lebanon from the stage of weapons hegemony on national life, to a stage of balanced authority, where no group would dominate another, and where weapons would not be used to impose political conditions. The initiative ended, in all cases, few months before the fall of one of its two essential pillars. Former Prime Minister Hariri is in the natural position that expresses the will of the majority of the Lebanese and provides the required protection to the path of the tribunal and of justice. The stories that were repeated yesterday have become remnants of a stage long gone, and Premier Hariri will not get into the debate of revealing documents preserved by the morals of statesmen who tried, with kings, presidents and senior officials, to reach real reconciliation and forgiveness to protect Lebanon.
Fourth, yesterday's speech also reveals the extent of distress from the political size of Saad Hariri, to the extent of assuming that the proposals of Qatar's Prime Minister and Turkey's Foreign Minister, were leading to hand the country to Saad Hariri and his political team. This is a false and untrue assumption altogether. Sayyed Hassan knows, even if he didn't admit it, that the decision to topple Premier Hariri's government was taken in a meeting between him (Nasrallah) and President Bashar al-Assad, and that all he did was to inform the Qatari Prime Minister and the Turkish Minister of Foreign Affairs of this decision. And the result was conspiring to designate Prime Minister Najib Mikati and circumvent the parliamentary majority, and organize a political and security campaign that ended in handing over the country and the political authority to the hegemony of Hezbollah.
Fifth: The speech expressed the deep disturbance resulting from funding the Special tribunal. And he knows that his saying that the funding should have come from Arab and non Arab donations rather than from the pockets of the Lebanese, does not make any sense legally or constitutionally, because the funding has taken place, and he contributed to that, and because any donation received by the State requires the approval of the Council of ministers, and becomes therefore integral part of the public money, which is the money of the Lebanese people.
And the discomfort appears also in the fact that he blamed Prime Minister Najib Mikati and pretended to be surprised and shocked by the funding and the way it occurred, and then asked the prime minister to trade the funding against a series of political and administrative conditions that benefit him and the Free Patriotic Movement. And this plunges the country again in a climate of political tension, which he claimed that he was avoiding, while he is drawing the country into it with every word he utters.
And last but not least, Sayyed Hassan reiterates his irritation from the Special Tribunal and his rejection of it, and accuses it again of being an Israeli and American court.
The question that comes to the mind of any ordinary Lebanese citizen and especially to the mind of the partisans of Hezbollah is: How does the leadership of the party, its secretary general, and its Shura Council give cover to the funding of a tribunal that they say is Israeli?? Is it not logical after this to say that the funding of a Tribunal that they say is Israeli is a national treason, and requires a referral of those providing a cover to it to the Lebanese judiciary, and the accusation of those who accept to stay in a government that funded it of being false witnesses?
Sayyed, you were wrong to use this description, less than 24 hours after the decision to fund was taken by a government that you sponsor, and you were wrong again in putting the issue in an exchange with administrative and non-administrative matters.
The truth remains that the Special Tribunal has been funded, and one thousand similar speeches will not abolish the recognition by the Lebanese state of the Tribunal and its track".
 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Deputy Assistant Secretary Kelly Clements Completes Visit to Lebanon
 

Fri 2/12/2011 16:35

NNA - 2/12/2011 - A statement by the US embassy on Friday read the following:

"Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Population, Refugee, and Migration Affairs Kelly Clements completed her visit to Lebanon today where she met with senior officials to discuss and monitor the status of Palestinian and Iraqi refugees and Syrians present in Lebanon. This was Ms. Clements' first visit to Lebanon as Deputy Assistant Secretary.
Today, Ms. Clements visited the Naher el-Bared Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon where she surveyed progress made in reconstruction efforts and met with residents and non-governmental representatives at the camp. As the largest bilateral donor to United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), the U.S. government provided $249 million for UNRWA's regional programs this year in addition to $119 million the United States has provided over the past four years to rebuild and develop the Naher el-Bared Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon. Ms. Clements also visited the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) field office in Qobayat.
Ms. Clements had meetings yesterday with Minister of Social Affairs Wael Abou Faour, Higher Relief Council Secretary General General Ibrahim Bachir, and senior officials from UNHCR and UNRWA.
In her meetings, Ms. Clements underscored the important responsibility of Lebanon and the international community to address the humanitarian needs and to ensure the safety of Syrians who have fled to Lebanon. She reiterated the United States' continuing commitment to Palestinian and Iraqi refugees in the region. Ms. Clements further renewed the commitment of the United States to a stable, sovereign and independent Lebanon."
 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Moussawi sees anti-US movements growing wider
 

Fri 2/12/2011 16:33

NNA - 1/12/2011 - Hezbollah official Ammar Moussawi on Friday noted that new equations were being set on the level of transnational relations and that anti-US movements were growing wider.

He reckoned that the US "monopolization" of international decisions and resolutions was increasingly shaken and socked.

Moussawi made these remarks during his meeting today with Cuban ambassador, Manuel Acosta, who couched his country's siding with Syria.

"The US may be fanning new crises in many regions worldwide to conceal its fiascos and flops," a statement by Hezbollah press office quoted Moussawi as saying.



R.A.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Wehbe sees STL funding decision Syria-made
 

Fri 2/12/2011 15:42


NNA - 2/12/2011 - Member of Parliament Amine Wehbe on Friday said the decision to fund the Special Tribunal for Lebanon was made by Syria, considering the need of President Bashar Assad-led regime for the [Lebanese] incumbent government.

Prime Minister Najib Mikati announced early Wednesday that the government paid its thirty-two-million USD portion of funding STL, a UN-backed court probing the 2005 assassination of statesman Rafik Hariri.

Future bloc member did not fail to renew calls upon the government to hand the four indicted before justice.

An indictment by the STL, issued last June and publicized in August, accused four Hezbollah members. But the party denied any involvement and said the court was politicized and serving an Israeli agenda.

As stressing that the paramount battle of March 14 forces was to reach a formula prone to restitute to the state its sovereignty, Wehbe maintained that the main wrangling was over the long-simmering weapons issue.

He hence reiterated the obligation that the state solely was entitled to detain arms.

"Our aspiration as politicians is to build an independent and effective state; that is only feasible through an all-inclusive participation and a minimum agreement over power rotation," he said.

Besides, the Deputy termed the false witnesses' issue as "political par excellence."

Hezbollah Secretary General, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, yesterday echoed his allies' unswerving cleaving to the necessity to address the dossier of false witnesses, who allegedly mislead investigation into Rafik Hariri's killing. He urged PM Mikati to include this item on top of the next cabinet session's agenda and to refer it to the Higher Judicial Council.



R.A.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved
 

 


























 

 

Politics - STL funding comes after keenness on civil peace
 

Fri 2/12/2011 15:33

NNA - 02/12/2011 - Deputy Hani Qobeissi said it was good to pay the Special Tribunal for Lebanon's dues, as the payment lied in the context of striving for preserving local civil peace and stability and safeguarding the country from any sort of strife.

Qobeissi criticized the Islamic Countries Organization's stance of imposing sanctions on Syria, knowing that it did not take any position against Israel when the latter occupied Arab regions and enlarged the scope of colonization in occupied Palestine.

The Deputy criticized the international community, which had nothing to do except punishing the countries which stood in face of the Israeli enemy.

"All issued decisions against Syria are oppressive and aim to set a new colonization in the region," said Qobeissi.
 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Mansour activities today
 

Fri 2/12/2011 14:41


NNA - 2/12/2011 Foreign Affairs and Expatriates Minister Adnan Mansour convened Friday with the General Director of the South Council Hashem Haidar.

Later on, Mansour met with the Dean of Consular Corps in Lebanon Joseph Hbeis and discussed with him consular affairs.



L.W.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Sleiman: Democracy gives each his due
 

Fri 2/12/2011 14:37

NNA - 2/12/2011 - President of the Republic Michel Sleiman said Democracy is the component that preserves the rights of humans in general, were they individuals or groups, giving each his due, justly.

Sleiman said on the International Day for Abolition of Slavery that it is no more acceptable in this 21st century, as globalization, IT and telecommunications have invaded the world, that some people keep clinging to past centuries' mentality.

"Adopting democracy as states' comprehensive regime can eradicate this phenomenon in countries which need to catch up with the growth, culture, and human relations' respect adopted in some others," he said.

As for the President's Friday activities, Sleiman tackled with the Foreign Affairs and Expatriates Minister Adnan Mansur general conditions, as well as Lebanon's relations with other countries.

Also, the President went over latest developments at the local arena with Deputy Michel Pharaon.

Separately, the Lebanese Army Commander, General Jean Kahwaji, paid a visit to the Head of State dwelling on the security situation in the country as well as on the available information regarding the rockets launched Monday from Lebanon towards the occupied territories.

The military institution's affairs were the center of discussions between Sleiman and Kahwaji.

Amongst Baabda's visitors was also a delegation of researchers from the American University's faculties concerned with reducing smoking and shedding light on its negative impacts and threats on people's health.

The delegation called for putting into action the applicable laws, and implementing the decision to ban smoking in public places.

Eventually, Sleiman received the newly appointed Greek and Philippine Ambassadors to Lebanon who handed him their credentials.
D.K.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Berri, Khazen tackle recent developments
 

Fri 2/12/2011 14:35

NNA - 2/12/2011 House Speaker Nabih Berri received Friday at Ain-El-Tineh Maronite General Council Head, former Minister Wadih Khazen.

Talks touched on the latest recent developments.

Khazen hailed Berri's insistence to resuming national dialogue committee deeming this event as a bearer of positive repercussions on Lebanon.


L.W.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - A.Aoun: STL adoption illegal
 

Fri 2/12/2011 14:25

NNA - 2/12/2011 MP Alain Aoun said Friday that adopting STL under Chapter VII of the international law is illegal.

Change and Reform bloc member said that the assassination of statesman Rafic Hariri does not fall within the scope of jeopardizing security and international peace.

"In his report, the Tribunal's Secretary General has classified it as an individual terrorism crime," the MP told LBCI television channel.

Aoun went on to say that even if Lebanon does respect international resolutions it cannot, for instance, approve Palestinian naturalization if international community imposes it.

There shall be a new starting point for the government especially after that STL issue has passed, he said.

Aoun considered it necessary to have wages, infrastructure, administrative appointments, and budget dossiers be handled.

On the topic of Syrian events, Aoun said majority is handling this issue with major responsibility so as to lessen repercussions' impact on Lebanese scene.

"As Lebanon shall be the last state to sign peace with Israel, it shall also be the last state to be hostile to Syria," he said.


L.W.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Majdalani: government's continuity more than necessary to Syria
 

Fri 2/12/2011 14:10

NNA - 02/12/2011 - Deputy Atef Majdalani said the continuity of the present government was more than necessary with respect to the Syrian regime, explaining that the decision to finance the Special Tribunal for Lebanon came by an order from said regime.

Majdalani's stance came on Friday in the context of an interview on Al-Jadeed Television.

He said the deterioration of the security condition in the region led Hizbullah to retreat from the funding issue regarding the STL - probing the assassination of Martyr Rafic Hariri and related crimes.
 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Roknabadi from A. Khalil's: sanctions on Syria fruitless
 

Fri 2/12/2011 13:48

NNA - 02/12/2011 - The Iranian Ambassador Ghazanfar Roknabadi wondered at the U.S. administration's performance in imposing sanctions on Syria, explaining that these sanctions would lead to no result.

The ambassador's stance came on Friday after meeting with the Public Health Minister Ali Hassan Khalil at the latter's office.

Roknabadi said the administration behaved as if it were in the 20th century. It must look into supporting the just cases and the truth in the world, which are the principles of the Islamic Republic of Iran, said the ambassador.

 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Rahi tackles developments with Khazen, follows up pastoral affairs
 

Fri 2/12/2011 13:01

NNA - 2/12/2011 - Maronite Patriarch Bechara Boutros Rahi tackled local developments with the Deputy Farid Al-Khazen who visited him Friday at Bkirki Patriarchate.

Later on, Patriarch Rahi received the new Secretary General of the Catholic Churches, priest Boutros Azar, in presence of the former Secretary General Marwan Tabet, with talks featuring high on educational affairs.

Moreover, Rahi headed a series of administrative and pastoral meetings held with several patriarchal committees, institutions and boards.
D.K.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Khreis: Our alliance with Syria is strategic
 

Fri 2/12/2011 12:16

NNA - 2/12/2011 - Deputy Ali Khreis stressed that March 8 alliance with Syria is strategic.

The MP said that their alliance with Syria would remain as long as "Israel is on our borders", stressing that Syria would emerge from this crisis and become stronger than before.

Khreis said at Ashoura Council in Zrariyeh Village that the unfolding events in the Arab region are a clear U.S. scheme to divide the region into statelets so that the country will be in the hand of America and its allies.

Commenting on the situation in Lebanon, Khreis said "thanks to Speaker of the House Nabih Berri and the honorable patriots, the cabinet overcame the crisis".

The MP called on the partners in Lebanon to resort to dialogue.

A.A.M

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Bazzi: accordance is our destiny
 

Fri 2/12/2011 11:26

NNA - 2/12/2011- "Development and Liberation" parliamentary bloc member Deputy Ali Bazzi stressed that they are in need for a political speech which set grounds to restore communication, understanding and dialogue among all Lebanese, adding that step would result in formulating national agreement. Bazzi considered that the Lebanese are destined to reach accord.

Speaking in Mais Al-Jabal, Bazzi said," what happened yesterday was a victory for Lebanon and everybody�" The MP called for turning the page because a lot of economic, social and administrative problems are waiting for solutions in this country. It is worth noting that the cabinet approved yesterday (Thursday) funding the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL).

Bazzi explained that Lebanon and the region are currently undergoing a dangerous political situation which demand "utmost level of awareness and wisdom to preserve all the accomplishments and higher interests of our country and people."

L.Y.R/N.AF

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Nasrollah reverts to obsolete cards: Houry
 

Fri 2/12/2011 11:23

NNA - 2/12/2011 MP Ammar Houry said Friday that Nasrollah has returned to using outdated cards in his speech.

Future bloc member said Nasrollah spoke of Saad Hariri's approval of a concession paper when this same paper does not have Hariri's signature on it.

Houry depicted Sayyed Nasrollah's speech as being weak in logic and depressive in content.

The MP told Voice of Lebanon - Freedom and Dignity - radio that orders Nasrollah had given to Premier Mikati, calling on him to list false witnesses' dossier in Cabinet's agenda, are an unprecedented event coming from someone "who does not have an official capacity inside Parliament and Cabinet."

 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - (correction) N. Nahhas: Cabinet is cohesive and did not change
 

Fri 2/12/2011 10:38

NNA - 2/12/2011- Economy Minister Nicolas Nahas called for looking at issues positively after the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) funding and looking forward to the future without instigating futile disputes.

Speaking to "Voice of Lebanon" radio station, Nahas expected the cabinet to convene next week with all ministers, pointing out that "the cabinet was and still is cohesive and did not change."

The Minister called upon the Lebanese to agree on acceptable grounds for dialogue because it is the only way to encounter all challenges that face the country.

Speaking about the "Change and Reform" demands, Nahas said, "those are priorities found within the components of the cabinet which is studying those demands..."

Responding to a question about the possibility of assigning a new President for the Higher Judicial Council in light of the disagreement that prevails between Rabiya and Baabda, Nahas said, "eventually that would happen." However, he added that he "doesn't have at the moment any idea about the final exit."

L.Y.R/N.AF

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - N. Nahhas calls for considering issues positively
 

Fri 2/12/2011 10:19

NNA - 2/12/2011- Economy Minister Nicolas Nahas called for considering issues positively after the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) funding and for aiming to the future without raising infertile disputes.

Nahas expected the cabinet to convene the next week with full quorum, pointing out that "the cabinet was and still is cohesive."

The Minister called upon the Lebanese to agree on acceptable grounds for dialogue because it is the only way to encounter all grand challenges that face the country.

Speaking about the "Change and Reform" demands, Nahas said, "those are priorities found within the ingredients of the cabinet which is studying those demands..."

Responding to a question about the possibility of assigning a new President for the higher judicial council in light of the disagreement that prevails between Rabiya and Baabda, Nahas said,"eventually that would happen."
However, he added that he "doesn't have at the moment any idea about the final exit."

L.Y.R/N.AF

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Kanaan denies false witnesses file to exert pressure on cabinet
 

Fri 2/12/2011 10:18

NNA - 2/12/2011 - Deputy Ibrahim Kanaan denied that activating false witnesses file is to exert pressure on the cabinet or for barter, stressing that now it is time to activate this file.

The MP stressed on Friday to "Voice of Lebanon"-Freedom and dignity radio "the necessity to stimulate the cabinet's work and to respond to "Change and Reform" bloc demands to make this cabinet succeed in its work".

The MP urged to turn words into actions concerning activating the cabinet's work.

A.A.M

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Politics - Al Khayer: Nasrallah wants to fulfill all Aoun's demands
 

Fri 2/12/2011 09:53


NNA - 2/11/2011 - Future Parliamentary bloc member Kazem Al Khayer told Radio Free Lebanon that Hezbollah secretary general Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah wants to fulfill all the demands of MP Michel Aoun, including the acquittal of collaborator Fazey Karam who is accused of collaborating with the Israelis.

"It seems that the first part of Nasrallah's speech resembled his speech before toppling the national unity government (which was headed by Saad Hariri). Now Nasrallah wants to swap the funding of the tribunal with referring the false witnesses file to the judicial council. He is also seeking to acquit collaborator Karam," the MP said.

He added that some parties in Lebanon are throwing accusations left and right in an attempt to bail themselves out from the predicament which they put themselves in.

Khayer voiced his support to the Syrian people but insisted that on one should intervene in the domestic affairs of Syria.

O.H

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Politics - (Update) Nasrallah reiterates STL illegitimacy
 

Thu 1/12/2011 22:47

NNA - 1/12/2011 Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah reiterated that Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) is politicized, American and unfair, until proven the opposite. Narallah stressed STL's illegitimacy, underlining that Hezbollah was against covering STL funding within Cabinet regardless of any outcome.

Nasrallah was speaking during an address Thursday evening marking Ashoura Days, where he dwelt on the issue of STL and other stringent matters on the local arena.

STL is a UN-backed court probing the assassination of late Statesman Rafic Hariri.
Addressing Prime Minister Najib Mikati, Nasrallah called on him to include "false witnesses" file on the cabinet agenda and transferring it to the judicial Council, in line with Mikati's keen concern for achieving justice and sense of patriotism, fairness and Sunni identity.

Nasrallah stressed Hezbollah's commitment to casting off inciting speech, and called for avoiding personal insults while leveling criticism against any camp.

Nasrallah called on Future Movement to halt its media attacks against Hezbollah in order to avert stirring incitement and confessional crisis. Nasrallah cited the example of Future's accusations against Hezbollah in the incident of the town of Ersal, saying all these "allegations were groundless". Nasrallah also cited Future's incitement and mobilization against Hezbollah prior to holding recent Tripoli rally.

"We are people who are not intimidated by such speech [instigating]... which does not affect our valor and steadfast position", Nasrallah said, noting that this game is old and over and the horizon of such a speech is deadlocked.
----------------L.Y

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - (Corrected) Nasrallah rejects instigatory speech
 

Thu 1/12/2011 22:01

NNA - 1/12/2011 Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah stressed Hezbollah's commitment to casting off inciting speech, and called for avoiding personal insults once leveling criticism against any camp.
Nasrallah was speaking during an address Thursday evening marking Ashoura Days, where he dwelt on the issue of STL and other matters.
STL is a UN-backed court probing the assassination of late Statesman Rafic Hariri.
Nasrallah called on Future Movement to halt its media attacks against Hezbollah in order to avert stirring incitement and confessional crisis. Nasrallah cited the example of Future TV's leveled accusations against Hezbollah in the incident of the town of Ersal, saying all these "allegations were groundless". Nasrallah also cited Future's incitement and mobilization against Hezbollah prior to holding recent Tripoli rally.
"We are people who are not intimidated by such speech [instigating]... which does not affect our valor and steadfast position", Nasrallah said, noting that this game is old and over and the horizon of such a speech is deadlocked.
----------------L.Y

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Nasrallah rejects instigatory speech
 

Thu 1/12/2011 21:56

NNA - 1/12/2011 Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah stressed Hezbollah's commitment to casting off inciting speech, and called for avoiding personal insults once leveling criticism against any camp.
Nasrallah was speaking during an address Thursday evening marking Ashoura Days, where he dwelt on the issue of STL and other matters.
STL is a UN-backed court probing the assassination of late Statesman Rafic Hariri.
Nasrallah called on Future Movement to halt its media attacks against Hezbollah in order to avert stirring incitement and confessional crisis. Nasrallah cited the example of Future TV's leveled accusations against Hezbollah in the incident of the town of Ersal, saying all these "allegations were groundless". Nasrallah also cited Future's incitement and mobilization against Hezbollah prior to ensure the success of their recent Tripoli rally.
"We are people who are not intimidated by such speech [instigating]... which does not affect our valor and steadfast position", Nasrallah said, noting that this game is old and over and the horizon of such a speech is deadlocked.
----------------L.Y

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Gemayel upbeat over STL funding
 

Thu 1/12/2011 19:22

NNA - 1/12/2011 - Kataeb head Amine Gemayel on Thursday welcomed the long-awaited funding of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon.

Prime Minister Najib Mikati announced early Wednesday that the government paid its thirty-two-million USD portion of funding STL, a UN-backed court probing the 2005 assassination of statesman Rafik Hariri.

He said doing justice and unearthing truth paved the way for an inter-Lebanese all-embracing conciliation.

But Gemayel did not fail to call the government to endeavor to round up those wanted for justice.

An indictment by the STL, issued last June and publicized in August, accused four Hezbollah members. But the party denied any involvement and said the court was politicized and serving an Israeli agenda.


R.A.H.

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Politics - Makari: paying Lebanon's contribution to STL spares country international confrontation
 

Thu 1/12/2011 18:53

NNA - 1/12/2011 - Lebanese Forces party's Head, Samir Geagea, met Thursday with the Deputy House Speaker Farid Makari who praised the stance of Prime Minister Najib Mikati on paying Lebanon's contribution to the special tribunal, as it spared the country damages and confrontation with the international community.

The Deputy House Speaker said those who do not acknowledge this tribunal had better resign.

"From now on, no party could question the autonomy of the STL or pretend it does not recognize the way this court was financed," he said, highlighting the importance of referring to justice the four accused whose names were mentioned in the tribunal's indictment.
D.K.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Siniora from Balamand: STL funding reconsiders Lebanon's respect for justice logic
 

Thu 1/12/2011 18:51

NNA - 01/12/2011 - Deputy Fouad Siniora visited on Thursday at the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate in Balamand Patriarch Ignatius IV Hazim, with talks featuring high on local and regional developments.

Siniora said Lebanon's paying the dues of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon gained back the consideration of Lebanon's respect for the justice logic and its [Lebanon's] commitment to international legitimacy.

Hazim, for his part, hailed the payment matter, hoping that positive points would be registered again in the future.

The Patriarch also hoped that that the human being would be taken primarily into regard from the humanitarian side, not from the political one.
A.M>

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Politics - Sleiman meets Armenian Ambassador
 

Thu 1/12/2011 18:35

NNA - 1/12/2011 - President of the Republic Michel Sleiman on Thursday met with Armenian Ambassador to Lebanon, Achot Kochtarian, with discussions focusing on bilateral relations and Sleiman's visit to Armenia next week.

Sleiman later discussed recent political developments with former Minister Naji Boustani.
 

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Politics - Mansour discusses Lebanese Diaspora condition with itinerants
 

Thu 1/12/2011 18:28

NNA - 01/12/2011 - Minister of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates, Adnan Mansour, met Thursday at his office with a delegation of the National Gathering Parties, headed by secretary general Khaled Rouwwas. After the meeting, Syrian Socialist National Party (SSNP) secretary general, Kassem Saleh, said that discussions focused on the general situation at domestic and regional scenes.

Saleh welcomed Lebanon's vote against an Arab League's decision to suspend Syria's participation in the organization's meetings.

He highlighted the importance to fill vacancies in Lebanese embassies worldwide, considering the paramount role of ambassadors in protecting the Lebanese community abroad, especially in Africa, where the Diaspora is mainly threatened by the Zionist enemy.
Later, the Minister met with Head of the African Continental Council of the World Lebanese Cultural Union (WLCU), Najib Zaher, over the situation of the Lebanese Diaspora in Africa. Talks also touched on the forthcoming tour of President Sleiman's in a number of African countries.

Earlier today, Mansour had respectively met with Deputy Fadi Al-Awar, and Free Patriotic Movement (FPM) official, Tarek Sadek.
 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Moussawi lambasts Turkish positions from Syria
 

Thu 1/12/2011 18:21

NNA - 1/12/2011 - Hezbollah official, Ammar Moussawi, on Thursday said positions of Turkey vis-a-vis Syria did not help mitigate the crisis, but exacerbated it instead.

He considered that Turkey was part of the Syrian crisis as long as it hosted armed members of the [Syrian] opposition.

"Syria is now undergoing an international conspiracy which targets its regime, position, and historical role in the region," he said.

Turkish ambassador to Lebanon today visited Moussawi, who called economic sanctions on Syria as immoral and inhuman.

Turning to the local scene, the pair highlighted the necessity to anchor stability and the importance for the government to assume its national responsibilities and obligations.


R.A.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Mikati chairs meeting on fuel resources
 

Thu 1/12/2011 18:11

NNA - 1/12/2011 - Prime Minister Najib Mikati headed Thursday the regular meeting for the ministerial committee assigned to follow up the fuel oil file in presence of Ministers Ali Hassan Khalil (Public Health), Gebran Bassil (Energy and Water), Nazem Al-Khoury (Environment) and Shakib Qortbawi (Justice), in presence of several experts and consultants.

Separately, Mikati had held a meeting with the Water and Energy Minister Gebran Bassil with whom he tackled ministerial affairs.
D.K.

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Politics - Selman meets Asarta, inspects rocket launching platform
 

Thu 1/12/2011 17:34

NNA - 1/12/2011 - Lebanese Army Chief of Staff, Major General Walid Selman, confirmed Thursday before Lebanese Army soldiers that latest incident at the southern borders jeopardizes the country's interests, emphasizing on the importance of boosting field measures in cooperation with the UNIFIL so as to ban all sorts of violation to the resolution 1701.

Selman who visited earlier today the UNIFIL headquarters in Naqoura met with General Alberto Asarta with talks featuring high on latest security updates, particularly at the southern borders, as well as on the joint measures adopted by the UNIFIL and the Army to boost stability in that area.

The Major General later inspected the South Litany Sector in Tyre and a number of army units, conveying the instructions of Army Commander, General Jean Kahwaji.

He also toured Rmeish outskirts inspecting the rocket launching platform from which rockets were fired towards the occupied territories on Monday, as well as the area which has been subject to Israeli bombing.

Selman followed up the work of the military committee assigned to investigate in this incident, calling upon its members to multiply their efforts at this level.
D.K.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Lebanon adamant to beef up capacities, says Bassil
 

Thu 1/12/2011 17:12


NNA - 1/12/2011 - Minister of Energy and Water Resources, Gebran Bassil, on Thursday said Lebanon was moving forward to beefing up its human and technical capacities to brace and protect offshore gas and oil resources.

The Minister met today with Lebanese and Arab delegations comprised of Head of the Arab Topography Union, Chief of Lebanese Topographers Syndicate, Head of Mediterranean Topography Union, and Head of Francohphone Landscaping Union.

"We will not accept any violation of Lebanon's borders or resources," the Minister stressed.

Separately, Bassil met with Head of North Lebanon Water Institution's workers and employees.


R.A.H.

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Politics - Abdel Karim Ali: sanctions on Syria already fruitful
 

Thu 1/12/2011 16:45


NNA - 1/12/2011 - The Syrian Ambassador Ali Abdel Karim Ali said Thursday that the sanctions imposed on Syria are starting to show fruitfulness in a way that opposes with the will of their imposers.

The Arab League imposed by a large majority of votes a series of sanctions against Syria. The sanctions, which took immediate effect, will result by the suspension of all transactions with the Syrian Central Bank, the cessation of investment in Syria by members of the league and the freezing of assets of Damascus in the Arab countries.

The Ambassador who paid a visit to former Prime Minister Omar Karameh said "the pan-Arab organization is implementing its resolutions, sanctioning the neighboring Arab countries who fully understand the situation, particularly Lebanon, Iraq and Jordan."

He noted that Syria is committed to maintaining good relations with Arab countries even though some leaders have misread their interests and made mistakes by undergoing foreign pressure.

Ali assured that his country will exit this crisis even stronger than it ever was, by the unity among its people in the face of external schemes.

As for funding the special tribunal, Abdel Karim Ali said this subject is mere Lebanese, praising all efforts which can reinforce Lebanon and establish stability.

When asked about the Syrian relation with the Lebanese government, the Ambassador hoped there would be better and stronger measures to stop arms trafficking.
D.K.

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Politics - Khoury welcomes STL funding step
 

Thu 1/12/2011 16:45

NNA - 1/12/2011 - Minister of Environment, Nazem Khoury, on Thursday told Voice of Lebanon radio station that the efforts to fund the Special Tribunal for Lebanon were directed by the President of the Republic, Prime Minister, and House Speaker.

The Minister welcomed this step, whether it was compliant with the Constitution or not, considering the "unusual" juncture.

But Khoury said he was not relieved over the performance within the Mikati-led cabinet, calling to join efforts to venture into effective work.

He highlighted the necessity to re-launch national dialogue amid the current stage, which he termed as "befogged and divisive," clarifying that the President of the Republic would not call for dialogue if circumstances were not adequate.

"The stance of the President is unwavering and he is holding onto the mechanism of administrative appointments," he said.

Asked about the likely position of the President in case the government resigned, the Minister revealed that that [President] Sleiman would have conducted parliamentary consultations duly for he believes in power rotation.

Turning to Syria, he saw that the crisis was exacerbating and that any sanctions on this nation would certainly have a toll on Lebanon.


R.A.H.

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Politics - Siniora from Bkerki: democratic changes enhance Lebanon's Christian role
 

Thu 1/12/2011 16:43

NNA - 01/12/2011 - Deputy Fouad Siniora said the changes to the democratic regime witnessed nowadays in the region would positively affect Lebanon and enhance Lebanese Christians' role in their country.

Head of the Future Parliamentary Bloc, Fouad Siniora, met on Thursday with Maronite Patriarch Bechara Rahi in Bkerki, in presence of former Lebanese President Amine Gemayel and former Information Minister Walid Daouk.

Siniora said after the visit that he discussed with the host overall developments at the local and regional scenes.

Siniora expressed satisfaction regarding Lebanon's payment for the dues of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon - probing the assassination of Martyr Rafic Hariri and related crimes.

Separately, head of the "Urfan" Foundation, Sheikh Ali Zeineddine, visited the Patriarch and reviewed with him the general situation.
 

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Politics - Mikati: paying STL's dues forward step in government's work
 

Thu 1/12/2011 16:10

NNA - 01/12/2011 - Prime Minister Najib Mikati said Lebanon's paying the Special Tribunal for Lebanon's dues represented an essential phase in the context of the government's work, and would push the government forward to look into daily life matters of citizens on the social, economic and financial levels.

Mikati's stance came Thursday in the wake of his meeting with dignitaries at the Grand Serail.

Mikati indicated he would call for cabinet sessions next week, in order to follow up pending social, administrative and developmental files, explaining that concerned ministers would partake in these sessions to ratify the public budget draft 2012 before referring said draft to the parliamentarian council for endorsement.

The Premier affirmed his determination to solve pending files and cast them away from political polarizations, stressing that the government's workshop would re-launch with power to activate all sectors.

In the afternoon, Mikati met with the Acting Secretary General of the United Nations in Lebanon, Robert Watkins, who expressed to the host UN's welcome for Lebanon's financial commitments to the tribunal. "This is a very important step for Lebanon in the frame of its preserving stability," said the visitor. Watkins cited UN's hopes for Lebanon's total abidance by international obligations and cooperation with the STL.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon called the Premier by phone, congratulating him on Lebanon's payment and confirming UN's support for Mikati's efforts in anchoring peace and stability in Lebanon.

Watkins condemned and deplored the attack with rockets against Israel from inside the Lebanese territories, depicting such action as a breach of the UN Security Council resolution 1701. He accordingly urged the Lebanese government to take necessary security measures in this concern to prevent any of these violations.

Among Grand Serail's visitors: former Deputy Elie Skaff, accompanied by Zahleh Municipal Head, Joseph Diab Maalouf; a delegation of Human Rights Watch; and others.
A.M>

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Politics - Moussawi sees West-made battle against Syria doomed to flop
 

Thu 1/12/2011 16:00

NNA - 1/12/2011 - Member of Parliament Nawaf Moussawi on Thursday said the battle waged against Syria by western colonists was doomed to failure, and reminded of the historical, economic, geographical, and political reasons to side with Syria.

Speaking in a religious ceremony in Khiam village in the South, Moussawi said the siege imposed nowadays on the Syrian people was a reformulated version of that laid to the Palestinians in Gaza Strip.

"Those who are besieging Syria are those who decided and partook in the aggression on Lebanon in 2006," he added.

The Loyalty to the Resistance bloc member did not fail to lambast the Arab League's decisions and sanctions on Syria.

He revealed that the capacities of the Resistance had increasingly developed.



R.A.H.

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Politics - Sleiman says democracy corner stone for preserving human rights
 

Thu 1/12/2011 15:46

NNA - 1/12/2011 - President of the Republic Michel Sleiman confirmed Thursday that democracy is the ultimate corner stone for preserving human rights.

The President who received at Baabda presidential palace the Executive Director of Human Rights Watch organization, Kenneth Roth, said "Lebanon is not only known for its democratic regime that goes back to decades, or for its distinctiveness in the region, it is also branded for the human values, freedoms and rights it enjoys, qualities which keep away violence and fanaticism and help fighting against terrorism."

The delegation tackled with Sleiman the organization's performance all over the world and particularly in Beirut. Conferees went over the Convention on Cluster Munitions' prohibition signed by Lebanon, soliciting the Lebanese President to convince Arab governments to sign this convention as well in order to protect their people from this "Israeli weapon".

"This suggestion will be submitted to the Arab league to be publicized later on governments, urging them to sign the Cluster Munitions Convention," Sleiman promised.

Separately, the President tackled with the parliament member Kazem Al-Kheir political developments at the local scene.

Amongst Baabda's visitors had also been former Minister Joseph Al-Hashem, and national dialogue party's head Fouad Makhzoumi with talks featuring high on latest developments.

Eventually, Sleiman received the Head of Antonine Technical Institute, Charbel Bou Abboud, accompanied by a delegation of the educational and administrative board.

The President praised the institute's work saying it reflects Lebanon's cultural image and encourages for more perseverance and hard work.
D.K.

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Politics - Jumblatt welcomes Mikati's decision to fund STL
 

Thu 1/12/2011 15:20

NNA - 1/12/2011 - PSP leader Walid Jumblatt on Thursday highly appreciated the decision of Prime Minister Najib Mikati to fund the Special Tribunal for Lebanon.

Prime Minister Najib Mikati announced early Wednesday that the government paid its thirty-two-million USD portion of funding STL, a UN-backed court probing the 2005 assassination of statesman Rafik Hariri.

Jumblatt saw that such step indeed mirrored Mikati's commitment to international obligations and keenness on eschewing any confrontation with the international community.

"Mikati's exceptional step also helped protect the government amid the current critical juncture in the region," he said in a statement.

Mountain's Deputy did not fail to commend the efforts of House Speaker Nabih Berri, a key player in the endeavors to find an agreeable way to fund STL.

Jumblatt hoped that the reached loophole would contribute to salving tensions and polarizations on the domestic scene.



R.A.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved
 


Politics - Abou Faour tackle refugees' situation in Lebanon
 

Thu 1/12/2011 14:17

NNA - 1/12/2011 Social Affairs Minister Wael Bou Faour tackled Thursday the Palestinian and Syrian refugees' situation in Lebanon during his meeting with the Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration Kelly Clements accompanied with U.S. Ambassador Maura Connelly.

Abou Faour also convened with Deputy Walid Succaria with whom he tackled developmental affairs in Bekaa region.
The Minister also met with MP Robert Ghanem.

L.W.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Qabalan, Berri tackle recent developments
 

Thu 1/12/2011 13:55

NNA - 1/12/2011 Vice head of the Islamic Shiite Supreme Council, Sheikh Abdul Amir Qabalan, phone called Thursday each of House Speaker Nabih Berri and Premier Najib Mikati.

Discussions mainly focused on most recent domestic developments.


L.W.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Tribunal funding good but with a bad management, Al-Jisr
 

Thu 1/12/2011 13:44

NNA - 1/12/2011- "Future" parliamentary bloc, Samir Al-Jisr considered that funding the Special Tribunal of Lebanon was a good deed but its execution was bad, and stressed that his team has always supported the Tribunal because, from the very beginning, they had faith in its constitutionality.

The MP said that the funding should have been brought out correctly within the constitutional institutions, pointing out to the "necessity of abiding by constitutional and institutional principles."

He considered that the truth has prevailed and that their team accomplished gains which they struggled for, pointing out that the claims about the tribunal being Israeli and American backed has been proven to be incorrect.


L.Y.R/N.AF

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Safadi heaps praise on Mikati's funding decision
 

Thu 1/12/2011 13:39

NNA - 1/12/2011 Finance Minister Mohammad Safadi hailed Thursday Premier Mikati's STL funding procedure.

Safadi said this step comes in the context of pledges we avowed to fulfill ever since government was formed so as to preserve civil peace and keep Lebanon's international obligations.

We are now to mind in hard work and lessen tensions and quarrels to reinforce Lebanese confidence in their government and have Lebanon miss out on any destabilization opportunity.


L.W.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Habib: STL funding process rueful
 

Thu 1/12/2011 13:12

NNA - 1/12/2011 MP Khodr Habib described Thursday as repentant the STL funding operation.

Future bloc member told Al-Sharek radio that Special Tribunal for Lebanon was not a natural disaster and thus ought not to be funded by the Higher Relief Committee or by decisions of Hezbollah and its allies.

"Let Nasrollah reminisce of the time he had uttered complete refusal, before his audience, to finance STL accusing the latter as being Israeli backed."
The MP criticized Sayyed Nasrollah's credibility herein and presumed Hezbollah support to Israel.

Also, Habib said a tacit approval on the whole issue had been set and that there was a firm decision from Hezbollah and Syrian regime to walk that path.
 

Politics - Rai meets Siniora
 

Thu 1/12/2011 12:25

NNA - 1/12/2011 - Maronite Patriarch Beshara Boutros Rai is currently meeting at Bkirki with former Prime Minister Fouad Siniora.

A.A.M

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Politics - Rai meets A.Gemayel
 

Thu 1/12/2011 12:14

NNA - 1/12/2011- Maronite Patriarch Mar Bechara Boutros Al-Rai met with Former President Amine Gemayel who arrived at Bkerki a while ago.

L.Y.R/N.AF

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Daouk meets Danish Ambassador
 

Thu 1/12/2011 12:13

NNA - 1/12/2011 - Information Minister Walid Daouk met on Thursday at his office in the ministry with Danish Ambassador to Lebanon Jan Top Christensen.

Discussions focused on ways to develop bilateral ties between Lebanon and Denmark, in addition to the general developments.

A.A.M

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Politics - Kabbani meets with Karera
 

Thu 1/12/2011 12:05

NNA - 1/12/2011- Member of Parliament (MP) Mohammad Kabbani met at his Parliamentary office today (Thursday) before noon with Mario Karera, first counselor of Switzerland Foreign Affairs minister and Adviser to the Special Representative for the Middle East. Discussions tackled delineation of the Lebanese maritime with neighbor countries, especially with Cyprus and the Israeli enemy.

They also assessed the technical and legal aid that Switzerland is providing to Lebanon regarding the works organized by the parliamentary commission of energy and public works.

Kabbani and Karera agreed on continuing this fruitful operation.

L.Y.R/N.AF

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Politics - Moussa: Lebanon winner of STL funding
 

Thu 1/12/2011 11:54

NNA - 1/12/2011 - Deputy Michel Moussa stressed that Lebanon is the winner of Tribunal funding exit.

The MP considered that the exit paved the way for Prime Minister Najib Mikati to fulfill his international obligations concerning tribunal funding and avoided falling in cabinet vacuum which would harm the people and the state.

"The exit avoided falling in cabinet vacuum", the MP stressed on Thursday to "Fagr" radio.

Moussa said that the national interest prompted the allies and Speaker of the House Nabih Berri to find an exit, pointing out that the way funding happened does not change the convictions which exist among some within the cabinet, adding that "the legality of the exit would be discussed in the cabinet".

Moussa called on the cabinet to approve pending issues, particularly appointments issue.

A.A.M

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Makari: Government has very short term
 

Thu 1/12/2011 11:50

NNA - 1/12/2011 Deputy Speaker Farid Makari deemed Thursday government's endurance as short and that the Hezbollah's course of action strives to keep its heart beating.

Makari hasn't failed to forebear fears on the security and political chaos when he spoke of the current situation describing it as "political jungle."
Deputy Speaker reckoned herein unrelenting chaos as prevailing as long as Hezbollah still has a hold of weapons and its statelet still has a hold of the State.

Also, Makari said Lebanon's vote against the Arab League's decision to suspend Syria's partnership has unveiled the mask the government was hiding behind when it decided to disassociate Lebanon from voting.

"This decision shows clear and loud partiality to Syria as it demonstrates direct involvement supporting Syrian regime," he said.


L.W.

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Politics - Ghanem: Mikati's step important
 

Thu 1/12/2011 11:28

NNA - 1/12/2011 - Deputy Robert Ghanem stressed that , in principle, Prime Minister(PM) Najib Mikati's step spared Lebanon many big problems, describing the step as very important.

The Deputy added ,"on the legal level, the cabinet embodies the executive power combined; however, the Prime Minister has a private account which he can use within certain conditions of which the STL subject is not included in ."

Ghanem asked whether the end justifies the means? And whether the disagreement on the Tribunal justifies caving to such a procedure?

Responding to a question, the Deputy confirmed that Hizbullah approved, funding the Tribunal provisionally, with the hope that its protocol would be adjusted later.

Speaking about the adjustments that the Tribunal's protocol might undergo, Ghanem explained that they "come under abstention trials section , considering that caving to the court and defending accused people is the best way to any prejudiced group."

L.Y.R/N.AF

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Politics - Abi Ramya continues his visit to France
 

Thu 1/12/2011 11:24

NNA - 1/12/2011 - Deputy Simon Abi Ramya continued his visit to Paris and met with French ministers and officials to discuss bilateral ties and situation in the region.

Also, the MP met with the Lebanese community.
 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved
 


Politics - Nicolas: We are waiting for Higher Judiciary Council head appointment
 

Thu 1/12/2011 11:14

NNA - 1/12/2011 - Change and Reform bloc member Deputy Nabil Nicolas stressed that his bloc awaits the appointment of the Higher Judiciary Council head to open false witnesses file.

The MP added that if appointments and peoples concerns were not set on the cabinet's agenda, then the ministers of his bloc would not attend the sessions.

Nicolas asked on Thursday in his interview with "Sawt el Mada" radio "if Prime Minister Najib Mikati asked the concerned ministers in the Higher Relief Committee before using its funds to finance STL".

A.A.M

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Politics - Abboud: STL funding mean illegal
 

Thu 1/12/2011 10:59

NNA - 1/12/2011 Tourism Minister Fadi Abboud depicted Thursday STL funding mean as being illegal.

Minister Fadi Abboud told Voice of Lebanon radio that Premier Mikati has added up a violation to his previous numerous ones.

Billions of dollars have been spent similarly by the Higher Relief Committee on developmental projects, the Minister said calling herein to reconsider previously practiced means of spending and adopt a new mechanism.

"The new mechanism ought to be unrelated to the Public Accounting," he said and hoped spending base would be subject to the law.


L.W.

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Politics - Salhab: endorsing Nahas' project activates cabinet's work
 

Thu 1/12/2011 10:41

NNA - 1/12/2011- Member of Parliament (MP) Salim Salhab supported Prime Minister Najib Mikati's rhetoric concerning the cabinet's program after funding the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) and the necessity of activating the cabinet's work.

He wished that the activation outcome of the cabinet's work which Mikati highlighted would result in endorsing Labor Minister Charbel Nahas's law draft concerning salaries adjustment.

Talking to "Voice of Lebanon- Voice of Freedom and Dignity" radio station, Salhab pointed out "that General Michel Aoun has already approved the funding mechanism which the cabinet endorsed, namely after announcing that he would take a stance that fortifies interior stability and preserves the cabinet."

L.Y.R/N.AF

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Politics - Jarrah: STL funding way is unconstitutional
 

Thu 1/12/2011 10:33

NNA - 1/12/2011 - Deputy Jammal Jarrah stressed that the opposition expressed reservation on the way of STL funding because it is unconstitutional.

The MP hoped to have in Lebanon a cabinet which believes in justice.

Jarrah said on Thursday to "Voice of Lebanon"-Freedom and Dignity radio that "funding came to solve the internal problem which exists inside the cabinet", pointing out that the Syrian regime does not want this cabinet to collapse because through it Syria can communicate with the Arab and International countries.

A.A.M

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Politics - Tohme: Approving STL funding means recognizing tribunal
 

Thu 1/12/2011 09:26

NNA - 1/12/2011 - "Future" bloc member Deputy Nidal Tohme stressed that Lebanon's payment of its $ 32.6 million share of STL means the recognition of this tribunal.

The MP said that PM Mikati transferred Lebanon's share of the tribunal which is probing the 2005 assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, because he knows that Syria is the one who formed the cabinet and does not want the collapse of it.

"Syria's priority in Lebanon is to keep this cabinet since it's the only cabinet in the Arab world which defends the Syrian regime", the MP stressed on Thursday to "Free Lebanon" radio.

Finally, Tohme thanked Mikati for fulfilling his duty and funded the tribunal.

A.A.M

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Politics - Fayyad: Cabinet should achieve social files
 

Thu 1/12/2011 08:58

NNA - 1/12/2011 - "Loyalty to Resistance" bloc member Deputy Ali Fayyad said that the interest of the Lebanese is to enable the cabinet to achieve social files which are of big burden to the people.

The MP added that appointments file also should be achieved which aims to activate the administration, calling on the concerned parties to protect stability from regional complications.

The MP added at a joint Ashoura Council between "Amal Movement" and "Hizbullah" in Nabatiyeh that those who conspire against the resistance and target the country's stability are the same in this stage.

"Their aim is to confuse the situation and to disrupt the forces represented in the cabinet", Fayyad stressed.

The MP confirmed that March 8 forces and their allies consider Lebanon's stability a priority, while there are persons who want vacuum in the institutions, stressing that "we will not give them this opportunity".

A.A.M

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Politics - PSP visits Kataeb: Funding STL evades tension
 

Wed 30/11/2011 20:59

NNA - 30/11/2011 - The Lebanese government's decision to fund the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) spares the country a lot of tension, a PSP delegation said on Wednesday during a visit to Kataeb Party leader.

The Mikati-led cabinet paid its $36 million dues for the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL). Political sources said the money came from the budget of the Prime Minister Najib Mikati's office and was paid through the Higher Relief Committee.

"This step comes in the right direction and provides the Lebanese political life with stability and tranquility," Progressive Socialist Party Secretary General Mr. Zafer Nasser said following his meeting with Kataeb Leader Amine Gemayel.

Nasser and his accompanying PSP delegation paid an acquaintance visit to Kataeb political bureau, with both sides seeing eye to eye over the importance of maintaining communication amidst the critical phase the nation endures. The new electoral law, Arab spring developments, as well as the situation in neighboring Syria also featured high on Kataeb-PSP meeting.

Gemayel met earlier with former Minister Ziad Baroud. Talks between both men reportedly focused on the general situation and on current discussions leading to a new electoral law, based on Baroud's suggestion.
R.H.

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Politics - (corrected) Russia spurns violence fanning to oust regimes, says diplomat
 

Wed 30/11/2011 20:01

NNA - 30/11/2011 - Russian ambassador Alexandre Zasypkin on Wednesday said Russia rebuffed any method aimed to overthrow regimes by fanning civil wars, and the attempts to instigate a Libyan-like scenario in Syria.

The diplomat had been today to Villa Bustros for a meeting with Foreign Minister Adnan Mansour over the current situation in the jolted Mideast region.

On the few-week aged Arab initiative towards Syria, Zasypkin rekindled the necessity to engage in dialogue so as to reach an internal political settlement, instead of putting pressure on one single side, in reference to President Bashar Assad-led regime.

But he said there was a possibility to find common ground on an Arab League-drafted protocol about dispatching to Syria hundreds of Arab observers, something that Syria's Walid Moallem subjected to amendments, to preserve, in his terms, the sovereignty of the Syrian state.

"We consider the Arab initiative as a helping factor, and we are trying, hitherto, to depend on it and deal with it," said the ambassador.



R.A.H.

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Politics - Ashton welcomes Mikati's decision to fund STL
 

Wed 30/11/2011 19:05


NNA - 30/11/2011 - EU Higher Representative, Catherine Ashton, on Wednesday welcomed the announcement by Prime Minister Najib Mikati of Lebanon's paying its share in funding the Special Tribunal for Lebanon.

"Today, Prime Minister Najib Mikati announced that Lebanon has paid its contribution to the 2011 budget of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon. I welcome this positive step, in line with previous commitments by the Lebanese authorities that Lebanon would continue to respect its international obligations," she said.

"The Special Tribunal plays an important role in the fight against impunity in Lebanon and in the search for justice. I encourage the Lebanese authorities to continue their cooperation with the Tribunal," she added.

She stressed that the Prime Minister's decision should enable Lebanon to preserve the stability of its Government and advance towards implementing its important reform agenda, avowing that the European Union is committed to continue to working closely with Lebanon in the context of the renewed European Neighborhood Policy.

 

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Politics - Foreign Office welcomes Lebanon's announcement that it will uphold its duties to the Special Tribunal for Lebanon.
 

Wed 30/11/2011 18:58

NNA - 30/11/2011 - In a press release issued by Foreign Commonwealth Office (FCO) on Wednesday, it said: Commenting on Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Miqati's announcement that his government will honour its international commitments to pay its dues to the United Nations Special Tribunal, a Foreign Office spokesperson said:

"We welcome Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Miqati's announcement this morning that his government will honour its international commitments to pay its share of the United Nations Special Tribunal. The United Kingdom remains a strong supporter of the Special Tribunal and of a stable, independent and peaceful Lebanon."

 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - (Corrected) Kahwaji praises information role in spreading freedom
 

Wed 30/11/2011 18:55

NNA - 30/11/2011 - Lebanese Army Commander, General Jean Kahwaji, on Wednesday hailed the role of information in spreading openness and freedom in the country.

Kahwaji's word came during his meeting with a delegation of Editors' Syndicate headed by Saad Naser, who visited him at his Yarzeh office.

The delegation, who congratulated Kahwaji on Independence Day, praised efforts exerted by the army to preserve stability in Lebanon.

Furthermore, Kahwaji met with the General Director of Civil Defense, Raymond Khattar, over the cooperation between both institutions.
 

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Politics - Geagea: Hizbullah must no more allege the STL is Israeli
 

Wed 30/11/2011 18:20

NNA - 30/11/2011 - Lebanese Forces Leader Samir Geagea said Wednesday Hizbullah must no more allege that the Special Tribunal for Lebanon was Israeli or US-made, since the government adopted a political decision to finance the STL.

Geagea's position came on the sidelines of a chatter with journalists.

The LF leader said that Hizbullah must now admit of the tribunal, hand over its accused members, and follow up the legal necessary procedures in this concern.

Geagea received today at his residence in Meerab Deputy Boutros Harb, who said the STL funding issue was an ethical duty to be performed by the Lebanese government.

"We refuse anyone to behave on behalf of the government and fund the STL since the financing matter is humane and legal," said Harb.

He, accordingly, voiced rejection to pay the STL dues from outside the Lebanese treasury.

However, Harb concluded, the government's eventual decision to finance made Lebanon commit to its international obligations.

A.M>

A.M./P.BC.

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Politics - Geagea: Hizbullah must no more allege the STL is Israeli
 

Wed 30/11/2011 18:20

NNA - 30/11/2011 - Lebanese Forces Leader Samir Geagea said Wednesday Hizbullah must no more allege that the Special Tribunal for Lebanon was Israeli or US-made, since the government adopted a political decision to finance the STL.

Geagea's position came on the sidelines of a chatter with journalists.

The LF leader said that Hizbullah must now admit of the tribunal, hand over its accused members, and follow up the legal necessary procedures in this concern.

Geagea received today at his residence in Meerab Deputy Boutros Harb, who said the STL funding issue was an ethical duty to be performed by the Lebanese government.

"We refuse anyone to behave on behalf of the government and fund the STL since the financing matter is humane and legal," said Harb.

He, accordingly, voiced rejection to pay the STL dues from outside the Lebanese treasury.

However, Harb concluded, the government's eventual decision to finance made Lebanon commit to its international obligations.

A.M>

A.M./P.BC.

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Politics - Hazim, Mokbel tackle Orthodox related affairs
 

Wed 30/11/2011 18:05

NNA - 30/11/2011 Vice Prime Minister Samir Mokbel visited on Wednesday morning Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch and all the East Agnatius IV Hazim at Balamand Patriarchal sea, with talks touching on related Orthodox sect affairs.
Hazim and Mokbel deliberated over work underway to close the ranks of all Orthodox sides and associations to ensure their solidarity and thus activate their participation in the various national concerns.
Both agreed on following up contacts and meetings in the aim of deliberations and coordination to attain the aspired goals.
In response to a question about Arab League's recent decisions against Syria, Hazim said that Syria is qualified to take the adequate position in this regards, wishing it success in its endeavors.
---------------L.Y

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Politics - Mufti congratulates PM for STL funding
 

Wed 30/11/2011 17:50

NNA - 30/11/2011 - Mufti of the Lebanese Republic, Sheikh Mohammad Rashid Qabbani, on Wednesday phone called Prime Minister Najib Mikati and congratulated him for his decision to finance the Special Tribunal for Lebanon.

Prime Minister Najib Mikati announced, earlier today, that the government paid its thirty-two-million USD portion of funding STL, a UN-backed court probing the 2005 assassination of statesman Rafik Hariri.

"The decision of PM Mikati to fund STL saved Lebanon and the Lebanese from sharp wrangling," he said.

Mikati, in turn, reiterated his cleaving to the Islamic and national constants which resulted from the former meeting at Dar-al-Fatwa.

A few months ago, Dar-al-Fatwa hosted an all-embracing gathering, under the chairmanship of Mufti Qabbani, for Lebanon's Sunnite leaders. Mikati renewed, in the wake of the meeting, his holding onto national principles and support for STL funding.


R.A.H.

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Politics - Siniora welcomes funding STL
 

Wed 30/11/2011 17:36

NNA - 30/11/2011 - Former Prime Minister Fouad Siniora welcomed financing the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, wondering at all the precedented confusion regarding this matter.

The confusion tensed the local situation for months and was about to lead the state to collapse, so what's the use of it all, Siniora wondered.

The other camp (March 8) must have thought wise, in regard to this matter, before straining the local ambiance, he explained.

Siniora condemned the rocket attack against Israel from inside the Lebanese territories.
A.M./P.BC.

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Politics - Kahwaji praises information role in spreading freedom
 

Wed 30/11/2011 17:16

NNA - 30/11/2011 - Lebanese Army Commander, General Jean Kahwaji, Ob Wednesday hailed the role of information in spreading openness and freedom in the country.

Kahwaji's word came during his meeting with a delegation of Editors' Syndicate headed by Saad Naser, who visited him at his Yarzeh office.

The delegation, who congratulated Kahwaji on Independence Day, praised efforts exerted by the army to preserve stability in Lebanon.

Furthermore, Kahwaji met with the General Director of Civil Defense, Raymond Khattar, over the cooperation between both institutions.
 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved





 

Politics - Charbel discusses developmental, regional issues with MPs
 

Wed 30/11/2011 17:13

NNA - 30/11/2011 - Interior and Municipalities Minister, Marwan Charbel, discussed an array of developmental affairs with MPs Alain Aoun and Ziad Aswad.

The meeting was held Wednesday at Charbel's ministerial office.

Among Charbel's itinerants, were Akoura municipality head, Mounir Saad, municipal council's members and a number of mukhtars of said village.
 

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Politics - Future sees STL funding recognition of its legitimacy
 

Wed 30/11/2011 17:00

NNA - 30/11/2011 - Future Movement on Wednesday considered that Lebanon's reimbursing its share of funding the Special Tribunal for Lebanon was tantamount recognition by the government members, namely Hezbollah, of the court's legitimacy.

Prime Minister Najib Mikati announced, earlier today, that the government paid its thirty-two-million USD portion of funding STL, a UN-backed court probing the 2005 assassination of statesman Rafik Hariri.

"The announcement of transferring Lebanon's portion of funding STL is a step on the right track, and an inevitable result of the struggle of the Lebanese towards justice," a statement by the Movement read.

"Hezbollah now bears the responsibility (...) to hand over the indicted in the assassination crime of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri," it added.

An indictment by the STL accused, last June, four Hezbollah members. But the party denied any involvement and said the court was politicized and serving an Israeli agenda.



R.A.H.

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Politics - March 14 condemns funding STL from outside cabinet's frame
 

Wed 30/11/2011 16:35

NNA - 30/11/2011 - March 14 condemned allocating a fund for the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) from outside the context of the ministerial council.

March 14's stance came on Wednesday in the frame of March 14 regular meeting in Ashrafieh.

Such a method of funding made a national case seem as if it were a natural accident that could be solved from outside the ministerial council, said March 14 in its weekly statement.

However, it added, the government's acceptance of financing, by itself, meant the government's recognition of STL and the fall of all the government's accusations against the tribunal.

March 14 addressed the government to totally cooperate with the STL and hand over the 4 accused persons, in this concern, to the international court for trial.

March 14 also denounced the attack by rockets set from inside the Lebanese territories against Israel, deeming this action as a breach of UN Security Council Resolution 1701.

A.M./P.BC.

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Politics - Russia spurns violence fanning to oust regimes, says diplomat
 

Wed 30/11/2011 16:34

NNA - 30/11/2011 - Russian ambassador Alexandre Zasypkin on Wednesday said Russia rebuffed any method aimed to overthrow regimes by fanning civil wars, and the attempts to instigate a Libyan-like scenario in Syria.

The diplomat had been today to Villa Bustros for a meeting with Foreign Minister Adnan Mansour over the current situation in the jolted Mideast region.

On the few-week aged Arab imitative towards Syria, Zasypkin rekindled the necessity to engage in dialogue so as to reach an internal political settlement, instead of putting pressure on one single side, in reference to President Bashar Assad-led regime.

But he said there was a possibility to find common ground on an Arab League-drafted protocol about dispatching to Syria hundreds of Arab observers, something that Syria's Walid Moallem subjected to amendments, to preserve, in his terms, the sovereignty of the Syrian state.

"We consider the Arab initiative as a helping factor, and we are trying, hitherto, to depend on it and deal with it," said the ambassador.



R.A.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Berri: for boosting the course towards dialogue
 

Wed 30/11/2011 15:45

NNA - 30/11/2011 - House Speaker Nabih Berri necessitated a quick course towards re-launching the national dialogue under the chairmanship of Lebanese President Michel Sleiman.

Berri received on Wednesday at his residence in Ain Tineh deputies Abdul Latif Zein, Stephan Dweihi and Qassem Hashem.

The visitors cited the Speaker as content with the recent developments concerning Mikati-led cabinet and the financing issue of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL).

Separately, Berri called each of Lebanese President Michel Sleiman and Prime Minister Najib Mikati congratulating them on the solution to STL issue.
 

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Politics - Franjieh sides with Mikati in finding exit for STL fund issue
 

Wed 30/11/2011 15:43

NNA - 30/11/2011 - Deputy Sleiman Franjieh said he sided with the Prime Minister Najib Mikati in finding an exit for the funding of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon that would not cause March 8 camp any embarrassment.

Franjieh's stance came on Wednesday in the wake of his visit to Maronite Patriarch Bechara Rahi at the Maronite Patriarchate of Bkerki.

Mikati's exit was to allocate a finance sum for the STL, probing the assassination of Martyr Rafic Hariri and related crimes, from outside the context of the ministerial council.

Franjieh voiced acceptance for the proportionality law of parliamentary elections 2013, saying it was an essential law. However, he went on, the Christian sides must meet together and agree on an electoral law.
 

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Politics - Iran couches support for Lebanese unity, Syria
 

Wed 30/11/2011 15:30

NNA - 30/11/2011 - Iranian ambassador, Ghazanfar Roknabadi, on Wednesday reiterated to Lebanese President, Michel Sleiman, Iran's unswerving support for Lebanese domestic unity, stability, and security, as well as for Syria in fighting the US-Israeli scheme designed to target the Resistance front.

The diplomat had been today to Baada presidential palace to convey to the President a message from his Iranian counterpart, Mahmoud Ahmedinejad, on most recent developments in Lebanon and the broader Arab region.

The meeting reportedly broached bilateral cooperation on various levels.

Earlier today, Sleiman met with Deputy Prime Minister Samir Moqbel over the current general situation.

He also discussed the fresh decisions by the Arab League on imposing economic sanctions on Syria with Minister of Economy and Trade, Nicolas Nahas.

A delegation of the Islamic Action Front also visited the President today.

Talks featured high on the current political situation on the domestic arena as well as on an array of dossiers.


R.A.H.

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Politics - Osseiran: to return to dialogue patronized by Sleiman
 

Wed 30/11/2011 14:37

NNA - 30/11/2011 - Parliament member Ali Osseiran said Wednesday that firing rockets from the South towards Israel is similar to launching fire at the South itself, calling therefore to return to dialogue under the patronization of President Michel Sleiman.

The Deputy solicited all the Lebanese to convene altogether, unify their ranks and their vision at the service of Lebanon's interest.
D.K.

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Politics - Mikati: Funding STL nips strife in the bud
 

Wed 30/11/2011 14:19

NNA - 30/11/2011 Lebanese Premier Najib Mikati said Wednesday that decision to fund STL nips strife in the bud and disengage Lebanon from schemes serving the Israeli enemy.

Announcing early today that Lebanon has financed its portion of the UN-backed court, the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, Premier Mikati said this step aims at protecting Lebanon by the principle of justice and not to be "the Prime Minister who reneges on Lebanon's international obligations."

Mikati has then called for immediate return to dialogue under the patronage of President Michel Sleiman.
"Dialogue is the sole mean to find a common ground for the Lebanese."

He urged ministers to consider this day as a new beginning for governmental work.

Finally Mikati hoped that "Arab brothers as well as the international community would be aware of the delicate situation in Lebanon and support the country," pledging herein to put Lebanon's interest above all other considerations.


L.W.
 

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Politics - Aoun tackles bilateral ties with Canadian Ambassador
 

Wed 30/11/2011 14:14

NNA - 30/11/2011 - Change and Reform bloc Head, Deputy Michel Aoun, received Wednesday the Canadian Ambassador to Lebanon Hilary Childs Adams with whom he discussed bilateral ties and means to boost cooperation between Lebanon and Canada.

The two sides tackled as well the conditions of the Lebanese Diaspora in Canada.

The FPM leader had also met with the Head of National Dialogue party Fouad Makhzoumi with talks touching on latest developments.
D.K.

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Politics - Aridi, Gemayel tackle recent up-to-dates
 

Wed 30/11/2011 13:23

NNA - 30/11/2011 Public Works and Transportation Minister Ghazi Aridi tackled Wednesday most recent developments on regional and domestic scenes during his meeting with MP Sami Gemayel.

L.W.
 

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Politics - Mansour meets ambassadors
 

Wed 30/11/2011 13:18

NNA - 30/11/2011 - Foreign Affairs and Expatriates Minister Adnan Mansour was handed Wednesday the credentials of the new Philippine and Greek Ambassadors to Lebanon, to be presented later to the President of the Republic.

Mansour also received the Ambassador of Malta organization, Patrick Laurent, who came on a farewell visit upon the end of his mission in Beirut.

He also met with the Indian Ambassador to Lebanon Rafi Thabar with whom he discussed bilateral ties.
D.K.

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Politics -# Mikati: Government paid its portion of STL
 

Wed 30/11/2011 13:14

NNA - 30/11/2011 Lebanese Premier announced Wednesday that the government has paid, early this morning, its portion of funding to the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, the UN-backed court probing the assassination of Rafic Hariri.


L.W.

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Politics - Watkins expresses his concerns over Israeli artillery response
 

Wed 30/11/2011 12:51

NNA - 30/11/2011 - Former President Amine Gemayel met on Tuesday night at his residence in Bikfaya with UN Acting Special Coordinator Robert Watkins and discussed Lebanese developments.

After the meeting Watkins condemned rockets fired from southern Lebanon to Israel, expressing his concerns over the Israeli artillery response.

Watkins hoped that there will be no escalation for the situation in the south.

"Discussions focused on the implementation of resolution 1701 and the latest report concerning resolution 1701 which will be discussed on Wednesday night in New York", Watkins added.

He added that they discussed the general situation in Lebanon and STL funding issue.

A.A.M

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Politics - Rai meets Frenjieh
 

Wed 30/11/2011 12:17

NNA - 30/11/2011 - Maronite Patriarch Beshara Rai is currently meeting with Marada Movement Head Deputy Sleiman Frenjieh.
 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Wednesday's cabinet session postponed
 

Wed 30/11/2011 12:15

NNA - 30/11/2011 - Prime Minister Najib Mikati's office announced the postponement of Wednesday's cabinet session.

A.A.M

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Politics - Abboud: We hope adjournment of session
 

Wed 30/11/2011 11:59


NNA - 30/11/2011 - Tourism Minister Fadi Abboud said that Change and Reform bloc members hope that Wednesday's session will be postponed to pave the way for more consultations.

The Minister pointed out on Wednesday to "Sawt el Mada" radio that negotiations continue, stressing the necessity for calm dialogue on STL funding issue which is probing the 2005 assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.

Commenting on "Future bloc" deputies accusations that Free Patriotic Movement is covering Hizbullah's position through proposing specific demands, Abboud said "these accusations are politically motivated".

A.A.M

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Politics - Hout: STL funding should not be bone of contention
 

Wed 30/11/2011 11:57

NNA - 30/11/2011 - Member of Parliament Immad Hout told "Al Sharq radio" that funding of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon should not be a cause of division among the Lebanese, reminding that local groups have supported this tribunal during the national dialogue.

"Political and regional interest usually determines the course of action which some groups in Lebanon take," Hout said.

The MP did not expect the Cabinet to hold a meeting today, adding that the government session will be postponed every week until an agreement is reached to fund the tribunal or wait for signal from the Syrian regime.

Hout stressed that the resignation of the government depends on the position of the Syrian regime and if it sees a need for this cabinet to continue functioning.

The MP believes that MP Michel Aoun's ministers may refrain from attending the cabinet session so that the remaining ministers will vote in favor of STL funding and this way March 8 secures an acceptable exit to this issue.

Hout also commented on the developments in Syria.

"The Syrian regime is now in a chaotic state and this chaos is reflecting on its allies in Lebanon and the best prove of this is the contradictions in the positions of Aoun's bloc."

In his opinion, the Syrian regime is on the verge of collapse and the Syrian crisis has reached the bottleneck, adding that the regime can only survive under false excuses.

"All these signs show that the Syrian crisis will end to the satisfaction of the Syrian people."

Hout hailed the political rally in Tripoli last Sunday, assuring that the speakers did not provoke anyone.

O.H

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Politics - Pietton discusses developments with Sheikh Naboulsi
 

Wed 30/11/2011 11:23

NNA - 30/11/2011 - French Ambassador to Lebanon Denis Pietton visited on Wednesday Scholar Sheikh Afif Naboulsi and discussed latest developments on the Lebanese and regional scenes.

Pietton said after the meeting, "we discussed STL and Syrian issues".

Pietton added that discussions stressed the presence of UNIFIL forces in south Lebanon in order to protect civil peace and security, stressing the good relation between UNIFIL and the southern citizens, hoping that the region would stay calm and stable.

A.A.M

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Politics - Charbel Nahhas urges to give priority to wage increase
 

Wed 30/11/2011 11:04

NNA - 28/11/2011 - Labor Minister Charbel Nahhas said that Change and Reform bloc ministers' are committed to give priority to livelihood issues including wages increase.

Nahhas did not rule out on Wednesday to "Voice of Lebanon" radio the attendance of his bloc's ministers to Wednesday's cabinet session, adding that other issues like preserving civil peace among Lebanese and health issues should be approved.

"Consultations are underway to give priority to wage increase issue in Wednesday's session", the minister stressed.

The Minister pointed out that discussions will focus on delegating Prime Minister Najib Mikati to take the appropriate action concerning STL funding inside the cabinet, hoping that the cabinet will unite.

A.A.M

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Politics - Change and Reform remarks non-exclusive to STL item
 

Wed 30/11/2011 10:49

NNA - 30/11/2011 Culture Minister said Wednesday that Change and Reform bloc remarks on the Cabinet's approach are not exclusively associated to the issue of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon.

Minister Gabi Layyoun told Voice of Lebanon radio that the bloc's stances came in response to Premier Mikati's association of the STL item to the government's endurance.

"Our demands are more significant than the STL item," he said.

We shall attend the session if there was a true will to tackle our demands.
"Cabinet session shall still be on in case our bloc's demands meet necessary response," he said.


L.W.

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Politics - Zahra: Cabinet bounds to collapse
 

Wed 30/11/2011 10:20

NNA - 30/11/2011 - Deputy Antoine Zahra said that the cabinet is doomed and is witnessing an attempt to collect itself.

The MP added that disputes among its parties are not only due to STL funding, adding that it was expected today to be its last day, but the Syrian regime has no interest in seeing the government collapse because this cabinet will defend Damascus' interest.

Zahra told on Wednesday "Voice of Lebanon"-Freedom and Dignity radio that the cabinet placed itself in a predicament and is now searching for exits but these exits will not have any positive impact on Lebanese interests, "but the only positiveness which they are seeking is a temporary attachment to the cabinet's composition".

"STL funding is an obligatory duty for the Lebanese cabinet", the MP stressed.

Commenting on the security situation in the south after the launching of rockets on Tuesday from Lebanon to Israeli territories, Zahra said that the perpetrator aimed to inflame the region, pointing out that Israel for the first time noticed that Hizbullah was not behind this incident.

A.A.M

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Politics - Hazim: Syrian people can count on themselves
 

Wed 30/11/2011 09:50


NNA - 30/11/2011 - Patriarch of Antioch and All the East for Greek Orthodox Ignatius IV Hazim met deputy prime minister Samir Mouqbel in Balamand.

After the meeting Hazim commented on the unfolding developments in Syria.

Speaking to reporters, the patriarch hoped that Syria will see a better situation and overcome all its current problems.

Asked about the impact of economic sanctions on the Syrian people, Hazim explained that no one can stop people from eating and drinking and there are countries that do not know what's taking place one meter away from them.

Hazim said he was not worried about the fate of the Syrian people because this people are not counting on non necessary items.

Hazim denied reports that Archdiocese of Latakia was targeted by a bomb attack.

"Nothing of this sort took place and is not worth making an issue out of it," Hazim said.

Commenting on the Arab League sanctions on Syria, Hazim said that Syria does not need to accept any position from any side and it is qualified to adopt the proper stance.

O.H

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Politics - Jumblatt: We must help Syria
 

Tue 29/11/2011 21:10


NNA - 29/11/2011 MP Walid Jumblatt said to reporters Tuesday after a visit to House Speaker Nabih Berri that Lebanon's unity and security is interlinked with that of Syria's, calling on all to aid Syria through its ordeal.

Speaking from Berri's residence in Ayn Teeneh-Beirut, Head of the National Front asserted that he has not visited the Speaker due to travel and personal reasons.

"During these cloudy times in the region, we cannot but communicate with all parties."

R.Z.

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Politics - Iranian ambassador pleased with Rahi's stances
 

Tue 29/11/2011 20:54

NNA - 29/11/2011 Ambassador of Iran said Tuesday after a visit to the Maronite Patriarchate that wise stances of Patriarch Bechara Rahi towards Iran fortified ties between people of the region.

A statement by Iranian embassy detailed a visit by Ghazanfar Roknabadi to Maronite Patriarch Bechara Rahi today.

The ambassador thanked Rahi for his supportive position and relayed that the Patriarch regretted attempts by certain powers to create an atmosphere of war. "The world cannot live in an ambiance of struggle right now since the situation in the region is very sensitive and demanded awareness from everyone."

R.Z.

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Politics - Aoun says STL illegal
 

Tue 29/11/2011 20:23

NNA - 29/11/2011 Free Patriotic Movement (FPM) leader MP Michel Aoun declared the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) a violation of human rights and Lebanon's sovereignty, after the FPM weekly meeting Tuesday.

The two main political camps of March 14 (opposition) and March 8 (loyalists) have disputed over various topics, most notably the financing of the STL, trying four members of Hezbollah for the 2005 assassination of PM Rafik Hariri and 22 others. Aoun and his March 8 allies vehemently fought the funding. Lebanon has to provide 49 percent of the tribunal's costs.

"Everybody knows that the STL is unlawful and we will leave this issue up for cabinet to resolve," he stated, adding that there were no binding reasons for the formation of the STL under Chapter VII of the UN Charter.

Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter sets out the UN Security Council's powers to maintain peace. It allows the Council to determine the existence of any threat to the peace, breach of the peace, or act of aggression and to take military and nonmilitary action to restore international peace and security.

"We informed U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon that the funding is intertwined with legal matters and we were the first to call for international characteristics for the tribunal� we still sustain that [the STL] can be set up in accordance with the constitution."

Aoun called for dialogue as a way to solve national conundrums. "We support any solution that preserves the country's stability." The MP stated that he would always choose internal stability over external threats.

Aoun denied that his Bloc's ministers threatened to resign from government over the STL.
 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Mexican decoration to Spanish ambassador to Lebanon
 

Tue 29/11/2011 19:57

NNA - 29/11/2011 The Mexican government awarded Ambassador of Spain to Lebanon Juan Carlos Gafo the decoration of Mexican Aztec Eagle Order, a statement by the embassy of Spain reported Tuesday.

Mexican ambassador to Lebanon, Jorge Alvarez Fuentes, handed over the decoration to Gafo at the former's residence in Nakkache in appreciation of his services and career.

In his speech delivered on this occasion, the Ambassador of Spain said, "I feel particularly honored by this recognition and I deeply thank you for organizing this encounter, inviting some of our closest friends, both Spanish and Lebanese, as Lebanese have also forged the Latin identity that unites us. We express ourselves in the same language and share many values, a culture and relationships of all kinds. We are two peoples that have been influenced by the footprints of several civilizations and their different contributions, among which the Phoenicians and the Arabs. Lebanon is uniting us once again today. Neither the Spain of today, nor the modern Mexico can be understood without each other."

R.Z.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Berri, Jumblatt convene
 

Tue 29/11/2011 19:50

NNA - 29/11/2011 House Speaker Nabih Berri met Tuesday with MP and head of National Struggle Front Walid Jumblatt at his Ayn Teeneh residence in Beirut.
R.Z.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - N. Nahass from Grand Serail: No economic relations with Syria
 

Tue 29/11/2011 19:49

NNA - 29/11/2011 Economy and Trade Minister Nicholas Nahass told reporters Tuesday that there are no economic ties or dealings between Lebanon and Syria, stressing after a visit to the Grand Serail that the country cannot go against Arab consensus.

The Arab League decided to cut economic ties with the Syrian regime after excessive violence used against citizens in the uprising against Bashar Assad rule, and following repeatedly missed chances for reform.

"We hope that no harm begets Lebanon from [Arab League] decisions," said Nahass who had an audience with PM Najib Mikati. The Minister insisted that political relations remained intact and the issue was merely economic.

Other visitors of the Grand Serail today were Minister of Exterior and Expatriates, Adnan Manssour, Information Minister, Walid Daouk, Central Bank Governor, Riyad Salameh, and a delegation of Lebanon's Volleyball league.

R.Z.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Sleiman visits military fair at BIEL
 

Tue 29/11/2011 19:45

NNA - 29/11/2011 - Lebanese President Michel Sleiman visited on Tuesday a military fair at BIEL, where he attended a fighting show for the "Maghawir" Army group.

Defense Minister Fayez Ghosn and the Lebanese Army Chief General Jean Qahwaji followed the President in his tour.

Sleiman hailed the fair's activity as important for citizens to know how to fight drugs.

Separately, Sleiman received at Baabda Palace Minister Ghosn who briefed the host over the actual security situation in the country.

Energy and Water Minister Gibran Bassil also visited the President and discussed with him latest developments.
 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Ashoura majless at Msaileh for third day running
 

Tue 29/11/2011 18:39

NNA - 29/11/2011 Speaker of the House Nabih Berri marked the third day of Ashoura in a "majless" held at Adham Khanjar Hall at his residence in Msayleh.
The "majless" was attended by deputies Ali Khreiss and Hani Qobeissi, former Foreign Minister Fawzi Salloukh, as well as a number of political, military, religious, party and municipal and mayoral dignitaries.
Attending the majless, former Minister Joseph Hashem delivered a word in which he highlighted the importance of dialogue in resolving all standing problems in the country.
-------------L.Y

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Mikati: Cabinet session takes place tomorrow as scheduled
 

Tue 29/11/2011 18:06

NNA - 29/11/2011 Prime Minister Najib Mikati confirmed that Cabinet session would take place tomorrow as scheduled, disclosing that work was underway to seek a solution to the issue of funding Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL).
Premier Mikati was speaking in a chat with media representatives accredited at the Grand Serail.
STL is a UN-backed court probing the assassination of late Statesman Rafic Hariri and other related crimes.
"Doors are open and discussions are underway... But nothing is yet final", Mikati said, pointing out that he might call for another Cabinet session in the case that Wednesday session won't take place.
In reply to a question, Mikati said that Hezbollah supports the continuity of the current government but voiced rejection of STL funding. "My position is clear on this issue.... I emphasize the necessity of [STL] funding", Mikati noted.
On the rockets' firing incident from the south of Lebanon on Tuesday, Mikati stressed that the Army is following up this issue, hoping that it would be a "passing incident".
On the other hand, Mikati met at the Grand Serail with Maronite Patriarch Mar Behara Boutros Rahi on Tuesday afternoon, on the first visit by a Maronite Patriarch to the Premiership headquarters.
Mikati and Rahi held a meeting where they tackled the current situation in Lebanon and the region. General Patriarchal Deputy, Metropolitan Samir Mazloum attended the meeting.
Rahi left the Grand Serail without giving a statement to media representatives.
In other news, Mikati issued an administrative decree pertaining to closing all public institutions and municipalities marking Ashoura commemoration on Tuesday, Dec 6, 2011.
--------------L.Y

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Daouk, visitors tackle Olympic media tournament
 

Tue 29/11/2011 17:55

NNA - 29/11/2011 - Information Minister Walid Daouk received on Tuesday at his office a joint delegation of the International Organization for Media, headed by Demian Du Grand, and the East Club for Civilizations Dialogue, headed by Elie Sarghani.

Talks reportedly featured high on Lebanon's preparations for receiving the Olympic Games Tournament specialized for media persons, knowing that this tournament is scheduled to take place in September 2012.
A.M>

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Charbel's visitors today
 

Tue 29/11/2011 16:38

NNA - 29/11/2011 - Interior and Municipalities Minister Marwan Charbel received on Tuesday at his office State Minister Panos Manjian and reviewed with him the general political situation.

He also discussed in the course of the day with a delegation of Akkar mayors the developmental demands relevant to Akkar region.
 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Sleiman: rocket attack on occupied Palestine does not serve the country

 

Tue 29/11/2011 15:25

NNA - 29/11/2011 - Lebanese President Michel Sleiman said the rocket attack set against the occupied Palestinian territories would not serve the Arab solidarity with Palestine at all.

Sleiman's stance came on Tuesday in the context of the celebrations for the World Day for Arab Solidarity with the Palestinian People.

This attack was deemed as a violation of the UN Security Council Resolution 1701 and Lebanon's laws and international obligations, said the President. It was a breach of the stable condition in the South, he added.

The President said it was time for the Palestinians to enjoy stability, peace and security under the wings of an independent and sovereign state that was recently granted membership in the United Nations.

As for the President's visitors at Baabda Presidential Palace for today, they were Public Health Minister Ali Hassan Khalil, Environment Minister Nazim Khoury, Information Minister Walid Daouk, the family of late Miriam Achkar, and others.
 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Tripoli festival reflects people's will pro STL funding: Tohmeh
 

Tue 29/11/2011 14:47

NNA - 29/11/2011 - Deputy Nidal Tohmeh said Tuesday that the independence festival organized Sunday by the Future Movement at Tripoli city was an interpretation to the people's will and their approbation to funding the special tribunal for Lebanon.

The Deputy hoped the Lebanese officials would realize that standing against the people's willpower is dangerous.

Tohmeh noted as well that the exit to the special tribunal's funding issue is actually a way out of the crisis which currently confronts the parties in power, sparing them the collapse of the government.

He called upon these leaders to stop running away as, sooner or later, they will have to comply with the people's will.
D.K.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Berri sends telegrams to Ghanoushi, Lavigne
 

Tue 29/11/2011 14:35

NNA - 29/11/2011 - House Speaker Nabih Berri sent a telegram Tuesday to the head of the Islamic renaissance movement in Tunisia Rashid Ghannoushi felicitating him on the National Constituent Assembly elections, highlighting the Lebanese-Tunisian historical ties.

Also, Speaker Berri sent a telegram to the President of the Senate in Chile, Goody Gerardi Lavigne, apologizing for not participating in the celebration to be held in Santiago on the bicentenary of the Council, wishing all success and prosperity to Chile.
D.K.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Safadi, Fletcher meet
 

Tue 29/11/2011 14:20

NNA - 29/11/2011 - Finance minister Muhammad Safadi received Tuesday at his ministerial office the British Ambassador to Lebanon, Tom Fletcher, with whom he discussed bilateral ties.

Discussions also touched on the challenges that stand in the face of the Arab and European region.
D.K.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Raad: Conspirators against Hezbollah seek vengeance on Syria
 

Tue 29/11/2011 14:16


NNA - 29/11/2011 MP Mohammad Raad said Tuesday that those who conspired against the Resistance in 2006 seek to take vengeance on Syria due to its supporting stance to Hezbollah.

The MP spoke during a religious ceremony in south Lebanon and said that when Syrian regime adopted reforms, escalation began on both internal and external scenes.


"The conspirators with European regimes, the U.S. administration and the Israeli enemy, among which some Arab leaders, do not want reforms nor democracy in Syria, but rather seek revenge from Syrian supportive stance to Hezbollah, when they were betting on the Israeli enemy to crush the resistance, "he said.


L.W

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Politics - Lebanese Forces: Arab spring will undoubtedly reach Palestine
 

Tue 29/11/2011 13:48


NNA - 29/11/2011 - The Lebanese Forces press office confirmed Tuesday that the Arab spring will eventually reach Palestine.

The communique issued on the occasion of The International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People added that "the best way to utter solidarity with the Palestinians is by supporting the establishment of an independent state and the people's right to return to their territories."

"the Arab spring will reach Palestine with the blossoming of people's hope to restitute their rights, liberate their occupied territories, and establish a democratic, sovereign and free state where citizens can enjoy prosperity, security and rights..." the communique concluded.
D.K.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Abou Faour, Roknabadi tackle executing signed agreements
 

Tue 29/11/2011 13:30

NNA - 29/11/2011 Social Affairs Minister Wael Bou Faour tackled Tuesday the Lebanese-Iranian signed agreements during his meeting with Iranian Ambassador Ghadanfar Roknabadi.

Both men stressed the need to begin implementing these agreements especially ones related to combating illiteracy and drug addiction, rehabilitation of disabled, elderly care.

Iranian Ambassador, asked about the security tensions South Lebanon witnessed early this morning, said that Lebanese officials ought not to accept threats from the Zionist entity.

On the Syrian issue, Roknabadi refused any interference in the country's affairs and hoped situation would calm soon.

Also, the Ambassador invited Minister Abou Faour to visit Iran and agree on how to execute agreements signed.


L.W.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - French Ambassador: Our presence is active in south
 

Tue 29/11/2011 12:43

NNA - 29/11/2011 - French Ambassador to Lebanon Denis Pietton visited Sidon's figures on Tuesday in presence of Municipalities and apparatuses heads.

Commenting on the developments of the security situation in the south on Tuesday, Pietton said "French contingent's presence working in UNIFIL in south Lebanon has been active since 1972 and this presence is not related to any security incident".

A.A.M

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Berri meets Mikati
 

Tue 29/11/2011 12:32

NNA - 29/11/2011 - Speaker of the House Nabih Berri discussed current developments on Tuesday noon at Ain el Tineh residence with Prime Minister Najib Mikati.

A.A.M

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Daher: Mikati should resign
 

Tue 29/11/2011 12:28

NNA - 29/11/2011 - Deputy Khaled Daher stressed that the only solution for Prime Minister Najib Mikati is to resign.

The MP added that Mikati should not stand with a cabinet that protected and defended killers, adding that the Syrian regime cares for this cabinet and it is exerting pressure to keep it, but Hizbullah is embarrassed because the accused persons in martyr Rafik Hariri's assassination are from Hizbullah's party.

"Since the formation of President Bashar Assad's cabinet in Lebanon we realized that it came to serve the Syrian regime" the MP told Sharq radio on Tuesday, pointing out that the Syrian people toppled this regime.

The MP stressed that the cabinet cannot confront the world by refusing international resolutions, pointing out that March 8 won't squander the cabinet that supports the Syrian regime.

Daher said that March 8 forces which stole the parliamentary majority is now in a big trouble, adding that if this team funded STL this means that they recognized it, pointing out that this issue contradicts with what Hizbullah Secretary General Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah announced, when he said that the tribunal is an American Zionist project, adding "if March 8 refused to fund STL then the cabinet would be toppled".

On the other hand, Daher stressed that Tripoli's Independence Day on Sunday was not directed to PM Najib Mikati but to who are behind the cabinet.

A.A.M

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Chamoun: Some parties do not think of the country's interest
 

Tue 29/11/2011 11:29

NNA - 29/11/2011 - Deputy Dori Chamoun said that some parties do not think of their countries interest and interpret matters according to their own whelms.

Chamoun gave an example on Baath party which still wants to rule the country and people by force after the Arab Spring proved that they could topple some dictatorships.

The MP stressed during Ashoura Council held in Hazmieh at Ahmad Saed residence that Lebanon was the first state that taught the world freedom, adding that "no matter how big the problems are between Lebanon and Syria we express sympathy with Syrian citizens".

Chamoun addressed the Lebanese youth urging them not to feel desperate and learn more about Lebanon.

A.A.M

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Manjian: Teshnag commits to Change and Reform position
 

Tue 29/11/2011 10:52

NNA - 29/11/2011 - State Minister Panos Manjian stressed that Teshnag party is committed to any position taken by "Change and Reform" bloc.

He pointed out that STL funding is considered priority to some people.

"Treating internal, economical and social situations are priority to us", Manjian stressed on Tuesday to "Voice of Lebanon"-Freedom and Dignity radio.

The minister hoped that vacuum would not prevail in the cabinet, expecting that the cabinet would remain till year 2013.

A.A.M

NNA 2011 All rights reserved






 

Politics - Daouk: Government to resign if STL not funded
 

Tue 29/11/2011 10:41

NNA - 29/11/2011 Information Minister said Tuesday that government shall resign if ever STL funding item fails to be approved during Cabinet session tomorrow.

Minister Walid Daouk said many parties are working in order to find a common ground over this issue and hailed House Speaker's endeavors herein.

Daouk also put emphasis on the need to handle salaries' issue deeming it of the government's priorities.


L.W.
 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved

 


 


Politics - Nahhas: STL funding is not one of the important articles
 

Tue 29/11/2011 10:39

NNA - 29/11/2011 - Labor Minister Charbel Nahhas stressed that tribunal funding issue is not one of the important articles.

The minister added that when the time for STL funding issue is due then this will put to vote then it will pass or not.

Nahhas confirmed on Tuesday to "Voice of Lebanon"-Freedom and Dignity radio "boycotting cabinet sessions is not because of STL funding issue is on the cabinet's agenda but linking the cabinet's fate to funding operation".

Commenting on the wage increase, the minister assured that the people will obtain the increase.

A.A.M

NNA 2011 All rights reserved

 

 

 


Politics - Zahraman: Cabinet is paralyzed
 

Tue 29/11/2011 10:06

NNA - 29/11/2011 - "Future" bloc member Deputy Khaled Zahraman stressed that the cabinet is paralyzed from within and active from the external to support the Syrian regime which is heading towards collapse.

The MP said that up till now the cabinet has not given us answers about the issues of the seven Estonian who were kidnapped, Al Jasem brothers, Joseph Sader and many others.

"Our moves will be in the legal and peaceful framework", Zahraman stressed on Tuesday to "Voice of Lebanon" radio, pointing out that the cabinet is always silent except in Security Council and Arab League.

The MP stressed that the opposition under these circumstances insists to move within its principles.

Zahraman confirmed that Syrian regime's accusations of Lebanese participating in violence acts in Syria are lies, stressing "we got used to these lies from this regime".

A.A.M

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Kataeb's weekly meeting demands national salvation cabinet
 

Mon 28/11/2011 20:57

NNA - 28/11/2011 Kataeb Party advised forming a salvation government to save the country from precarious political feuds, a statement by the Party's political bureau read Monday.

The Kataeb held their weekly meeting under chairmanship of President Amine Gemayel.

"The domestic arena must be immune in face of storms lashing the area," The statement added that a responsible salvation government was the sole answer to current status quo.

The Party stressed that the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, trying 4 Hezbollah members for the assassination of PM Rafik Hariri, must not focus on whether or not to finance the court, but rather on Lebanon's "approach towards justice."

Furthermore, the statement called upon everyone to "show responsibility primarily towards the dozens of martyrs who must be served justice through the unveiling of their killers; and, secondly towards the international community which is helping Lebanon...join the ranks of countries enjoying well established democracy."

 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Gemayel opts for Lebanese army as sole defender of country
 

Mon 28/11/2011 20:25

NNA - 28/11/20011 Kataeb Party chief Amin Gemayel told New TV Sunday that resistance was no longer needed in the country, asserting that the objective of the opposition of March 14 camp is to see the STL funded by government.

March 14 Camp held a festival in northern city of Tripoli in support of the Syrian people's demand of freedom and the funding of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL), probing the assassination of PM Rafik Hariri in 2005 of which 4 members of Hezbollah were accused.

"I don't believe that there is a court as upright and credible as the STL, and it is highly unlikely that the tribunal is politicized," Said Gemayel.

"The Resistance's weapons destroyed the country in 2006, so how can we describe that as a victory?" Gemayel contended that before 2000 Hezbollah's brave stances were appreciated; however, with Security Council resolution 1701 the resistance turned obsolete and their approach useless.

United Nations Security Council Resolution 1701 was intended to resolve the 2006 Israel war on Lebanon. It stated that Israel must withdraw all of its forces from Lebanon in parallel with Lebanese and UNIFIL soldiers deploying throughout the South, and disarmament of all armed groups in Lebanon (implying Hezbollah).

"Resistance against whom? The UNIFIL? We have transcended the approach of resistance to that of defense, and the approach of defense should be entrusted to the Lebanese armed forces, not to Hezbollah," he concluded.
 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Hezbollah: Arab League sanctions' approval dangerous precedent
 

Mon 28/11/2011 20:11

NNA - 28/11/2011 Hezbollah considered Arab League's approval decision of economic sanctions on Syria as a dangerous precedent and an unfair measure against Syria, people and government, a statement by Hezbollah said on Monday.
Arab League approved on Sunday economic sanctions against Damascus which included immediate ban on transactions with the Syrian government and Central Bank, and a freeze on Syrian government assets in Arab countries.
"Arab League's approval of these sanctions is a shameful matter and comes in violation of joint Arab work principles... and in defiance of Arab League's laws and system", Hezbollah said in a statement.
Hezbollah also regarded these sanctions as falling in the framework of a pure American policy that serves American projects in the region, and said it is people's right to warn against transforming the Arab League into a tool in the hands of US Administration.
--------------L.Y

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - (corrected) Iranian ambassador stands by Syrian regime
 

Mon 28/11/2011 19:52

NNA - 28/11/2011 Arab-International Forum against foreign intervention in Syria hosted by Ambassador of Iran met Monday in Beirut, whereby Iran declared its full support for Assad's regime against American-Zionist evil plan, a statement by the embassy said.

Activists from around the globe came together in a show of comradery towards the Syrian regime in presence of ambassador Ghazanfar Roknabadi, as the Arab League announced economic sanctions against President Bashar Assad's rule in light of surmounting violence against Syrian people demanding the toppling of Baath ruling party. The same group also prepared for the anti-Israeli apartheid conference to be held in South Africa in March 2012.

"Any country attempting to weaken Syria's leadership and people is doing a favor to Israel, and we, as the Islamic Republic of Iran, stand by Syria, its people, and rule with all our might," said Roknabadi.

He rebuffed accusations made by American administration against Iran as a frail attempt to distract the world from their epic failure in Iraq as well as deteriorating American economy.

"Inciting sectarian strife in the region is the most dangerous weapon used by the U.S. and Zionist entity."

The Ambassador encouraged resistance as the only choice to liberate Palestine.


R.Z.
 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - (Corrected) Sleiman meets ministers, Miss USA
 

Mon 28/11/2011 19:52

NNA - 28/11/2011 President Michel Sleiman met Monday at Baabda palace with ministers Manssour and Faour, then with Miss USA of Lebanese Origin.

Minister Adnan Manssour informed Sleiman of events of recent meeting of Council of Arab Foreign Ministers in Cairo pertaining to economic sanctions on Syrian regime. Manssour also alluded to other bilateral relations both regionally and internationally.

Social Affairs Minister, Wael Abou Faour, discussed with the President current political situation and the work of his ministry.

Former Minister Khalil Heraoui also had an audience with Sleiman.

The security situation topped talks between Gendarme Chief General Salah Gibran and the President.

Miss USA for the year 2010 Rima Fakih paid Baabda palace a visit along with her family as she toured her mother country for a few day visit.
R.Z.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Iranian ambassador stands by Syrian regime
 

Mon 28/11/2011 19:49
NNA - 28/11/2011 Arab-International Forum against foreign intervention in Syria hosted by Ambassador of Iran met Friday in Beirut, whereby Iran declared its full support for Assad's regime against American-Zionist evil plan, a statement by the embassy said.

Activists from around the globe came together in a show of comradery towards the Syrian regime in presence of ambassador Ghazanfar Roknabadi, as the Arab League announced economic sanctions against President Bashar Assad's rule in light of surmounting violence against Syrian people demanding the toppling of Baath ruling party. The same group also prepared for the anti-Israeli apartheid conference to be held in South Africa in March 2012.

"Any country attempting to weaken Syria's leadership and people is doing a favor to Israel, and we, as the Islamic Republic of Iran, stand by Syria, its people, and rule with all our might," said Roknabadi.

He rebuffed accusations made by American administration against Iran as a frail attempt to distract the world from their epic failure in Iraq as well as deteriorating American economy.

"Inciting sectarian strife in the region is the most dangerous weapon used by the U.S. and Zionist entity."

The Ambassador encouraged resistance as the only choice to liberate Palestine.


R.Z.
 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Abi Ramia reminds of Kissinger's scenario for strife in nation
 

Mon 28/11/2011 19:42

NNA - 28/11/2011 - Deputy Simon Abi Ramia reminded of Henry Kissinger's scenario aiming to spread sectarian strife across the Arab nation.

Abi Ramia spoke on Sunday during a dinner held by the "Gathering for the sake of Lebanon" in Paris.

Abi Ramia said it was planned to flare up bloody conflicts in the nation and to expel Christians from the east.

Abi Ramia assured that the Free Patriotic Movement would keep adhering to its thoughts and principles under the leadership of General Michel Aoun.

A.M./P.BC.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Syria says Arab League declared economic war
 

Mon 28/11/2011 19:24

NNA - 28/11/2011 (Reuters): Syria said on Monday the Arab League had declared economic war on Damascus by announcing sanctions against its Central Bank, but said it had already withdrawn most funds targeted by a freeze on government assets.

Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem also accused the Arab League of ignoring armed groups Damascus blames for the violence during the eight-month uprising against President Bashar al-Assad, displaying graphic pictures of bloodied corpses during a televised news conference in Damascus.

Syria made every effort to find a way out of the crisis, in which the United Nations says 3,500 people have been killed by Assad's crackdown, Moualem said. "Yesterday, with the decision they took, they closed these windows," he said.

It was clear the Arab League wanted "to internationalise the crisis ... I never felt their intentions were honest," he said.

Damascus insists it has started to implement a Nov. 2 agreement to withdraw its military from urban centres, release political prisoners and launch a dialogue with the opposition, and Moualem said it had not rejected outright an Arab League monitoring mission.

"Sanctions are a two-way street. I am not warning here, but we will defend the interests of our people ... We have to defend the interests of our people," the minister said.

But he also addressed a long-standing demand of protesters, saying Syria plans to drop a constitutional clause which designates Assad's Baath Party as the leader of "state and society" in Syria.

Moualem said he was told by the head of a committee tasked with reforming the constitution that a revised version "includes multi-party (politics), and there is no place for discrimination between parties, meaning there is no Article Eight."

Showing pictures of bloodied and beaten corpses, Moualem criticised the Arab League and Syria's Western critics for failing to accept that Syria faces an armed opposition.
"They refuse to acknowledge the existence of armed groups," he said.
Alongside the mainly peaceful protests against Assad, an increasingly active armed insurgency has targeted soldiers and military bases across the country, killing scores of security force personnel according to activists and state media.

Moualem said Syria's agreement with the Arab League had also called for Arab countries to take steps to curb the flow of money and arms into Syria and end "media incitement" over Syria - commitments he said Syria's neighbours had not kept.

"Weapons are coming across borders and we want measures from you to control the borders. We are serious about discussing this," he said.

 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved
 


 


Politics - Sleiman meets ministers, Miss USA
 

Mon 28/11/2011 19:15

NNA - 28/11/2011 President Michel Sleiman met Friday at Baabda palace with ministers Manssour and Faour, then with Miss USA of Lebanese Origin.

Minister Adnan Manssour informed Sleiman of events of recent meeting of Council of Arab Foreign Ministers in Cairo pertaining to economic sanctions on Syrian regime. Manssour also alluded to other bilateral relations both regionally and internationally.

Social Affairs Minister, Wael Abou Faour, discussed with the President current political situation and the work of his ministry.

Former Minister Khalil Heraoui also had an audience with Sleiman.

The security situation topped talks between Gendarme Chief General Salah Gibran and the President.

Miss USA for the year 2010 Rima Fakih paid Baabda palace a visit along with her family as she toured her mother country for a few day visit.
R.Z.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Bassil: for Lebanon not to follow western politics
 

Mon 28/11/2011 18:50

NNA - 28/11/2011 - Energy and Water Minister Gibran Bassil affirmed the necessity for Lebanon not to follow the track of the western politics.

Bassil's word came on Monday in the context of an annual dinner for the Free Patriotic Movement of Bejdarfel branch in Abdelli/Batroun.

Bassil said they would not keep silent on subjecting Lebanon's security and Lebanese people's safety to threats.

Bassil added they would not be silent on conspiracies planned against any neighboring country and that they would always work for the whole nation, not only for certain faction or group.

A.M./P.BC.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Jumblatt: STL funding shuns sanctions on Lebanon
 

Mon 28/11/2011 18:33

NNA - 28/11/2011 "National Struggle" Front Head Walid Jumblatt said that funding Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) protects Lebanon from economic sanctions and internal strain, saying that a supreme national interest lies within STL funding.
Deputy Joumblat was speaking in his weekly position to Al-Anbaa newspaper issued by Progressive Socialist Party.
STL is a UN-backed court probing the assassination of late Statesman Rafic Hariri and related crimes.
"Though STL constitutes a specific fret for some in Lebanon, it is regarded by others as an inevitable track to unveil the truth of political assasinat4ions that entailed statesmen, writers, intellectuals and journalists", Jumblatt told Al-Anbaa.
On arms issue, Jumblatt said that the solution to this matter cannot be attained by a "magic stick" or through media podiums but rather through a tranquil dialogue over a defensive plan that protects Lebanon from Israeli enemy.
Jumblatt urged all political forces to rally around security and military institutions, which should cooperate amongst each other in protecting civil peace and preserving Lebanon.
Jumblatt also called on the Lebanese to deal evenly and attentively with great regional changes, to shun their negative impact on the internal situation.
----------------L.Y

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Politics - Kahwaji, Jordanian ambassador tackle general situation
 

Mon 28/11/2011 18:11

NNA - 28/11/2011 - Lebanese Army Commander, General Jean Kahwaji, discussed the general situation with Jordanian Ambassador to Lebanon, Ziad Majali, who visited him at his Yarzeh office Monday.

Later, Kahwaji received a delegation of Muslims scholars headed by Judge Sheikh Abdul Latif Deryan, who congratulated him on Independence Day. Deryan also praised efforts exerted by the army to preserve security and stability in Lebanon.
P.BC.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved



 

Politics - Charbel follows up on security, political affairs
 

Mon 28/11/2011 18:09

NNA - 28/11/2011 - Minister of Interior and Municipalities, Marwan Charbel, on Monday met with Kataeb Deputy Nadim Gemayel over the current political, security, and government situation.

He later met with Loyalty to the Resistance parliamentary bloc members, Nawar Sahili and Ali Muqdad, with whom he tackled an array of security and developmental affairs.

Internal Security Forces Chief, Major General Ashraf Rifi, had also been to the Ministry of Interior and Municipalities today, for a meeting with Charbel over ISF most recent accomplishments.

The Minister later received the ambassador to the Human Rights International Organization, Haytham Bou Saeed.


R.A.H.

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Politics - Mikati from Vatican: to boost work will and freedom of belief
 

Mon 28/11/2011 17:09

NNA - 28/11/2011 - Prime Minister Najib Mikati said the Lebanese must boost the will to work, in order to preserve the principle of accepting the other and the freedom of belief upon which Lebanon was set up.

Mikati's word came in the wake of his meeting with Pope Benedict XVI in Vatican. Mikati said Lebanon could not rise except by its two wings, Christianity and Islam.

The Pope, for his part, expressed his loving towards Lebanon and Lebanese, indicating that he would always pray for welfare of the country. He said he would visit Lebanon next Automn.

Separately, Mikati met with the secretary general of the Vatican state, Tarcisio Bartoni.
 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Future seeks electoral law satisfactory to allies
 

Mon 28/11/2011 16:56

NNA - 28/11/2011 - Future's Deputy Ahmed Fatfat on Monday revealed that March 14 poles were engaging in a constructive dialogue so as to reach a joint electoral project law satisfactory to all allies, whether within or outside the coalition.

The Future Movement's committee tasked with discussing the new electoral law, comprising MPs Ahmed Fatfat, Ziad Qadiri, and Hadi Hbeish, today visited Kataeb Deputy Sami Gemayel in Saifi.

"Talks broached the electoral law, required amendments, proportionality mode, administrative divisions, and women's quota, as well as expatriates vote and the possibility to modify electoral districts," said Fatfat.



R.A.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Hmayed sees government resignation useless
 

Mon 28/11/2011 16:26

NNA - 28/11/2011 - Amal's Deputy Ayoub Hmayed on Monday said the resignation of the government was not the solution, stressing that dialogue was the sole mean to reach a safe shore.

Speaking at a religious ceremony in Bint Jbeil, the Development and Liberation bloc member cautioned against bids to turn Lebanon into a route to siege Syria and tamper with its security.

"This is an unwise game embedding negative repercussions on both Lebanon and Syria," he said.


R.A.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Berri meets Pietton, Ministers
 

Mon 28/11/2011 16:12

NNA - 28/11/2011 - Speaker of the House, Nabih Berri, on Monday met with French ambassador Denis Pietton over most recent developments in Lebanon and the broader Arab region.

He later met in Ain-el-Tineh with former Minister, Jean Obeid.

The Speaker also broached the current situation respectively with Social Affairs Minister, Wael Abu Faour, and Sports and Youth Minister, Faysal Karame.



R.A.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Daher sees Mikati had best resign
 

Mon 28/11/2011 15:47


NNA - 28/11/2011 - Future parliamentary bloc member Khaled Daher on Monday said Prime Minister Najib Mikati must resign, down to what he termed as "humiliations" and "immoral practices" by his partners in the cabinet, namely the Free Patriotic Movement.

"Why does Mikati cover a party which does not seek justice?" he wondered.

Future Movement and March 14 supporters yesterday rallied in Tripoli to mark the Independence Day, voice solidarity with the Syrian people, and rekindle necessity for Lebanon to fund the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, a UN-backed court probing the 2005 assassination of statesman Rafik Hariri.
But Daher underlined that the festival was not tantamount a message addressed to Mikati, but to those siding with dictatorial regimes.

Interviewed by Al-Fajr radio station today, Akkar Deputy did not fail to lambast the government performance on the domestic level, pertaining to the failure to adjust wages, and on the international one, as to Lebanon's position from the Syrian regime before the United Nations and the Arab League.

Lebanon yesterday disassociated itself from voting on an Arab League's decision to impose economic sanctions on Syria. Earlier in August, Mikati-led government made a similar step vis-a-vis a Security Council's resolution to condemn violence in Syria.



R.A.H.

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Politics - Maronite institutions meet in Bkirki: government's threats to resign inappropriate at current stage
 

Mon 28/11/2011 15:40

NNA - 28/11/2011 - The Maronite institutions held a meeting Monday at Bkirki Patriarchate, patronized by the Maronite Patriarch Becahra Boutros Rahi, estimating that "the government's threats to resign are totally inappropriate amid the current circumstances."

As per the communique issued in the wake of the meeting, conferees had indicated that "Lebanon and the region are going through crucial and unprecedented circumstances which urge the Lebanese politicians to adopt a responsible approach."

The communique added that "the Lebanese people's worries have increased with the escalation of the political stances which endanger the government while the country urgently needs adequate decisions that preserve its interests."

"They chose an inappropriate moment to threaten of resignation, as it is the political poles' duty to show as much solidarity and responsibility as possible," the communique explained, highlighting the importance of respecting international commitments and resolutions, particularly those related to the special tribunal.
D.K.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Daouk on behalf of Mikati: current situation requires journalists' vigilance
 

Mon 28/11/2011 15:10

NNA - 28/11/2011 - Information Minister Walid Daouk estimated Monday that the current situation requires the journalists' vigilance, during the inauguration of the 38th annual conference of the Union of Arab press distributors (UDA) held at Safir hotel Raouche.

Minister Daouk, who represented Premier Najib Mikati, indicated that holding the conference in Beirut proves that "our capital has always been the center of journalistic, cultural, economic, and educative Arab activities." He also assured that this city is the scene where all Arabs meet.

Daouk who praised the union's professionalism explained that the rapid development of the electronic media cannot annul the role of the written media which is still indispensible for many people.

The Minister highlighted in this regard the importance of the intellectual property (IP) which must always be preserved and guaranteed.

Finally, Minister Daouk tackled the developments and changes at the Arab scene, highlighting the Arab youths aspiration for freedom and for playing a major role in the decision making process.

D.K.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved












 

Politics - Sleiman: democracy saves Lebanon from turmoil in the region
 

Mon 28/11/2011 14:45

NNA - 28/11/2011 - Lebanese President Michel Sleiman said democracy, which distinguished Lebanon decades ago, saved the country from the turmoil running throughout the Arab countries for 11 months.

Sleiman's word came on Monday upon receiving at Baabda Presidential Palace a delegation of the new Council of Attorneys Syndicate, headed by the newly elected chief of said Syndicate Nuhad Jabr. The President explained that the democracy in Lebanon, which was based upon plurality, added on regular democracy a humane feature.

Separately, Sleiman received Interior and Municipalities Minister Marwan Charbel who briefed him over the actual security situation in Lebanon.

Among Baabda's visitors: former Ministers Karam Karam and Issam Khoury; a delegation of the Francophone Conference for Works; and others.

A.M./P.BC.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved

 

 


 


Politics - Mikati meets Pope
 

Mon 28/11/2011 14:22

NNA - 28/11/2011 - His Holiness the Pope Benedict XVI received Monday the Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati at the Vatican for 35 minutes with talks featuring high on bilateral ties between Lebanon and the Vatican.

Discussions also touched on the situation of Christians in Lebanon as well as the Islamic-Christian dialogue.

Premier Mikati had met earlier today with the Italian Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi Sant'Agata with whom he discussed Lebanese-Italian relations.

The Premier is currently holding a meeting with the Vatican Secretary, Cradinal Taricion Bertone, and the Foreign Minister of the Vatican Dominique Mamberte.
D.K.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved
 







 

Politics - Rahi tackles general situation with his visitors
 

Mon 28/11/2011 14:00

NNA - 28/11/2011 - Maronite Patriarch Bechara Boutros Rahi received Monday at Bkirki patriarchate a delegation of the Maronite institutions comprised of former Ministers Michel Edde and Wadih Al-Khazen as well as other dignitaries.

Conferees tackled general situation and the importance of enlarging the dialogue and communication net at the internal scene so as to reestablish stability.

The delegation informed Rahi of the Maronite institution's activities at the political, social and national levels.

Later on, Patriarch Rahi received state Minister Marwan Kheir Ed-din, Deputy Talal Ereslan, and former MP Marwan abou Fadel with talks featuring high on general situation and developments at the domestic scene.
D.K.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Houry: government doomed to failure
 

Mon 28/11/2011 13:42

NNA - 28/11/2011 - Deputy Ammar Houry confirmed Monday that the festival organized in Tripoli under the slogan "autumn of arms, spring of independence" confirmed that the solution for the crisis in Lebanon is in adopting the state logic.

The Future Movement had organized on Sunday a political festival in Tripoli during which many of the March 14 leaders lashed out on Syria, Hezbollah and the government, shedding light on the special tribunal's funding issue.

"The government which was formed after a coup d'etat and by a Syrian decision put to action by Hezbollah, is doomed to failure regardless of the results of the session to be held Wednesday," he said.

When asked about the illegitimate arms, Houry confirmed that no state acknowledges the presence of illegitimate arms on its territories.
"Funding the STL is the Lebanese government's duty," he finally noted.
D.K.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Moussawi: situation will remain peaceful in Lebanon
 

Mon 28/11/2011 12:40

NNA - 28/11/2011 - Parliament member Hussein Al-Moussawi reassured the Lebanese on Monday that the situation in Lebanon will remain peaceful and settled regardless of the government's destiny, and no matter what its decision regarding the special tribunal's funding was.

"The cabinet session will be held on Wednesday, and things will take their legal course," he affirmed.

Moussawi said separately that the warm war between Lebanon and the Israeli enemy had turned into a cold one through the new technologies, intelligence services and media.
D.K.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Hashem criticized Tripoli's rally
 

Mon 28/11/2011 12:38

NNA - 28/11/2011 - Deputy Kassem Hashem criticized in Monday's statement "Future" bloc's rally in Tripoli, adding that it did not say something new.

Hashem asked in his statement about the reason of using tensed speech on Sunday in the occasion of Independence Day.

The MP accused the other team (March 14) of seeking power.

A.A.M

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Aoun meets Baroud
 

Mon 28/11/2011 12:10

NNA - 28/11/2011 - Deputy Michel Aoun met on Monday before noon at his Rabiyeh residence with former Minister Ziad Baroud who described the visit as "excellent".

A.A.M

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Hariri follows up security situation in Sidon
 

Mon 28/11/2011 11:49

NNA - 28/11/2011 - Deputy Bahiya Hariri followed on Monday and for the second day the security situation in Sidon following series of cars burning in the city.

The MP conducted a phone call with army intelligence head in the south General Ali Shahrour who informed her of the available information.

Shahrour told Hariri about measures taken following these incidents.

Also, Hariri phoned General Mounzer el Ayoubi and followed up the security situation developments in Sidon in light of the latest incidents.

The MP asked authority for "intensive efforts in order to find perpetrators and take them to justice".

A.A.M

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Khreis: Unity best weapon to protect country
 

Mon 28/11/2011 11:44

NNA - 28/11/2011 - "Liberation and Development" bloc member Deputy Ali Khreis stressed that unity and civil peace are the best weapon against Israel to protect our nation and ourselves from the internal strife.

The MP added that tensed rhetoric provides more fight and sectarian strife, pointing out that Israel is always seeking division in Lebanon.

Khreis stressed in a memorial service in Burj Rahhal Village that Lebanon is the first country that is affected by what's happening in the region, calling on "the politicians to seek national dialogue".

The MP criticized sectarian speech and said "if common points do not exist between Muslims how can Muslims coexist with Christians?", calling for a united speech which calls for love and coexistence and protects the nation through its resistance, army and people.

A.A.M

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Geagea expects government to collapse before year end
 

Mon 28/11/2011 11:41

NNA - 28/11/2011 - Head of the Lebanese Forces Samir Geagea expected the collapse of the current government within days or weeks at the most.

Geagea, who was speaking to Lebanese Forces supporters in Trento, Canada via satellite TV, admitted that 2011 was not a good year for March 14 forces or the Cedars revolution in light of the coup which overthrew the government of Prime Minister Saad Hariri.

"But I expect the picture will change soon. This government will collapse within the next few days or weeks at the most and people with rights will claim these rights directly or indirectly."

He added that the 2011 is the year of dramatic events in Lebanon and the Arab region because the events taking place in these countries have profound changes and stems from the needs and aspirations of the people.

"These events will pass through difficult stages as in the case of Egypt. But nevertheless, we consider 2011 as a good year because it represented a quantum leap on a historical level. But it will take several years before these changes are felt."

Geagea expressed his sorrow over the deep economic crisis which some countries are passing through this year and led to serious social problems.

"But I have hopes that wherever there is democracy then reforms will take place in these countries."

Geagea pointed to the new by-laws of the Lebanese Forces which will pave the way for younger generations to join the LF.

Later, Geagea met with a Christian Iraqi delegation which briefed the head of the LF about the conditions of the Christians in Iraq.

O.H

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Layoun: we will not participate in cabinet session if situation remained unchanged
 

Mon 28/11/2011 11:15

NNA - 28/11/2011 - Culture Minister Gaby Layoun announced Monday that the Change and Reform bloc Ministers will not participate in Wednesday cabinet session if things remained unchanged.

The Minister told Sawt Al-Mada radio station that the bloc's stance emanates from their commitment to solving the people's livelihood issues and answering their demands.

"We cannot tie the government's destiny to the special tribunal's funding issue while people are suffering from the heavy burden of their social and economic problems," he pointed out.

Commenting on Future Movement's festival held yesterday in Tripoli, Layoun said it was nothing but a provocation against Syria.

Separately, the Culture Minister said in a talk with "Voice of Lebanon" radio station that the STL was imposed on Lebanon under chapter 7, against all United Nations' charters.

Layoun assured as well that the Change and Reform bloc is not divided in any way, confirming that Marada and Tashnag Ministers have the full right not to resign if the FPM leader, Michel Aoun, decided to.
D.K.

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Politics - Moussa: Berri seeks solution for STL funding
 

Mon 28/11/2011 10:49


NNA - 28/11/2011 - Deputy Michel Moussa said that Speaker of the House Nabih Berri is trying to find a solution concerning STL funding.

The MP stressed continuous and intensive contacts to find an exit, considering that Wednesday is not the deadline for the tribunal funding issue, adding that the cabinet session could be postponed for more study, stressing that the cabinet should be more cohesive.

Moussa told on Monday to "Voice of Lebanon" radio that "Special Tribunal for Lebanon is subject to discussion through a comprehensive solution".

The MP urged the cabinet to take into consideration people's livelihood issues, pointing out that the cabinet has prepared to execute important issues like the electoral law and the budget and others.

A.A.M

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Politics - (UPDATED) Kabbara: Fire shots won't scare me
 

Mon 28/11/2011 10:18


NNA - 28/11/2011 - "Future" bloc member Deputy Mohamad Kabbara stressed that those who opened fire on his office will not scare him and won't change his convictions.

Moreover, he stressed that those who fired on Kabbara's office were irked by the success of the Independence rally in Tripoli on Sunday which was held by Future bloc.

The MP explained on Monday to "Voice of Lebanon"-Dignity and Freedom radio "four bullets were fired on my office on Sunday dawn before the rally", pointing out that his supporters did not blow this issue out of proportion so that Tripol's rally would not be affected on the occaision of Independence.

Kabbara said that a person involved in the shooting was arrested, calling on supporters to wait until investigations are over.
 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Ogassapian: Cabinet is clinically dead
 

Mon 28/11/2011 10:18

NNA - 28/11/2011 - Member of Parliament Jean Ogassapian told Voice of Lebanon on Monday that the government of Prime Minister Najib Mikati is clinically dead, adding that this cabinet is incoherent and inept.

He argued that the cabinet has put Lebanon in a collision course with the international community due to its reluctance to fund the Special Tribunal for Lebanon.

"The cabinet is eroding every day and is now clinically dead. Its departure will leave a vacuum in the country but its presence will be catastrophic. The country cannot withstand the consequences of the government's failure to fund the tribunal or address the issue of illegal weapons," Ogassapian said.

The MP expected the return of March 14 to power soon due to the massive losses that were caused by the current government.

"Future movement has continued on the principles of the Cedar revolution and is still committed to the STL."

The MP added that Lebanon has put itself in the eyes of the storm when it refrained from applying economic sanctions on Syria.

O.H

NNA 2011 All rights reserved












 

Politics - Kabbara: Fire shots won't scare me
 

Mon 28/11/2011 09:46

NNA - 28/11/2011 - "Future" bloc member Deputy Mohamad Kabbara stressed that those who opened fire on his office will not scare him and won't change his convictions.

Moreover, he stressed that those who fired on Kabbara's office were irked by the success of the Independence rally in Tripoli on Sunday which was held by Future bloc.

The MP explained on Monday to "Voice of Lebanon"-Dignity and Freedom radio "four bullets were fired on my office on Sunday dawn before the rally", pointing out that his supporters did not blow this issue out of proportion so that Tripol's rally would not affected on the occaision of Independence.

Kabbara said that a person involved in the shooting was arrested, calling on supporters to wait until investigations are over.
 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Majdalani: Cabinet resignation in hand of Hezbollah and Syrian regime
 

Mon 28/11/2011 09:24


NNA - 28/11/2011 - Future Parliamentary bloc member Atef Majdalani said the resignation of the government is actually in the hand of Hezbollah and the Syrian regime.

Speaking to Radio Free Lebanon, the MP argued that both Hezbollah and the Syrian regime will only give their seal of approval for the government's resignation if this cabinet has fulfilled its designated tasks.

"But if Hezbollah and the Syrian regime refuse the resignation of the government then this maybe under the assumption that the time for such a step is not ripe yet."

Commenting on Tripoli rally, Majdalani stressed that this rally demonstrated that the people wants the "Arab Spring", adding that former Prime Minister Saad Hariri did not appear on TV screen because he did not want act like other people, in clear reference to Hezbollah's secretary general Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah.

O.H

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Politics - Handing-over ceremony within the Indonesian UNIFIL Contingent
 

Sun 27/11/2011 22:11

NNA - 27/11/2011 - Eastern Sector Commander within the UNIFIL peace-keeping forces in South Lebanon, General Fernando Guetereth de Otathieu, patronized Sunday the handing-over ceremony within the Indonesian military contingent operating in the Southern area of Adshit - Marj'Ayoun. Representatives of the Lebanese security forces and the UNIFIL were present during the handing-over ceremony.
Following both the Lebanese and Indonesian national anthems, General Guetereth gave a word in which he praised the outgoing Indonesian contingent and welcomed the new Indonesian soldiers who have newly arrived in Lebanon. He hailed the efforts exerted by the outgoing Indonesian contingent in contributing to peace-preservation in the region in spite of various difficulties and arising obstacles. He also addressed a welcoming word to the new Indonesian contingent, wishing them success in carrying out their duties to the utmost.
R.Sh.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Hariri greets participants in Tripoli's national event
 

Sun 27/11/2011 20:02

NNA - 27/11/2011 - Former Prime Minister, Saad Hariri, addressed a word of greeting to all those who took part in Sunday's festival in Tripoli, organized by the Future Trend under the headline, "Weapons' Autumn, Independence's Spring!" Hariri expressed sincere gratitude to the people of Tripoli, Akkar, Dennieh, Minieh and the whole North region who have stressed, once again, their commitment to the national constants of the Cedar Revolution, March 14th Movement and the path of the late PM Rafic Hariri. He added that the wide participation in Sunday's national event has shown that the attempts to target the path of freedom, sovereignty, independence and the International Tribunal shall be thwarted no matter what!
Hariri continued to note that Sunday's celebration marking Independence Day came as an occasion to stress that no weapons can be above the State's rule and authority. He added that today's event was also an occasion to express support to the Syrian people and the Arab Spring movements, as well as being a chance to launch Lebanon's refusal of all forms of violence and oppression. He considered that participants have expressed their solidarity with their Syrian brethrens who are struggling for the sake of their freedom and democratic regime.
Hariri concluded by expressing his regret at not being able to partake in Tripoli's national event in person, but vowed to remain close to his supporters and faithful to their values and principles. He hoped to be present amongst them soon and for a chance to renew vows for establishing a state of justice and national stability in Lebanon.
R.Sh.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Berry marks first Ashoura night in Mseileh
 

Sun 27/11/2011 18:40

NNA - 27/11/2011 - House Speaker, Nabih Berry, observed Sunday first Ashoura night at his Mseileh residence, in presence of Deputies Ayoub Hmayid, Ali Bazzi, Yassin Jaber and Hani Kobeissi, and a number of other political and religious figures.
Al-Alamah Sheikh Ali Yaghi read out words from the Koran and shed light on the philosophy of life and death and martyrdom from the Islamic perspective.
 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Future "Autumn of Arms... Spring of Independence" rally opens in Tripoli
 

Sun 27/11/2011 17:03

NNA - 27/11/2011 - Pro-Hariri Future Parliamentarian bloc organized a mass rally in Tripoli in commemoration of Independence Day and the Cedar Revolution under the theme the "Autumn of Arms... Spring of Independence" at the Rachid Karameh fair in Tripoli. Rally comprised thousands of Hariri supporters with flags and slogans extolling the virtues of Lebanon's 68th Independence and Cedar Revolution.

Amid tight security, buses from all over northern Lebanon brought in Hariri supporters.

Opening the rally, Future parliamentarian, Mohammad Kabbara, spoke about the imminent collapse of so-called "unholy trio of Hizbullah, people and army" with the downfall of the Mikati government.

He noted the elimination of the word state from the unholy trio. He added that the Mikati-led government was superimposed on Tripoli and Lebanon at large and promised its imminent downfall.

He concluded that the militia which occupied west Beirut, the Kharroub district and Druze Mountain could never rank as anti-occupation resistance.

Taking the word next, Deputy of the House, Samir Jisr, reiterated Future Bloc objective of bringing down the Mikati-led cabinet. He accused the government of being a byproduct of Hizbullah black shirts.

Jisr also stressed that national security is the sole responsibility of the Lebanese State. He also spoke about the sanctity of the Special Tribunal saying it must be funded by the government and that it is tantamount to testing the credibility of all those accused of carrying out the murder.

Whether Mikati stays on board or quits, this does not absolve him from his miscalculation because he enabled Hizbullah to lay hands on the reins of powers, Jisr concluded.

In his word at the Future bloc Tripoli rally, MP Marwan Hmadeh, indicated he would never feel sorry about "collapsed Hizbullah-led government." He challenged Berri, Mikati and leading cabinet Ministers not to introduce Lebanon into what he termed as the big Syrian jail at a time when Arab peoples opted for a way out.

Hmadeh recalled that Kamal Jumblatt was an early victim of Asad terrorism and that he paid with his life for refusing to put Lebanon under Syrian tutelage.

The Deputy wanted this day to be the beginning for a return to what he termed as "Lebanese democratic roots and independent resolve."

He ended on a call to let this rally be the dawn of Lebanon's third independence.

Leading March 14 Deputy of the House, Boutros Harb, told Tripoli rally that Lebanon still suffers from an ongoing conspiracy and that unfortunately some of the tools of that plot happened to be Lebanese.

Harb urged Hizbullah arm bearers without naming them that they and their backers must draw proper lessons about oppressive regimes on their way out. He accused gunmen of working to strip Lebanon of its newly-one independence.

He added that March 14 martyrs were subject to murder for a second time and that all what conspirators wanted of this country is to become an inbox for their political messages and arena for the settlement of accounts.

Head of the Future Parliamentarian bloc, MP Fouad Siniora, warned that Lebanon for whose benefit great sacrifices were made, finds itself threatened by diminished stature so that it looks much less than it used to be.

While stressing the non-violent nature of March 14, he stressed that pro-Hariri camp would pursue its objectives with words of persuasion. He also stressed total independence of March 14 vis-�-vis the Syrian opposition saying that the Syrians were acting on their own and that they were in no need to be taught lessons by others including March 14.

He reiterated need for government cooperation with the STL saying its right and duty was to carry out its obligation towards international law and community.

Siniora added that Taef accords must be upheld at all costs since in his words it organized Muslim-Christian coexistence based on parity, democracy, power rotation and renouncing violence. He expressed confidence that justice would be done and murderers reckoning for their bad deeds with the Lebanese maintaining their independence and liberty.

He concluded on a word regarding the role of Arab Christians whom he commended for their luminary role and that democratic Lebanon would be joined soon by other likeminded Arabs.

G.G./P.BC.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Hizbullah, German meeting
 

Sun 27/11/2011 15:05

NNA - 27/11/2011 - Hizbullah Parliamentarian Ali Fayyad conferred with a 2-member delegation from the Federal Republic of Germany comprising Robert Dolger of the Foreign Ministry in Berlin and Charge d'affaires at the Embassy in Beirut Michael Bierghoff.

Discussions reportedly focused on party relations with the German government and an array of domestic/regional developments of concern. No further disclosures as to meeting's outcome were available.
 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - (UPDATE) Charbel from Bkirky: Justice will be served
 

Sun 27/11/2011 14:36

NNA - 27/11/2011 Sunday sermon of Maronite Patriarch Beshara Rahi focused on the murder of Myriam Ashqar, whereby he asked all monasteries and Christian institutions not to house or hire non-Christian foreigners.

Myriam Ashqar, 28, was found dead and soaked in blood Tuesday in a forestland located between the Keserwan towns of Sahel Alma and Harisa. It was later discovered that she was killed by the janitor of Our Lady of the Annunciation monastery in Baqloush. The Syrian janitor Fathi Jabr Salatin, who was well-known in the town where he had been residing over the last year and a half, confessed to the crime.

In order to preserve the sanctity and message of monasteries as well as any Christian institution or organization, Rahi asked to ban non-Christian foreigners. He demanded highest punishment to befall the perpetrator and asked Interior Minister, Marwan Charbel, who was present at the sermon to intensify efforts to protect citizens.

Interior Minister Marwan Charbel denied rumors that the Syrian murderer will be extradited to his mother country. "Security agreements between us and the Syria confirm that any perpetrator will be tried in the country where he committed his crime." He asserted that justice will be firm and swift. However, he did not disclose whether capital punishment would be the ultimate rule in Miryam's case.

The Minister assured that intensive patrols, some in uniform and others undercover, were keeping an eye on the safety of citizens, particularly after recent escalating crimes varying from petty theft to serial killings. "We ask citizens to aid us in reporting any discrepancy they see."

R.Z.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Mikati advocates funding STL from Rome
 

Sun 27/11/2011 14:21

NNA - 27/11/2011 Premier Najib Mikati confirmed to Vatican radio Sunday that he would resign if cabinet fails to approve financing the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL), and revealed he is scheduled to hold talks with Pope Benedict XVI on Monday.

Lebanon was under international obligation to pay 49 percent of its share to the STL, set to try Premier Rafik Hariri's suspected assassins. A cabinet session to tackle said issue is scheduled to be held on Wednesday after Mikati's return from Rome.

"Lebanon is part of the international community and cannot be selective in application of international resolutions," said the PM.

Mikati added he would stress upon President Michel Sleiman's invitation for the Pope to visit Lebanon. "I will confirm for the Pope our keenness on common living despite all dangers facing us."

R.Z.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Zahra criticizes conflicting cabinet
 

Sun 27/11/2011 13:54

NNA - 27/11/2011 Lebanese Forces (LF) MP Antoine Zahra asserted Saturday that present cabinet brought together antagonists under Syrian will in a bid to oust Saad Hariri's cabinet of national unity.

The MP represented LF leader Samir Geagea during a party dinner in Batroun.

"This government has not been glued by any positive project, despite the aesthetic nature of its ministerial statement...which did not fool forces of March 14." Zahra added that when faced by pivotal due-dates, the cabinet proved incapacitated. "They were compelled to flee their responsibilities after placing Lebanon in a confrontation with the Arab world by refusing the Arab Spring."

Zahra stressed that Lebanon has abided by international legitimacy even during its darkest hours of civil war. Consequently, funding the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, investigating assassination of PM Rafik Hariri, should follow suit.

Concerning developing a new electoral law for parliamentary representation, the Lebanese Forces supported proper and adequate representation.

R.Z.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Khalil: solutions to present cabinet crisis
 

Sun 27/11/2011 13:28

NNA - 27/11/2011 - Public Health Minister, Ali Hasan Khalil, inaugurated a painting exhibit in Jdeidet Marje'youn South Lebanon in presence of Deputy Qassem Hashem and a number of dignitaries.

Taking the word, the Minister spoke about the present cabinet crisis and sounded optimistic over the likely outcome when he said appropriate solutions may be soon found to bypass difficulties at hand and get us out of what he termed the cocoon of our own making.

Deputy of the House from the Amal Parliamentarian Bloc, Qassem Hashem, who took the word next, commented on the present government crisis over STL funding saying this could be resolved only through constitutional channels.

Hashem failed to answer as to whether the Prime Minister would tender in his resignation or not. He rather referred to what he termed as constitutional procedures and concluded that right modalities would be adopted to cope with any similar future contingencies.

The exhibit inauguration was followed by a cocktail party.

G.G./P.BC.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Fatfat happy with Tripoli festival turnout
 

Sun 27/11/2011 13:23

NNA - 27/11/2011 MP Ahmad Fatfat told New TV Sunday that the number of people participating in Tripoli's festival exceeded expectations.

March 14 Camp called supporters for a rally in the northern city of Tripoli in solidarity with the Syrian people's uprising against Baath regime of Bashar Assad, as well as local demands of funding the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL), investigating the murder of PM Rafik Hariri.

"Many circumstances dictated presence of Future Bloc on the Tripolite scene," said Fatfat, "there are two basic files still in question on the internal scene, the first being an unarmed Tripoli which PM Najib Mikati promised but did nothing about, and the file of the funding of the STL."

The MP concluded that this festival would confirm March 14'c political stances, which were one and the same as the demands of the people.

R.Z.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Kayrouz: Assad's downfall quasi-assured
 

Sun 27/11/2011 12:46

NNA - 27/11/2011 Lebanese Forces' deputy of the House Elie Kayrouzs asserted Bashshar Assad's downfall is "a quasi-final matter."

Kayrouz, and in an interview on Voice of Free Lebanon radio station, added that the Assad regime constitutes an asset and major convenience to Israel. He retorted that "in view of reigning total quiet on the Golan, Assad's regime tacitly plays the role of guardian and protector of the Jewish State and this is how Israel became the major backer of the Syrian Baath." He noted that toppling the regime became not just a priority for Syrian oppositionists but also for Arab, regional and international circles as well.

The MP reiterated Maronite-Christian backing for justice and equality in the face of violence and oppression meted against them for long by the hegemonist Assad regime.

In the event of Lebanese government withholding of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) funding, Kayrouz concluded that this would be tantamount to "a coup de grace" bullet of mercy for any future Lebanese role in international affairs.

G.G.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Rahi: Keep out non-Christians from our monasteries
 

Sun 27/11/2011 12:42

NNA - 27/11/2011 Sunday sermon of Maronite Patriarch Beshara Rahi focused on the murder of Myriam Ashqar, whereby he asked all monasteries and Christian institutions not to house or hire non-Christian foreigners.

Myriam Ashqar, 28, was found dead and soaked in blood Tuesday in a forestland located between the Keserwan towns of Sahel Alma and Harisa. It was later discovered that she was killed by the janitor of Our Lady of the Annunciation monastery in Baqloush. The Syrian janitor Fathi Jabr Salatin, who was well-known in the town where he had been residing over the last year and a half, confessed to the crime.

In order to preserve the sanctity and message of monasteries as well as any Christian institution or organization, Rahi asked to ban non-Christian foreigners. He demanded highest punishment to befall the perpetrator and asked Interior Minister, Marwan Charbel, who was present at the sermon to intensify efforts to protect citizens.

R.Z.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Kenaan: No problem between Maronites and Sunnis
 

Sun 27/11/2011 12:04


NNA - 27/11/2011 - Member of parliamentary bloc of Change and Reform, Ibrahim Kenaan, said during Saturday's dinner of the Sin el Fil branch of the bloc that all must respect the reasons behind ministers boycott of cabinet meeting, and not turn the true issue of discriminating right from wrong into discrimination between Sunnis and Maronites.
Ministers of the Aounist bloc of Change and Reform refused to attend an exceptional cabinet session last Friday which was supposed to take place in Baabda under chairmanship of President Michel Sleiman, stating that PM Najib Mikati had no right choosing the session's agenda. The meeting was postponed till upcoming Wednesday.
"No one can force us to keep silent by saying that we are ignoring the constitution, harming the Taef Accord and the Sunni community," he said.

"The case is not a conflict between the Maronites and the Sunnis, as some are trying to portray it, but with the priorities and commitments agreed upon and are at the heart of democratic activity and institutional work," added Kenaan.
 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Majdalani: Hezbollah, Syria own decision in cabinet
 

Sun 27/11/2011 11:43

NNA - 27/11/2011 Future Bloc MP Atef Majdalani told Voice of Lebanon freedom and dignity radio station Sunday that the ones who have any say in cabinet's resignation are Hezbollah and Syrian regime.

The Deputy alluded to two possible scenarios on the domestic scene: either PM Najib Mikati resigns and Lebanon gets dragged into the Syrian crisis; or, cabinet funds Special Tribunal for Lebanon and Mikati wins back his popularity.
Majdalani concluded that both Hezbollah and Syria needed a negotiation card with the international community, and Lebanon's cabinet served that very purpose.

R.Z.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Safadi: discrepancies within cabinet may lead to resignation
 

Sun 27/11/2011 11:21

NNA - 27/11/2011 Finance Minister Mohammad Safadi said Sunday to Voice of Lebanon radio station that the government is a coalition of members of March 8 and independent ministers with diverging opinions, particularly concerning Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL), which may cause cabinet's resignation.

In 2005 a massive explosion killed PM Rafik Hariri and 22 others. The STL was set to probe said murders. Four members of Hezbollah were accused of the killings, a thing which stirred the anger of the Resistance and its March 8 allies of Amal Movement and Aounist trend, prompting them to vehemently object to its funding.

"I hope [the cabinet] persists but on the condition of abiding by commitments of previous administrations," said the Minister who insisted that he would follow cabinet decisions concerning financing the tribunal. "The international community does not threaten the Lebanese government," he asserted, adding that the cabinet was able to tend to its duties towards the STL as well as people's daily life issues.

R.Z.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Aoun: STL is a bluff, country untouchable by NATO
 

Sun 27/11/2011 10:51

NNA 27/11/2011 MP Michel Aoun reassured his supporters Saturday that the fire of the Special Tribunal surrounding Lebanon will not ravish the country, and that the region is immune to NATO interference.

Head of Change and Reform Bloc addressed an audience of his supporters during a dinner in Byblos for the Tannourine branch of the coalition.

He considered that the current situation required solidarity and a closing of ranks in order to successfully change the status-quo. Aoun stressed that the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL), investigating 2005 assassination of PM Rafik Hariri, was a "bluff" especially that the creation of this tribunal was approved by the United Nations. He claimed he got hold of a letter sent by Condoleezza Rice, former US Secretary of State, to France asking them to approve the establishment of the STL outside the framework of the Lebanese parliament "to avoid any obstacles." Under these conditions, according to Aoun, the United Nations must assume the costs of this court.
R.Z.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Mkary, Saied and Franjieh return from Paris
 

Sat 26/11/2011 22:50

NNA - 26/11/2011 - Deputy House Speaker, Farid Mkary, returned Saturday to Beirut, following a visit to the French Capital, Paris.
Former Deputies Fares Saied and Samir Franjieh also returned from Paris today.
 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Zahra: Government is soon to fail!
 

Sat 26/11/2011 21:13

NNA - 26/11/2011 - Member of the Lebanese Forces Parliamentary Bloc, Deputy Antoine Zahra, stated Saturday that the government shall not be given the courtesy of escaping its responsibilities and enjoying a "caretaking status" for long. However, he considered that the government is on the verge of failure, adding that its constituents from the start where not prone for life.
Speaking during an interview to "MTV" Station, Zahra considered that the government has reached crucial challenges, one of which is the funding of the International Tribunal. He added, herein, that the funding matter is directly related to Lebanon's commitment to both the Arab and international legitimacies.
Zahra went on to indicate that Lebanon's interest lies in focusing on the project of building the state; a matter that relies on the victory of March 14th Forces, he added.
R.Sh.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Al-Moallem: We trust that all Arab countries stand against outside interferences
 

Sat 26/11/2011 20:28

NNA - 26/11/2011 - Syrian Foreign and Expatriates Minister, Walid Al-Moallem, addressed a letter Saturday to Arab League Secretary General, Nabil Al-Arabi, and Arab Foreign Ministers related to the protocol project sent to Syria and the League's recent decision.
In his letter, Al-Moallem stated that Syria has followed-up with great concern all decisions by the Arab Ministerial Council after agreement over the Arab work plan and the decision issued on 24/11/2011. He added that Syria has studied the protocol project sent to it; however, he noted that some points still need clarification on part of the Arab League.
Al-Moallem went on to indicate that his country has stressed its keen concern for joint Arab work and its commitment to the Arab work plan which was agreed upon in Doha. However, he noted that the recent League decision seemed as a "hidden approval" allowing for outside interferences in Syria's affairs.
Moreover, Al-Moallem stated that Syria trusts that all Arab countries stand against foreign interferences in Arab nations' affairs. Accordingly, he hoped that the League would issue a stand that would further clarify its position in this respect.
R.Sh.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Daouk for a cool cabinet debate
 

Sat 26/11/2011 16:54

NNA - 26/11/2011 - Minister of Information, Walid Daouk, urged a cool cabinet debate to discuss all files at hand.

The minister and during an intersession on MTV station, opted for serious inter-ministerial talk in boarding all relevant dossiers and divisions far from media spotlight.

The minister did not rule out a last minute diffusion of the present crisis in the interest of Lebanese.

Commenting on Aounist Ministers boycotting the cabinet session, Daouk implored his minister colleagues to approach matters in a serious and placid calm way since in his words this proves to be productive.

He ruled out a recurrence of last Friday's event and downed played serious cabinet divisions and that all it took where divergent view points on certain matters.

He concluded on a ray of hope that a last minute solution might be worked out to the benefit of all Lebanese.

G.G/R.K

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Catholic Synod message of unity and peace
 

Sat 26/11/2011 16:36

NNA - 26/11/2011 - The Catholic Synod of Lebanon wrapped up its 45th round on a public statement summing up its recommendation and resolutions to both clergy and laity.

The Holy Synod of Catholic bishops in Bkirki decided to devote utmost attention to Lebanese-Christian youth by strengthening their faith in religion and Christ. In order to achieve this objective, the Holy Synod decided to modernize Christian theological discourse in the spirit of modem times in order to become more accessible to new generations.

Synod decided to give this aspect more attention by widely publicizing this modernistic approach.

Politically speaking, the Synod resolved to strengthen the spirit of national unity based on the Lebanese Constitution and national accord.

The Holy Fathers of the Synod also devised an approach of placid debate and underscored the importance of nation-building; preferably a civil state based on true citizenship and national accord. The Catholic Synod also accorded attention to the unrest in the Arab World and professed to share equal sentiments with citizens in the Arab world. Synod also favored far-reaching reforms but at the same time urged Arab peoples to pursue their objectives in a non-violent fashion totally divorced from strife and war.

 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Aoun in Need of Ballots and Not Bullets!
 

Sat 26/11/2011 16:06

NNA - 26/11/2011 Former army general Michel Aoun, preferred ballots to bullets when dealing with the Lebanese dimension of the domestic crisis. This is his message to a group of pro-Asad women of Syria coming to pay their respects at his Rabyeh residence.

The general told them that every time his Trend or other local figures resort to solicit help from outside, that outside tend to achieve all of its objectives with us failing as a result to score any of our own.

Also addressing supporters at a Trend dinner banquet in Jbeil, Aoun referred to Saad Hariri without naming him saying "Whoever fears for his fortunes and chooses to live abroad does not deserve to govern. So, ruler ship through personal material interests is impermissible." Also alluding to Miqati, he exhorted him not to panic for his fortunes and that what ultimately counts is a "bilateral or quadruple commitment between members of an identical ruling team." He added that anything other than that is absolutely unacceptable.

Aoun concluded on a note regarding his final and authentic "true battle of reform and change" which perhaps targets certain grievous politicians wishing him to disappear altogether from the political scene.

G.G./R.K.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Aoun advises Syrians to avoid violence, preserver regime
 

Sat 26/11/2011 14:35

NNA - 26/11/2011 MP Michel Aoun advised a delegation of Syrian women Saturday visiting his Rabieh residence to opt for dialogue rather than violence to avoid civil strife.

Head of the Free Patriotic Movement was once the arch-nemesis of the Baathist regime of Hafiz Assad. However, political affiliations brought Aoun closer to the Assad family, and has since become an advocate for the regime, especially with recent people's uprising in the neighboring country calling for the toppling of the Assad reign.

"I urge the Syrian people to seek dialogue not violence� to replace bullets with ballots," he said.
Aoun condemned the international community for claiming that it was supporting human rights in Syria, arguing that it was only after its own benefits.

"How could I believe the international community wants human rights while it supports the violent movement in Syria?"

Aoun described protestors against the Assad regime as extremists and terrorists rather than true reformers. He accused the West, mainly US and Israel, of changing the region's map through the illusion of a people's uprising.
R.Z.
 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Khreiss: Pressure on Lebanon aims to remove the PM
 

Sat 26/11/2011 14:12

NNA - 26/11/2011 - MP Ali Khreiss called on Prime Minister Najib Mikati to stay strong and take bold decisions to make Lebanon a united, immune and resistant country, considering that the pressures prevailing in Lebanon have no connection with the financing of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL), but are clearly aimed at removing the prime minister.

The STL probed the murder of PM Rafik Hariri in 2005 along with 22 other victims. Member of Development and Liberation bloc spoke Saturday in Tyre -South Lebanon during a meeting of solidarity with the Syrian leadership and the people, organized by representatives of Lebanese and Palestinian forces and parties.

The member warned against religious or denominational discourse, calling for strengthening the coexistence of a strong Lebanon "which has excellent and distinguished relations with Syria." He claimed that financing of the STL was assured until 2012.

With that, he reiterated his support on behalf of forces in Tyre of the regime of President Bashar Assad.

"We support the Assad of Syria who has worked hard to prevent civil war in Lebanon," he also shed light on Syrian support for Lebanese resistance since 1978.

Khreiss finally concluded that events in Syria were the result of the country's clear position against Israel, thereby criticizing the decision of the Arab League with regards to sanctions on the neighboring country.

 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Hmadeh: My life not in danger, spring of freedom begins
 

Sat 26/11/2011 13:38

NNA - 26/11/2011 MP Marwan Hmadeh said Saturday to Sharq radio that his life is not in imminent danger, hence, he plans to partake in Tripoli's festival tomorrow, adding that the spring of freedom has commenced.

A serious attempt at Hmadeh's life in late 2004 foreshadowed years of terror and political assassinations in the country. His miraculous escape from a murderous plot earned him the title of the living martyr.

"If we were fearful, we would have stayed at our homes," said the MP, who added that he did not plan to put himself in harm's way when dealing with a group who would stop at nothing to attack Tripoli's festival tomorrow, which is in support of the Syrian people's uprising against Baathist regime of Bashar Assad. He stated that former PM Saad Hariri was present through his supporters, and his talk with French President Nicholas Sarkozy proved fruitful. "Sarkozy was conclusive that the Syrian regime would fall sooner or later, and fees of the Special Tribunal must be dealt with."

The STL, probing the 2005 assassination of PM Rafik Hariri and 22 others, faced fierce objection from March 8 Camp, affiliated with Hezbollah, particularly after 4 members of the Resistance were accused of the murder. "[STL] is the spring of Lebanon, and any implications around it will not see the light." Hmadeh advised Hezbollah to set up a legal defense for their members and for Aoun not to meddle in it.

"The Spring of independence has begun, so has the autumn of arms and there is no point in keeping weapons outside the state, which is the primary resistor." The MP added that Amal Movement and Hezbollah were assessing their position in light of a collapsing Syrian regime. "They are Lebanese� and if they consider themselves thus, they should not worry but rather adapt to changes in Syria."

Commenting on current cabinet, Hmadeh described it as an Iranian-Syrian government with head of Change and Reform Bloc, MP Michel Aoun, stumbling along like a blind man diving deeper into his old grudges and delusional dreams of becoming president.

"Things must be rectified through a genuine Lebanese administration, and restoring the strength of the Lebanese army." Ultimately, Hmadeh called upon President Michel Sleiman to refer back to his inaugural speech.

R.Z.
 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Raad Backing Assad All the Way
 

Sat 26/11/2011 13:10

NNA - 26/11/2011 Head of the Hizbullah parliamentarian Bloc MP Mouhammad Raad, expressed full backing to the Assad regime saying it would spoon-feed the last stone prone to silence its enemies and its US-Israeli backers forever.

The MP's utterance came before a group of pro-regime women from Syria while on a tour of Mleeta/south Lebanon today.

He accused Syrian and Lebanese oppositionists of connivance with the Israelis and that unwavering party support for Assad is tantamount to a pay-back in kind for supporting Hizbullah through-and-through.

Raad defended utter silence on the Golan vis-a-vis Israeli occupation since 1974 on account of sound regime "strategic calculations" and reiterated full party backing in dire moments of crisis so that both his party and the Syrian regime ultimately prevail.


G.G./R.K.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Fatfat: Makati's Allies Won't Let Go!
 

Sat 26/11/2011 12:39

NNA - 26/11/2011 Leading Future Bloc parliamentarian Ahmad Fatfat, stated Makati's inability to tender his resignation simply because his Hizbullah and Aounist allies won't let him do so!

Fatfat and, in a Voice of Lebanon radio talk, added that his allies won't allow him to be productive enough in the dispensation of his normal functions as Lebanese premier.

The pro-Hariri deputy regarded Makati's readiness to tender his resignation as mere maneuvering in the event of cabinet adoption of a resolution to withhold STL-funding.

Fatfat quoted former army general Aoun to the effect that neither the Syrian regime nor Hizbullaah would allow him to leave. He perceived an intense behind-the -scenes effort by Hizbullah chief Hassan Nasrullah to dissuade him from resigning.

The MP reiterated March 14's sticking to the International Court and concluded that oppositionist would go ahead with their anti-government rally in Tripoli.

G.G./R.K.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved
 


Politics - Berri for dialogue to salvage country
 

Sat 26/11/2011 11:51

NNA - 26/11/2011 Speaker Nabih Berri said Saturday, at the opening of a conference organized by his Amal movement at UNESCO Palace in Beirut, that dialogue between different national partners holds the solution to the Lebanese cabinet predicament rather than the resignation of the government.

The Speaker's comments came in the wake of a struggle between ministers of Change and Reform Bloc and Premier Najib Mikati over the funding of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, probing the 2005 assassination of PM Rafik Hariri.
"Experience taught us that no one has the right to veto national decisions," Berri said in his speech. "Understanding requires a national dialogue under the sponsorship of the President to reach consensus over all divisive issues."

Berri also stressed that the stability of the nation was the responsibility of cabinet and opposition alike. "No one can escape his responsibilities towards the crises that we are suffering from and no one can bury his head in the sand," he said.

 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Geagea: Only March 14 can build powerful state
 

Sat 26/11/2011 11:40

NNA - 26/11/2011 Lebanese Forces Leader Samir Geagea told his Mehrab visitors Saturday that in order to establish a strong and capable government, Forces of March 14 must assume power and implement the political project of the Cedars revolution.

Economists and business men visited the veteran politician at his residence in presence of MP Sitrida Geagea.

"To build society and economy we need two factors: stability and trust, but most importantly well established border lines protected by authorities," said Geagea.

R.Z.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - A. Karami retaliates to Aoun's attack on Sunni figures
 

Sat 26/11/2011 11:24

NNA - 26/11/2011 State Minister Ahmad Karami lashed out Saturday on MP Michel Aoun's campaign against Premier Mikati, asserting in a statement that Sunnis are not an easy target.

An extraordinary cabinet session failed to take place Friday as Change and Reform Bloc Ministers boycotted the meeting and threatened of resignation in protest against PM Najib Mikati's backing of funding of Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL), investigating the assassination of PM Rafik Hariri and related crimes.

"Michel Aoun and his ministers continuously provoke the Sunni sect...thinking that this would make them look influential and capable of doing whatever they wished with the country." Karami warned that days of silence were over and every attack would be answered with appropriate rhetoric.

The Minister called upon Aoun's bloc to have mercy on this country and stop the agitation. "Redeem your past and present mistakes towards our people who have tolerated plenty from you."

R.Z.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Bassil threatens of resgination
 

Sat 26/11/2011 11:02

NNA - 26/11/2011 Minister Gibran Bassil announced Saturday from Rabieh that the Aounist bloc is not satisfied with the government's performance, and threatened mass resignation in case things did not go their way.

Change and Reform Bloc held Saturday morning a meeting chaired by Bloc head MP Michel Aoun to evaluate work of the cabinet and assess whether to stay part of it or have their ten ministers resign. The main issue of disagreement between PM Najib Mikati and the Hezbollah backed Aounist bloc was the funding of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, probing 2005 assassination of PM Rafik Hariri, with Aoun's bloc vehemently against it.

"Our participation or boycott of cabinet sessions depends on a number of issues," stated the Energy Minister, who contended that although it was the constitutional right of the President and Premier to decide the cabinet's agenda, there were more pressing issues to be dealt with than the funding of the STL. "Our goal is to repair the government's performance. We refuse to become false witnesses in the cabinet."

Bassil censured the administration for disregarding the implementation of several water and electricity development and investment projects. He stated that people's issues were being ignored for the sake of other less pivotal topics, such as the tribunal.

"Discussions of the draft budget were postponed for two months. We think that the people deserve that the cabinet discuss it." The Minister also demanded the wage boost get top priority at Wednesday's session.

"There are a lot of positions in the state institutions that are not filled yet. The appointments at the Higher Judicial Council are a priority and more important than the international judiciary."

Change and Reform Bloc accused Mikati of ostracizing certain sects from specific posts in state institutions. However, a window for reconciliation was kept open as Bassil showed his Bloc's willingness to discuss the issues with the President and PM. "Dialogue with all officials will stay open."

R.Z.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved

 


 

Politics - Aoun threatens bloc's resignation from cabinet
 

Fri 25/11/2011 22:20


NNA - 25/11/2011 Change and Reform Bloc Head Michel Aoun warned Friday during an interview on OTV that if cabinet persists on its behavior, his bloc would resign.

"We are ready for all possibilities," said MP Aoun, "we have ten ministers, but we are not allowed to practice our authorities freely, and if things continue this way there is no use in us staying in cabinet."

Aoun did not set a specific date for the resignation, highlighting that his ministers made no administrative appointments since assuming office.

R.Z.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Mikati retaliates to FPM ministers: Premiership will not be undermined
 

Fri 25/11/2011 22:09

NNA - 25/11/2011 PM Najib Mikati countered attempts by Free Patriotic Movement (FPM) ministers to belittle his authorities, advising them to review article 64 of the constitution and work for the benefit of the nation, a statement by Mikati's press office said Friday.

Cabinet postponed its session Friday due to the lack of quorum after FPM ministers boycotted the meeting, which was expected to be held at Baabda palace. They said they were unhappy with the way they were being treated, and hence opted for boycotting the session, reported OTV. The ministers considered it was not the right of the PM to organize the agenda and impose it upon cabinet for discussion.

"It would be useful for them to remember the text of Article 64 of the Constitution - sixth paragraph, in which: The President of the Council of Ministers calls the cabinet to session and sets its agenda, familiarize the president of the republic in advance with the issues included and the urgent matters to be discussed," read Mikati's statement.

"The premiership will not be a target each time a certain group finds itself cornered, or attempts to assume a role far larger than its actual size," added the statement which refused to undermine authorities of the PM, which were agreed upon in Taef accord.

An FPM minister claimed that a Chairman for the Supreme Judicial Council had not yet been appointed despite sending the request to the General Secretariat of the Council two months ago, an accusation which Mikati categorically denied

"No such request was delivered to the General Secretariat," He confirmed.

The Prime Minister concluded by inviting all political parties to focus their energy on responsible political work that could benefit the country as a whole.

R.Z.
 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Babacan departs to Turkey
 

Fri 25/11/2011 21:32

NNA - 25/11/2011 Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan left Beirut Friday evening heading to Ankara.

The Turkish official made a number of official visits and also took part in the 15th Annual Arab Banking conference in Beirut.

R.Z.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Ahmadinejad congratulates Lebanon on Independence Day
 

Fri 25/11/2011 21:01

NNA - 25/11/2011 Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad sent a congratulatory telegram to President Michel Sleiman for Lebanon's Independence Day, said Friday a statement released by the Information Office of the Iranian Embassy.

"We ask God to give you constant health and success, and progress for the dear resistant people of Lebanon," read the cable.

R.Z.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Mansour holds 'fruitful' talks over EEZ in Cyprus
 

Fri 25/11/2011 19:22

NNA - 25/11/2011 - Foreign Minister Adnan Mansour on Friday engaged in "positive and fruitful" parleys in Cyprus over the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).

The Minister is currently on a visit in Cyprus, on top of a delegation of consultants, diplomats, and legal and military experts, to resume talks with the Cypriote side over EEZ.

Mansour said, following his meeting Cyprus's Dimitris Christofias, that he sensed the latter's positivity and will to cooperate on the level of maritime borders demarcation.

Means to boost bilateral ties and the resumption of agreements' signature were also on-the-table between Mansour and Cypriote counterpart Erato Kozakou Marcoullis as well as House Speaker Yiannakis Omirou.


R.A.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Akkar MPs mobilize for March 14 rally in Tripoli
 

Fri 25/11/2011 19:07

NNA - 25/11/2011 - The deputies of Akkar called for large popular participation in the rally it was organizing for Sunday at Rachid Karami Gathering Center in Tripoli.

The deputies were Khalid Daher, Riad Rahal, Muin Morabi, Khalid Zahraman and Khodr Habib. They held a meeting at the house of deputy Nidal Tohme in Tal Abbas Al-Gharbi town, where they reviewed overall developments at the local, regional and international scenes.

The deputies said, after the meeting, that if Mikati-led government were to turn away from the Arabs consensus or international obligations, like funding the Special Tribunal for Lebanon - probing the assassination of Martyr Rafic Hariri in 2005 and related crimes - , it would place itself on the track of collapse.

Accordingly, the deputies called for a massive participation to support the STL and express loyalty to Lebanon and all the martyrs.
 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Daouk: No quorum due to travel, personal reasons
 

Fri 25/11/2011 18:51

NNA - 25/11/2011 Information Minister Walid Daouk told reporters Friday that cabinet session was postponed due to lack of quorum, as some ministers were out of the country and others had personal matters to attend to.

The cabinet was scheduled to convene today at Baabda palace, under the chairmanship of President Michel Sleiman, in a session mainly devoted to resume talks over the electoral project law. However, a number of ministers failed to show up. Ultimately, the session was adjourned till upcoming Wednesday.

"This was an exceptional session," explained Daouk, "and there is no political significance [to lack of quorum]."

Ministers of Free Patriotic Movement warned they would resign if funding of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL), probing 2005 assassination of PM Rafik Hariri, were discussed. However, Daouk maintained that next session planned to follow the framework of the ministerial statement, which included STL issue.
 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Qahwaji: The critical situation requires maximum alertness
 

Fri 25/11/2011 18:45


NNA - 25/11/2011 Army Commander General Jean Qahwaji stressed that the critical situation requires from military men demonstrating readiness and maximum degrees of alertness and vigilance, in the face of upcoming challenges.
General Qahwaji was addressing Army officers and military men during an inspection tour he conducted on Friday morning in Fayyadiyyeh Combatants Branch.
The General hailed the efforts and achievements by Intelligence Directorate and its various branches, notably in the field of stamping out spy and terrorism networks and collaboration.
----------------L.Y

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Siniora, Adams tackle current situation
 

Fri 25/11/2011 18:06

NNA - 25/11/2011 "Future" Bloc Head Fouad Siniora met on Friday morning at his "Sadet Tower' office with Canadian Ambassador to Lebanon Hillary Chills Adams, where they tackled the general situation in Lebanon and the region.
On the other hand, Siniora met with UAE Ambassador to Lebanon Youssef Al-Ouseimi, with talks reportedly touching on the current developments on the internal and regional scenes.
 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved
 




 

Politics - Charbel vows administrative decentralization to see light soon
 

Fri 25/11/2011 17:36

NNA - 25/11/2011 - Minister of Interior and Municipalities, Marwan Charbel, on Friday said the project of administrative decentralization would see light soon, with relations among municipal and mayoral committees and citizens to be taken into account, in compliance with the modern state's criteria.

Charbel, representing Lebanese President Michel Sleiman at the annual dinner banquet organized by Jbeil Mayors League at Byblos Palace, called upon mayors to recuperate their former role as social conciliator.

"The Ministry of Interior is exerting efforts to bolster elected local authorities and to support whoever is endeavoring to make Lebanon a better place for its sons," he said.

Separately, Charbel received Deputy Neemtallah Abi Nasr.



R.A.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - # Cabinet session deferred
 

Fri 25/11/2011 17:00

NNA - 25/11/2011 - Ministers failed to form quorum this evening, hence causing postponement of a cabinet session, National News Agency correspondent reported on Friday.

The cabinet was planned to convene today at Baabda palace, under the chairmanship of President Michel Sleiman, in a session mainly devoted to resume talks over the electoral project law.

The session was rescheduled for forthcoming Wednesday.


R.A.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Harb, Connelly patronize reforestation project in North Lebanon
 

Fri 25/11/2011 16:37

NNA - 25/11/2011 - The Lebanese Reforestation Association launched on Friday the 2011-2012 reforestation project funded by the Unites States Agency for International Development and aimed at linking together the 'Cedar Forests' projects between Tannourine and Bsharreh.

The launching ceremony was held at Tannourine municipality headquarters in presence of Deputy Boutros Harb, the US Ambassador to Lebanon Maura Connelly, and other ranking dignitaries.

Parliament member Harb thanked the US Embassy for this initiative which reflects the American concern over the region's affairs; especially that North Lebanon requires various developmental plans at more than one level.

Harb deemed very important the Ambassador's visit to Tannourine, saying it means a lot at a time where the USA and Israel are accused of espionage and ill-will schemes.

"Our relation with the United States and the western countries is not at all individual. It is, in fact, based on the concepts of freedom, democracy and tolerance," he justified.

Ambassador Connelly listed for her part the benefits of reforestation as it protects the environment, reduces erosion, preserves underground water, and lessens air pollution ratios.

"Our commitment to Lebanon and its people is still strong, as strong as it had been 60 years ago when the Lebanese-American developmental partnership saw the light," she finally confirmed.

D.K.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


















 

Politics - N. Hassan: to advance in the course of due files to avoid strife
 

Fri 25/11/2011 16:24

NNA - 25/11/2011 - Druze Sheikh Akl Naim Hassan called upon Lebanese leaders to advance in the course of due files, so as to achieve national unity and justice and avoid any strife.

Hassan's call came in the context of a speech he delivered on Friday on the New Hegira Year occasion.

Hassan also called for returning to the essence of the national pact, Taef, which included so many reforms in need to be put into effect. This Taef was the cornerstone for ratifying modern laws, like that related to the parliamentary elections law, said the Sheikh.

He voiced rejection to the proportionality law of elections, as this would put terms to the trend of reform in the country.

Hassan wrapped up on hoping stability and prosperity for Lebanon and the Lebanese.
 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved
 









 

Politics - Berri meets Mikati, Fletcher over situation
 

Fri 25/11/2011 16:24

NNA - 25/11/2011 - Speaker of the House, Nabih Berri, on Friday met with Prime Minister, Najib Mikati, over most recent political developments.

British ambassador, Tom Fletcher, had also been to Ain-el-Tineh today, for a meeting with Berri over the current juncture in Lebanon and the broader Arab region.

The Speaker later followed up on an array of affairs of Bekaa region, with former Minister Elie Skaff.

He also met with former head of Sidon municipality, Abdul Rahman Bezri.


R.A.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved







 

Politics - Sleiman, Mikati meet prior to cabinet session
 

Fri 25/11/2011 16:18

NNA - 25/11/2011 - Lebanese President, Michel Sleiman, and Prime Minister, Najib Mikati, are currently sitting in a one-on-one meeting at Baabda palace, over the current general situation and most recent developments.

Sleiman will be next chairing a cabinet session, in presence of Mikati, devoted to resume talks over a number of project laws, namely on legislative elections and citizenship recuperation.


R.A.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Aoun, Ghosn tackle wage adjustment
 

Fri 25/11/2011 15:36

NNA - 25/11/2011 - Parliament member, Michel Aoun, received Friday at his Rabyeh residence the General Labor Confederation's Head, Ghassan Ghosn, with whom he tackled economic and social affairs, as well as the wage adjustment project.

Ghosn shed light on the suffering of the laborers, especially those who have limited income, in light of the economic recession generated by the citizens' lack of purchasing power.

The two men highlighted, in this regard, the importance of wage adjustment endorsement so as to help increase the purchasing power of people with law income.

The Social Security has also been the highlight of this visit, especially that this fund includes the widest range of laborers.

Separately, Aoun had received the Korean Ambassador to Lebanon with talks touching on affairs of common interest between the two countries.
D.K.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Fletcher from Mikati's: in need of wise Lebanese stance towards STL
 

Fri 25/11/2011 15:35

NNA - 25/11/2011 - The British Ambassador Tom Fletcher said a wise and calm command was required from different Lebanese sides, in regard to the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, in order to come out with good results serving Lebanon's interest.

Fletcher's position came on Friday in the wake of his meeting at the Grand Serail with Prime Minister Najib Mikati.

Fletcher explained that Lebanon should avoid delving into a confrontation with the international community, whose stance was well-known towards the tribunal - probing the assassination of Martyr Rafic Hariri and related crimes. However, the ambassador added, he approached pending matters with an optimistic view as he always saw the cup of water half-filled.

Separately, the Premier met with the mayor of grand Istanbul, Kadir Topbas, in presence of the mayor of Beirut Bilal Hamad. Topbas said his visit was to put the twin agreement between Beirut and Istanbul, signed last year, into effect. He added it was agreed to send a Lebanese delegation from Beirut's municipality to meet with senior members in Istanbul's.

Among Grand Serail's visitors: the mayor of Sidon Muhammad Saudi, Turkish Prime Minister Deputy Ali Babakan and Deputy Secretary General of UN Asha Mojero.
 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Kabalan calls on Syrians to adopt calmness and wisdom
 

Fri 25/11/2011 14:58

NNA - 25/11/2011 - The vice Head of the Islamic Shiite Supreme Council, Abdel Amir Kabalan, called upon the Syrian people to adopt calmness and wisdom in order to face all threats that might be targeting their country, "especially that Israelis seek destroying it," he said.

"The Lebanese, the Syrians, the Iraqis, the Palestinians and the Bahrainis are all solicited to stray far from conflicts and prioritize their countries' interests," he added.

"Our country currently witnesses contradictory movements which do not tend to calm or stabilize, this is why we should rectify the path we are taking," Sheikh Kabalan concluded.
D.K.
 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Sleiman broaches developments with itinerant visitors
 

Fri 25/11/2011 14:54

NNA - 25/11/2011 - President of the Republic, Michel Sleiman, on Friday met with State Minister Marwan Kheireddine over most recent political developments.

He later received at Baabda presidential palace Hezbollah Deputy, Mohammad Raad, with talks featuring high on the current political situation.

United Nations Deputy Secretary-General, Asha Rose Migiro, had also been to Baabda today, for a meeting with the President over the relations between Lebanon and the UN-affiliated organizations operating in the country.

The meeting was also an occasion to review the implementation course of UNSC Resolution 1701, as well as the headway of the current situation in the Mideast region.

Head of the State Council, Judge Shukri Sader, later informed Sleiman of the council's work.

Talks mainly touched on the citizenship withdrawal issue.

Separately, the President is scheduled to chair a cabinet session today, devoted to venture into the electoral law and the draft law on nationality recuperation.



R.A.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Turkey Deputy Premier in Beirut
 

Fri 25/11/2011 14:47

NNA - 25/11/2011 Turkey's Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan arrived Friday in Beirut.
Babacan was received by the Turkish Ambassador Inan Ozyildiz.

L.W.
 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Kabalan calls on Syrians to adopt calmness and wisdom
 

Fri 25/11/2011 14:58

NNA - 25/11/2011 - The vice Head of the Islamic Shiite Supreme Council, Abdel Amir Kabalan, called upon the Syrian people to adopt calmness and wisdom in order to face all threats that might be targeting their country, "especially that Israelis seek destroying it," he said.

"The Lebanese, the Syrians, the Iraqis, the Palestinians and the Bahrainis are all solicited to stray far from conflicts and prioritize their countries' interests," he added.

"Our country currently witnesses contradictory movements which do not tend to calm or stabilize, this is why we should rectify the path we are taking," Sheikh Kabalan concluded.
D.K.
 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Sleiman broaches developments with itinerant visitors
 

Fri 25/11/2011 14:54

NNA - 25/11/2011 - President of the Republic, Michel Sleiman, on Friday met with State Minister Marwan Kheireddine over most recent political developments.

He later received at Baabda presidential palace Hezbollah Deputy, Mohammad Raad, with talks featuring high on the current political situation.

United Nations Deputy Secretary-General, Asha Rose Migiro, had also been to Baabda today, for a meeting with the President over the relations between Lebanon and the UN-affiliated organizations operating in the country.

The meeting was also an occasion to review the implementation course of UNSC Resolution 1701, as well as the headway of the current situation in the Mideast region.

Head of the State Council, Judge Shukri Sader, later informed Sleiman of the council's work.

Talks mainly touched on the citizenship withdrawal issue.

Separately, the President is scheduled to chair a cabinet session today, devoted to venture into the electoral law and the draft law on nationality recuperation.



R.A.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Turkey Deputy Premier in Beirut
 

Fri 25/11/2011 14:47

NNA - 25/11/2011 Turkey's Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan arrived Friday in Beirut.
Babacan was received by the Turkish Ambassador Inan Ozyildiz.

L.W.
 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Kabbani calls for overlooking political schism
 

Fri 25/11/2011 14:44

NNA - 25/11/2011 - Mufti of the Republic, Sheikh Muhammad Rashid Kabbani, called upon the Lebanese to find a unanimous solution to impose a unified political will in order to surpass the hindrances caused by political battles.

"Willingness to engage in a political environment provided for protecting the country's immunity in the shadow of the dangers it faces along with the Arab region, is currently required," he pointed out.

In his word on the Hegira year occasion, kabbani confirmed that citizens are worried over the future in light of the wide political schism, and in the absence of economic, social and political ways out.

The Sheikh added that political polarizations in the country are standing in the way of economic and social growth and increasing the burden laid on the Lebanese people's shoulders.
D.K.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Daouq, Bartlem tackle latest developments
 

Fri 25/11/2011 14:32

NNA - 25/11/2011 - Minister of Information, Walid Daouq, and Australian ambassador, Alex Bartlem, on Friday engaged in most recent developments on both local and regional arenas.

The meeting, which took place at Daouq's ministerial office today, also broached the Lebanese-Australian two-pronged ties.


R.A.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Lebanese runs for parliamentary elections in France
 

Fri 25/11/2011 13:11

NNA - 25/11/2011 - Mrs. Patricia Elias Smida, who is of Lebanese origins, announced on Friday its candidacy to the parliamentary elections in France.

Mrs. Smida is now candidate for the tenth circumscription to which the French constituents from the African continent (except North Africa), and the Middle East cast their votes.

It is to note that Smida had lived in Lebanon and the Gabon for a certain period of time; therefore she is familiar with this circumscription's aspects.

She hopes for paving the way for French people who live in Africa or the Middle East to express their opinion.
D.K.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Kheir calls on northern people to participate in Sunday's rally
 

Fri 25/11/2011 11:50

NNA - 25/11/2011 - "Future" bloc member Deputy Kazem Kheir called on northern citizens to participate in Sunday's rally, particularly Minnieh and Dinnieh citizens.

The MP stressed in Friday's statement that this occasion is to confirm that there is no independence without a strong state.

The statement added that "Future" bloc organized this event in order to salute the heroes of the first independence and the second independence among them martyr Rafic Hariri, in addition to say that justice is coming although some are trying to delay it.

A.A.M

NNA 2011 All rights reserved





 

Politics - S.Gemayel: Penal code prohibits perpetrators' transfer to their country
 

Fri 25/11/2011 11:19

NNA - 25/11/2011 MP Sami Gemayel said Friday article 2 of the Lebanese Penal Code does not allow the transfer of the Syrian citizen, who committed the Sahel Aalma murder, to Syria so that he would be tried there.

Kataeb Central Committee coordinator said the crime has been committed on Lebanese territories and thus, the Lebanese Law, that has the personal and spatial authorities, ought not to allow the transfer of the criminal.

"Alibis referring to the Lebanese-Syrian judicial convention to allow transferring perpetrator, won't do for article 4 of the convention prohibits any transfer of criminals if crime was committed in the country to which turn in is due," he said.

Gemayel pledged following up on all investigations and developments herein and uttered keenness on having criminal punished.


L.W.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Aswad: "Change and Reform" bloc won't suppport STL funding
 

Fri 25/11/2011 11:13

NNA - 25/11/2011 - Deputy Ziad Aswad stressed that "Change and Reform" bloc would not agree to fund Tribunal (STL).

Although Prime Minister Najib Mikati and some of March 8 blocs support STL funding in the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafic Hariri, "our bloc will not agree on this issue", the MP stressed.

"Whether PM Najib Mikati stays in power or resigns, the ball is in his court and not in ours", Aswad told "Voice of Lebanon"-Freedom and Dignity radio on Friday.

The MP stressed that the ministers of his bloc have not taken till now the decision of resignation, pointing out that the bloc will determine its position in light of the cabinet session on the 30 of this month.

A.A.M

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Maalouf: Tripoli rally a step to topple government
 

Fri 25/11/2011 10:56

NNA - 25/11/2011 - Member of Parliament Joseph Maalouf told Voice of Lebanon "Voice of Freedom and Dignity" on Friday that the political rally which will staged on Sunday in Tripoli is the first step to topple the government of Prime Minister Najib Mikati.

"There is no meaning for the presence of this cabinet because it is unable to run the country at this delicate moment."

He suggested that Mikati has put himself in direct confrontation with Hezbollah when he threatened to resign from the cabinet if Lebanon failed to pay its share in the international tribunal.

Maalouf was not surprised by the statement of Mikati, adding that this marriage between the Prime Minister and Hezbollah was based on pure interest.

O.H

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Zahraman" Northerners will attend rally to express their views
 

Fri 25/11/2011 10:10

NNA - Future Parliamentary bloc member MP Khaled Zahraman told Voice of Lebanon on Friday that people of the north will attend the political rally in Tripoli this Sunday to express their views and support Lebanon's independence.

"I don't think there is any fear of any incident. We as a movement have organized rallies in the past and there were no security incident. We are confident that all the citizens of the north will attend this rally," Zahraman said.

The MP believes that the Cabinet may find an acceptable solution for the issue of tribunal funding that will not lead to the fall of the government and won't embarrass the government and Hezbollah at the same time.

O.H

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Mikati: Lebanon is committed to international resolutions
 

Thu 24/11/2011 23:40

NNA - 24/11/2011 Prime Minister Najib Mikati stressed Lebanon's commitment to international resolutions, saying he shall resign in case the Cabinet does not approve funding Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL)
STL is a UN-backed court probing the assassination of late Statesman Rafic Hariri and related crimes.
Mikati was speaking in an interview to LBC Station on Thursday evening.
Mikati said that his resignation shall protect Lebanon in the case the Cabinet does not approve funding STL, saying he has worked for the protection of Lebanon and the opposition. He said he has a clear conscience working for the interest of the nation.
He also underlined that the government's policy is dissociating Lebanon from what is currently taking place in Syria, wishing security and safety to Arab countries.
--------------L.Y

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Daouk: Media is not responsible for disputes among politicians
 

Thu 24/11/2011 23:07

NNA - 24/11/2011 Information Minister Walid Daouk said that media is not responsible for the disputes among politicians, stressing that media is carrying out its information and professional role with all transparency, responsibility and earnestly.
Minister Daouk was speaking during the inauguration of "Christian Exhibition for Information and Culture" organized by World Catholic Union for Press- Lebanon (UCIPLIBAN), entitled "Information and Stringent Youth causes".
The Exhibition is held at Mar Elias Monastery-Antelias- under the patronage of Maronite Patriarch Mar Bechara Boutros Rahi, represented by Maronite Monastic General President.
The Exhibition honored National News Agency (NNA) marking its 50th anniversary, whereby Father Daoud Raidi and Union Head Father Tony Khadra presented NNA Head Laure Sleiman Saab an honorary shield on the occasion.
In his delivered word, Minister Daouk said he shares with the youths their aspiration for a nation vacant of strained, confessional and edgy speech, which cast aside narrow personal calculations.
"The youths play an effective role in society motivated by a promising dynamism challenging difficulties", Minister Daouk said, renewing the government's commitment to youth-related causes and working for a better future for the upcoming generations.
Daouk stressed the importance of safeguarding and boosting freedom of expression amongst the youths within the framework of laws in effect and conscious responsibility.
----------------L.Y

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Daouk: Media is not responsible for disputes among politicians
 

Thu 24/11/2011 22:40

NNA - 24/11/2011 Information Minister Walid Daouk said that media is not responsible for the disputes among politicians, stressing that media is carrying out its information and professional role with all transparency, responsibility and earnestly.
Minister Daouk was speaking during the inauguration of "Christian Exhibition for Information and Culture" organized by World Catholic Union for Press- Lebanon (UCIPLIBAN), entitled "Information and Stringent Youth causes".
The Exhibition is held at Mar Elias Monastery-Antelias- under the patronage of Maronite Patriarch Mar Bechara Boutros Rahi, represented by Maronite Monastic General President.
The Exhibition honored National News Agency (NNA) marking its 50th anniversary, whereby Father Raidi and Union Head Father Tony Khadra presented NNA Head Laure Sleiman Saab an honorary shield on the occasion.
In his delivered word, Minister Daouk said he shares with the youths their aspiration for a nation vacant of strained, confessional and edgy speech, which cast aside narrow personal calculations.
"The youths play an effective role in society motivated by a promising dynamism challenging difficulties", Minister Daouk said, renewing the government's commitment to youth-related causes and working for a better future for the upcoming generations.
Daouk stressed the importance of safeguarding and boosting freedom of expression amongst the youths within the framework of laws in effect and conscious responsibility.
----------------L.Y

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - "Kalimat Sawaa" Conference opens up at UNESCO
 

Thu 24/11/2011 20:41

NNA - 24/11/2011 "Al-Imam Moussa Sadr Center" held on Thursday its 12th Kalimat Sawaa Conference entitled "Social and Political Change by Al-Sadr- Vision-Outlook-Message" at UNESCO Palace, attended by a great number of political, religious, media, judicial, diplomatic and military dignitaries.
Attending the Conference have been Speaker of the House Nabih Berri representing President of the Republic General Michel Sleiman, Information Minister Walid Daouk representing Prime Minister Najib Mikati, and Deputy Mohamed Raad representing Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyid Hassan Nasrallah.
In her inaugural word, "Imam Moussa Sadr Institutions" Head Rabab Sadr said that the aim of their work is to follow up the cause of Al-Imam Moussa Sadr and inquiring about his whereabouts.
Delivering a word in the name of Maronite Patriarch Mar Bechara Boutros Rahi, Monsignor Kamil Moubarak said we work all together in conformity with the intellect of Al-Sadr to reach what we call a loving civilization.
Representing Mufti of the Republic Sheikh Mohamed Rashid Qabbani, Sheikh Wafic Hijazi called for making our words and emblems emanating from the nation's supreme interests.
Delivering a word in the name of Greek Orthodox Patriarch Agnatius Fourth Hazim, Metropolitan Ghattas Hazim noted that Al-Sadr's intellect is still valid nowadays with the existence of globalization culture.
Representing Vice Head of the Islamic Supreme Shiite Council Sheikh Abdel Amir Qabalan has been Sheikh Ahmad Qabalan who called in his word for extinguishing the fire in Syria so that this fire won't reach Arab houses as well.
Speaking on the occasion has been Sheikh Ghassan Halabi representing Druze Sheikh Akl Naiim Hassan, who wondered what benefits the human being if he wins the treaty and loses his nation as a result of sensitivities and fanaticism.
Roman Catholic Patriarch Gregorius III Lahham, represented by Metropolitan Karellis Boustros, pointed out that Al-Sadr has been the first Muslim Imam delivering sermons in churches.
---------------L.Y

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Deputy Secretary-General visits UNIFIL
 

Thu 24/11/2011 19:01

NNA - 24/11/2011 - The Public Information Office of the United Nations Interim force in Lebanon on Thursday issued the following:
"United Nations Deputy Secretary-General Asha Rose Migiro visited the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) where she met with Force Commander Major-General Alberto Asarta Cuevas and the Mission's senior leadership.
At the Mission headquarters in southern Lebanon, Ms. Migiro was briefed about UNIFIL's operations, attended a town hall meeting with the civilian staff members and was hosted by members of the Tanzanian contingent. She also undertook a tour by UNIFIL helicopter of the Line of Withdrawal (Blue Line).
The Deputy Secretary-General inspected a Quick Impact Project funded by UNIFIL to build three new classrooms for the Naqoura village's only Intermediate Public School which helps provide improved access to education for the local community.
In the city of Tyre, Ms. Migiro attended a luncheon organized by the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF), under the patronage of Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) Commander General Jean Kahwaji, on the commemoration of Lebanese Independence Day. Major-General Abdul-Rahman Shehaitly, representing the LAF Commander, LAF South Litani Sector Commander Brigadier-General Sadeq Tlais and UNIFIL Force Commander Major-General Asarta also attended the lunch.
During her visit, the Deputy Secretary-General praised UNIFIL's contribution to peace and security in the area. "UNIFIL's presence aims to help create a window of opportunity for establishing a permanent ceasefire and finding a long-term solution to the conflict," she said.
Ms. Migiro lauded the progress achieved in southern Lebanon, noting the respect for the cessation of hostilities and the unprecedented stability as well as the "strong peacekeeping partnership" between the LAF and UNIFIL to maintain the stability.
"We could never succeed in our mission without cooperation from our hosts. Here in Lebanon, we benefit from an excellent partnership. Let us celebrate our partnership on this meaningful day of Lebanon's independence. Most of all, let us pledge to do our utmost together so that this country will find lasting peace and prosperity," Ms. Migiro said.
The Deputy Secretary-General said peacekeepers' resolve will not waver in the face of challenges and attacks. She recalled the sacrifices of UNIFIL, which lost 293 peacekeepers since its establishment in 1978, noting the losses were the largest in any peacekeeping operation.
"The best way to honor their sacrifice is to carry on their work. That is what you are doing with great dedication and professionalism," she said.
Ms. Migiro will meet with Lebanese officials in Beirut later in the week, and will also chair the 16th UN Regional Coordination Mechanism for the Arab States. The RCM will have a strong focus on regional preparations leading up to next year's Rio+20 Conference on sustainable development."


 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Rahi meets Fouad Turk
 

Thu 24/11/2011 18:22

NNA - 24/11/2011 - Maronite Patriarch, Bechara Butros Rahi, on Thursday met with Ambassador Fouad Turk in Bkerki.

R.A.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Aoun meets delegation of Zahle merchants association
 

Thu 24/11/2011 18:13

NNA - 24/11/2011 - Member of Parliament Michel Aoun on Thursday met at his residence in Rabieh with a delegation of Zahle merchants association, headed by Elie Shalhoub.

Talks reportedly touched on an array of daily life matters, whereby the delegation demanded to reactivate the economic cycle.

"Zahle is like any other Lebanese region (...) but it requires the activation of tourism, economy, and services, especially on the level of energy and electricity," Shalhoub said following the meeting.


R.A.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Qandil from Berri's: confident that Syria able to overcome crisis
 

Thu 24/11/2011 18:04

NNA - 24/11/2011 - Former Deputy Nasser Qandil said he was confident that Syria was able to overcome its crisis and to formulate its upcoming political reform equation.

Qandil's opinion came in the wake of a visit he made on Thursday to House Speaker Nabih Berri at the latter's residence in Ain Tineh.

He hoped that Lebanon would keep outside the scope of the Syrian crisis, in order for local politicians not to invest something illusory for the purpose of acquiring benefits in the interior.

Also, Qandil feared that political tensions, in regard to the crisis, would tend to drive the country to a despicable national strife. He thereupon called for the necessity to disassociate Lebanon from the Syrian developments.

Qandil said that Lebanese must not lose the opportunity of gaining benefits from the present cabinet to establish a well-governed state.

Separately, Berri received a delegation of the municipal council of Istanbul, headed by Kadir Topbas, who related to the host a twin agreement between Beirut and Istanbul.
A.M.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Sleiman sees Arab economic union necessary
 

Thu 24/11/2011 17:53


NNA - 24/11/2011 - President of the Republic, Michel Sleiman, on Thursday stressed that the Arab economic union was necessary to kick off a larger and more inclusive union.

The President met today at Baabda presidential palace with the head of Arab Banks' Union, Joseph Torbey, accompanied by a delegation, upon the inauguration of the Union's annual conference in Beirut.


R.A.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved






 

Politics - Siniora, Watkins meet
 

Thu 24/11/2011 17:33

NNA - 24/11/2011 - Head of Future parliamentary bloc, MP Fouad Siniora, on Thursday met with UDP representative in Lebanon, Robert Watkins.

The meeting, held at Siniora's office in Sadat Tower, featured high on the current general situation and most recent developments in Lebanon and the broader Arab region.



R.A.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved




 

Politics - Gemayel, Ahmed Hariri meet
 

Thu 24/11/2011 16:42

NNA - 24/11/2011 - Head of Kataeb Party, former President Amine Gemayel, on Thursday met with the Secretary General of Future Movement, Ahmed Hariri, over latest political and security developments on both local and regional arenas.


R.A.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Telecoms Minister, Spanish envoy meet
 

Thu 24/11/2011 16:40

NNA - 24/11/2011 - Minister of Telecommunications, Nicolas Sehnawi, on Thursday met with Spanish ambassador, Juan Carlos Gafo, over the current general situation and most recent political developments in Lebanon and the broader Arab region.

A statement by the Spanish embassy also indicated that both men broached bilateral ties and the means to bolster cooperation on the level of telecoms.



R.A.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved





 

Politics - Charbel, Zahraman discuss the general situation
 

Thu 24/11/2011 16:39

NNA - 24/11/2011 - Interior and Municipalities Minister Marwan Charbel received on Thursday at his office Deputy Kahlid Zahraman and discussed with him the general political situation.

Zahraman hailed the security forces that were able to catch hold of the thieves who stole last week the Greek Orthodox Bishopric in Ashrafieh, the murderer of the lady Miriam Achkar, and the culprits of another murder in Nabaa.

Zahraman reiterated Charbel's stance of the necessity to keep alert to anything that could hurt the local interior, in order to avoid any sort of unrest in the country.

Separately, Charbel received a delegation of Beirut Marathon Association, headed by May Khalil, who thanked the interior ministry and Charbel for the efforts drawn to provide an ambience of calm for Marathon competition on coming Sunday.

Among Charbel's visitors: former Deputy Faysal Sayegh, Chief of the Dentists Syndicate in Beirut Sharaf Abu Sharaf, and others.
 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Shehayeb rules out resignation from government
 

Thu 24/11/2011 16:36

NNA - 24/11/2011 - Member of Parliament Akram Shehayeb on Thursday told Voice of Lebanon radio station that PSP Ministers would not resign from the government.

The long-simmering issue of whether to fund the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL), probing the 2005 assassination of statesman Rafik Hariri, is feared to sharpen division among Mikati-led cabinet, hence to lead a number of ministers to resign.

But Mountain Deputy today avowed that any government was better than a no-government state. "We cannot enter a security and political unknown [stage]," he said.

He said Ministers were searching for a loophole, pertaining to the funding issue, stressing that STL was the cornerstone of curbing the assassinations' series in Lebanon.

"A vote on the tribunal is a vote on the position of the country and the government; there is no such thing as consideration within the international community, there are sanctions [instead]," he underlined.



R.A.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved











 

Politics - Bilateral ties top talks between Mikati, Ukrainian senior
 

Thu 24/11/2011 15:45

NNA - 24/11/2011 - Prime Minister Najib Mikati received on Thursday at the Grand Serail head of the Ukrainian Delegation for Economic and Trade Cooperation, Anatole Blasnik, with talks featuring high on bilateral ties.

Blasnik said he proposed during his meeting with the Premier two projects pertaining to the fields of agriculture and energy, indicating that discussions in this concern would continue later on in Beirut.

Mikati also received the Tunisian Central Bank senior, Mustafa Kamel Al-Nabi, accompanied by the Tunisian Ambassador Muhammad Fawzi Ballout. Both discussed bilateral ties at the economic level, and Al-Nabi extended to the host an invitation to visit Tunisia at a near time.

Separately, Mikati received a letter from the Irish President Marie Mc Aleese, who thanked Lebanon for the generous welcome upon her visit to the country and her tour therein. She hoped stability and prosperity for the nation.
 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Array of affairs on Sleiman's agenda today
 

Thu 24/11/2011 15:20


NNA - 24/11/2011 - President of the Republic, Michel Sleiman, on Thursday met with Kataeb Head, Amine Gemayel, over most recent developments in Lebanon and the broader Arab region.

Sleiman later met with Head of Istanbul Municipality, Kadiri Topbas, in presence of Beirut municipality head, Bilal Hamad.

Talks reportedly featured high on cooperation between both municipalities.

A delegation of Zahle and Bekaa Syriac Orthodox, comprised of former Minister Selim Warde, Archbishop Boulos Safar, and Bishop George Saliba, had also been to Baabda palace today, for a meeting with the President over the issue of withdrawing nationality.

Sleiman later received UNDP representative to Lebanon, Robert Watkins.

He also followed up on the current security situation in the country and along borders, with Army Chief, General Jean Qahwaji.

A delegation of the Lady of the Mountain Gathering's follow-up committee had also been to Baabda today, and handed the President a copy of the recommendations it issued in the wake of its former meeting on October 23, labeled "the role of Christians in the Arab spring."



R.A.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Ghosn tackles cooperation with UNIFIL with UNTSO delegation
 

Thu 24/11/2011 14:56

NNA - 24/11/2011 - National Defense Minister Fayez Ghosn received Thursday at his ministerial office a delegation of The United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO) with talks featuring high on general situation in Lebanon and the region as well as on the importance of boosting cooperation between Lebanon and the UNIFIL.

On another note, Ghosn met with a delegation of Hezbollah comprised of Deputies Nawar Al-Sahili and Ali Al-Meqdad. Conferees went over general developments with special emphasis on the security situation in Bekaa region and the measures adopted by the Army and the security forces to put things back on track.
D.K.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Layyoun broaches Lebanese, Mexican cooperation
 

Thu 24/11/2011 14:43

NNA - 24/11/2011 - Minister of Culture, Gaby Layyoun, on Thursday reviewed with Mexican ambassador, Jorge Alvarez, bilateral ties on all levels, particularly in the field of culture.

The pair agreed over the necessity to put forth a mechanism aimed at entrenching relations between both countries and exchanging expertise.

The meeting was also an occasion to discuss the possibility to hold a Mexican week in Lebanon and vice versa.


R.A.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Tomeh calls for massive participation on Sunday 27
 

Thu 24/11/2011 14:40

NNA - 24/11/2011 MP Nidal Tomeh recalled Thursday on the people to partake in the Future movement celebration in Tripoli.

The movement is organizing an event to celebrate the Independence Day on Sunday November 27 in Tripoli City.

Tomeh hoped Tripoli Ministers would represent the voice of people and ratify the funding of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon for otherwise, government would enter in conflict with the people's will.

"Hariri's word would draw the future horizon of the peaceful democratic political opposition movement," he said.

The MP condemned later on the Syrian incursion and kidnapping operation in Aarsal town and hoped government would answer ambiguous questions herein for people have had enough of "governmental silence."



L.W.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Sahili: Hezbollah above suspicion in Arsal incident
 

Thu 24/11/2011 13:24


NNA - 24/11/2011 - Deputy Nawar Sahili responded Thursday to the statements of Deputies Jamal Al-Jarrah, Mouin Merehbi, Muhammad Kabbara and others who claimed that Hezbollah bearded and masked members entered the village of Arsal in Bekaa to arrest a citizen in cooperation with the Lebanese Army.

Sahili who rejected these claims clarified that the Lebanese Army had issued a communique stating that an Army patrol was assigned to enter Arsal village and carry out a certain premeditated mission.

"Hezbollah has nothing to do with Arsal's incident," he assured, confirming therefore that those Deputies' statements are nothing but fabrications and misleading information.

"Accusations against Hezbollah are absolutely null and void," the Deputy noted, saying it is not the first time that the party goes through such provocative campaigns.
D.K.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Fletcher meets with President of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon
 

Thu 24/11/2011 11:43

NNA - 24/11/2011 - Following his meeting with Sir David Baragwaneth, the President of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, British Ambassador Tom Fletcher said: 'I was pleased to meet Sir David on his important and timely visit, and applauded him for the vigor with which he is pursuing his responsibilities'

'I reiterated British opposition to the dangerous notion that those who assassinate Lebanese leaders are somehow beyond the realms of justice. We were encouraged by the commitments made by the Lebanese leadership that Lebanon will meet its international obligations. This is in the interests, first and foremost, of Lebanon.'

 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Houry: Cabinet will resign end of this month
 

Thu 24/11/2011 10:22

NNA - 24/11/2011 - "Future" bloc member Deputy Ammar Houry said that the cabinet would resign the end of November.

The MP added that the end of this month the cabinet would convene and would discuss STL funding issue related to the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafic Hariri, confirming that it would be the last session for it since the other team insisted on not funding STL while Prime Minister Najib Mikati has a different position on this matter.

Houry stressed on Thursday to "Voice of Lebanon"-Freedom and Dignity radio that "most of the Lebanese do not want to confront the international legitimacy", calling on the other party who wants to take Lebanon to another place to be responsible.

The MP was asked if Prime Minister Saad Hariri will attend Tripoli's rally, he said "nothing is determined till now".

Concerning the situation in Syria, Houry stressed that March 14 refuses any harm against the Syrian people, adding "we are with all measures which support this people", considering that this cause is not the regime's cause because it leaves and stays but people remains.

A.A.M

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Mansour: Lebanon will not proceed with economic sanctions on Syria
 

Thu 24/11/2011 10:18

NNA - 24/11/2011 - Foreign Minister Adnan Mansour told Voice of Lebanon "Voice of freedom and Dignity" on Thursday before leaving to Cairo to attend the Arab League meeting that Lebanon will not go ahead with any economic sanctions on Syria because this step would backfire on the country.

"This position does not represent the foreign minister only but also reflect the views of Lebanon and the Lebanese government," the minister said.

He assured that there is a consensus among all ministers in the cabinet concerning the position Lebanon will take at the Arab League meeting.

"Our condition as a state is not similar to other states in the region because we have certain political, economic, and social and security characteristics and Syria is the only gateway for Lebanon," Mansour said.

Asked about the American spying ring which was busted by Hezbollah, Mansour said that in light of the government's request, he will try to verify this information with U.S. Ambassador Maura Connelly in order to find out the truth behind this report.

O.H

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Mousa calls for national dialogue on tribunal funding
 

Thu 24/11/2011 09:59

NNA - 24/11/2011 - Member of Parliament Michel Mousa on Thursday called for a national dialogue that includes all parties in the country in an attempt to reach an understanding on the funding of the tribunal.

Speaking to Voice of Lebanon, the MP underlined the importance of giving more time for consultations and deliberations among various groups in the cabinet over the funding of the international tribunal for Lebanon.

"There should be a national dialogue that includes all parties in the country and not only in the cabinet. This dialogue could reach an understanding on the tribunal," Mousa said.

The MP also touched on the appalling conditions of the prisons in Lebanon despite the money which were allocated to the Higher Salvation Committee to improve conditions in these jails.

"We need to sidestep red tape and administrative routines and review all the files in a speedy manner so that they won't become an excuse to stage riots in the jails," Mousa explained.

"We are before a social, humanitarian and legal dilemma which necessitates a new approach for these problems," Mousa said.

He admitted that there is a deep division on the issue of general amnesty for all prisoners.

O.H

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Mansour heads to Cairo
 

Thu 24/11/2011 09:02

NNA - 24/11/2011 - Foreign and Expatriates Minister Adnan Mansour headed on Thursday morning to Cairo.
 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Cabinet session: Mikati tasks Mansour to investigate CIA issue with Connelly
 

Wed 23/11/2011 22:28

NNA - 23/11/2011 - Prime Minister Najib Mikati on Wednesday requested of the Foreign Affairs Minister further clarification by the US Ambassador to Lebanon on the "CIA" networks said to be operating in Lebanon, while the Council of Ministers approved granting a number of ministries a sum of cash advance from the state's treasury.

The Council of Ministers met in session at the Grand Serail on Wednesday presided by Prime Minister Najib Mikati, with Ministers Nicolas Fattoush, Ghazi Aridi, and Salim Karam abstaining.

Following the meeting, Information Minister Walid Daouk gave a detailed briefing on the outcome of today's session which started in on Prime Minister Najib Mikati's well-wishes, marking Lebanon's 68th Independence.

In a chat with media representatives on whether the Council of Ministers has requested summoning the U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon for further investigations about the "CIA" networks issue, Daouk made clear that Mikati tasked the Lebanese Foreign Minister Adnan Mansour to check the veracity of said info with the U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon Maura Connelly.

The Los Angeles Times on Sunday revealed that the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) was compelled to tone down its spying activities in Lebanon, "where agents and employees glean important information about Syria, terrorist organizations, and other targets, following the arrest of a number of the agency's rapporteurs in Beirut this year."

"We all know this is just news with a lacking source, so the Foreign Minister will be asked to get things cleared out as per diplomatic norms," Daouk told reporters.

In turn, Agriculture Minister Hussein Hajj Hassan left the cabinet session for a short period of time during which he delivered a statement on the CIA issue.

Hajj Hassan said that this matter had been discussed during the cabinet session and that the U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon would be summoned and asked about the matter.

"This attack is not the first of its kind," Hajj Hassan said about the CIA espionage network."U.S. spying can never be set apart from Israeli spying," he warned.
R.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Local, regional developments feature high on Future bloc meeting
 

Wed 23/11/2011 21:43

NNA - 23/11/2011 - The Future parliamentary bloc held its regular meeting on Wednesday presided by bloc head, former Prime Minister Fouad Siniora, with talks featuring high on latest domestic and regional developments.

The meeting was an occasion for Siniora to brief conferees on the outcome of his recent visits to the Vatican and Egypt.

Touching on local developments, the bloc spurned the wide-spread crime phenomenon on Lebanese territories nowadays. "It is sheer disorder and a blatant attack against the state," a statement issued by the bloc said, calling on those concerned to take necessary measures to end this endemic.

In the wake of a blast which shook Siddiqine on Wednesday, conferees requested a clarification be provided by competent authorities on the reason behind imposing a ban to access the site of the explosion.

An explosion rocked the outskirts of Siddiqin region - South Lebanon at 12:45 am on Wednesday. Lebanese Army Units duly arrived to the explosion scene and failed to find tangible evidence, after having swept the area for many hours.

Moreover, the bloc requested another clarification be provided by the government and concerned sides to further clarify information which had been disseminated by some U.S. media, alluding to the existence of CIA espionage networks operating in Lebanon.

The Los Angeles Times on Sunday revealed that the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) was compelled to tone down its spying activities in Lebanon, "where agents and employees glean important information about Syria, terrorist organizations, and other targets, following the arrest of a number of the agency's rapporteurs in Beirut this year.

The bloc went on to denounce governmental procrastination with regard to the financing of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL), calling on the Lebanese government to respect nad fulfill international commitments.

On another level, the Future bloc discussed regional political developments, calling on Syrian authorities to cooperate with the Arab League by meeting its requirements.
 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Hezbollah denies linkage to Siddiqin blast
 

Wed 23/11/2011 20:04

NNA - 23/11/2011 - Hezbollah denied having to do anything with a blast which shook Siddiqin locality at dawn on Wednesday, according to a statement issued by the party today.

An explosion rocked the outskirts of Siddiqin region at 12:45 am on Wednesday. Lebanese Army Units duly arrived to the explosion scene and failed to find tangible evidence, after having swept the area for many hours.

"What has been disseminated by a number of media outlets linking Siddiqin's blast to an arms depot owned by Hezbollah is fallacious," Hezbollah's statement read.
R.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Rahi broaches current situation with itinerant visitors
 

Wed 23/11/2011 19:50

NNA - 23/11/2011 - Maronite Patriarch, Mar Bechara Butros Rahi, on Wednesday discussed the current general situation on the local arena with General Security Chief, Brigadier Abbas Ibrahim.

Former Minister Nayla Mouawad had also been to Bkerki today for a meeting with the Patriarch over most recent developments.

Besides, she presented Rahi with an invitation to chair the mass service upon the 22nd commemoration of former President Rene Mouawad's martyrdom, on forthcoming November 26, in Notre Dame Church, Zghorta.

The Patriarch later engaged in the current general situation and latest developments in Lebanon and the broader Arab region, with former Deputy Speaker Elie Ferzli, former Minister Karim Pakradouni and Abdullah Farhat, and Dr. Elie Yashoui.

He also met with Belgian ambassador, Colette Taquet, who came on a protocol visit. The meeting reportedly touched on bilateral ties.



R.A.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Matar offers Sleiman well-wishes, Fadel briefs him on security situation
 

Wed 23/11/2011 19:27

NNA - 23/11/2011 - Maronite Archbishop Boulos Matar on Wednesday offered the Lebanese President well-wishes with Lebanon's 68th Independence Day.

Boulos who visited Baabda Palace this afternoon also seized the occasion to thank President Sleiman for having attended the General Maronite League's annual "Independence" dinner.

On another level, Lebanese Army Intelligence Unit Head, Brigadier Edmond Fadel, briefed the President on the country's general security situation.
R.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - March 14: not to arrest escaping Syrians in Lebanon
 

Wed 23/11/2011 18:18

NNA - 23/11/2011 - March 14 camp denounced what he termed the Lebanese government's behavior in catching hold of Syrian citizens escaping the crisis in their country and turning them back to their homeland under law pretexts.

March 14's denouncement came on Wednesday after its regular weekly meeting in Ashrafieh. Deputy Fares Souaid, March 14 senior, spoke in the name of the camp. He explained the Lebanese government was turning the citizens back because they did not pass the Syrian security upon crossing the Lebanese borders. This is something unfair practiced by the government, said Souaid.

"Lebanon is a resort to all the oppressed people and respects human rights� it must not escort oppression escapers and cause them harm by returning them to Syria," he said.

The deputy spoke about a festival for March 14 to be held at Martyr Rachid Karami Gathering Center in Tripoli, in order to send through it political messages.

Souaid claimed that Tripoli was March 14 city and it has been upholding March 14 movement since the martyrdom of Ex-Prime Minister Rafic Hariri in 2005.
A.M./P.BC.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Siniora, Italian Ambassador tackle general situation
 

Wed 23/11/2011 18:17

NNA - 23/11/2011 - Head of the Future Parliamentary Bloc, Deputy Fouad Siniora, discussed the general situation in Lebanon and the region with Italian Ambassador, Giuseppe Morabito.
The meeting was held Wednesday at Siniora's Sadat Tower office.
 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - (UPDATED) Mansour meets Connelly, Paraguanth
 

Wed 23/11/2011 18:16

NNA - 23/11/2011 - Foreign Minister Adnan Mansour on Wednesday met with the newly appointed President of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, David Paraguanth.

No relevant statement was delivered following the forty-minute meeting, during which Paraguanth hoped the STL funding item would be passed, to avoid its referring before the UN Security Council.

Mansour later met with the US ambassador, Maura Connelly.



R.A.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - (corrected) Shehayeb rekindles necessity to fund STL
 

Wed 23/11/2011 18:13

NNA - 23/11/2011 - Mountain's Deputy Akram Shehayeb on Wednesday said the National Struggle Front capitalized the necessity to fund the Special Tribunal for Lebanon so as to secure justice, respect Lebanon's position before Arab and international instances, and preserve the credibility of the government.

Speaking to journalists following his meeting with Minister of Environment, Nazem Khoury, today, Shehayeb underscored that political parties must agree over STL funding issue, to avoid its subjecting to a cabinet vote.

In response to a question about the possibility for PSP ministers to suspend their participation in the government in case STL funding was not settled on, Shehayeb said it was still untimely to discuss this option.

He reminded of the positions of Lebanese President Michel Sleiman and Prime Minister Najib Mikati at the United Nations, pertaining to the necessity to finance this UN-backed court, probing the 2005 assassination of statesman Rafik Hariri.




R.A.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Hajj Hassan hopes Egypt to recuperate pioneering role
 

Wed 23/11/2011 18:01
NNA - 23/11/2011 - Minister of Agriculture, Hussein Hajj Hassan, on Wednesday said it was necessary for Egypt to recuperate its pioneering and leading role so as to restore balance in the Arab world versus West-designed schemes.

He hoped that the Egyptian people would be finally able to overcome the current transitional stage to live in civil peace and stability.

The Minister today met with Egyptian ambassador, Mohammad Tawfiq, over the current juncture in Egypt, as well as over bilateral ties and trade exchange.




R.A.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Charbel: for billboard companies to abide by law
 

Wed 23/11/2011 17:40

NNA - 23/11/2011 - Interior and Municipalities Minister Marwan Charbel called upon billboard companies to abide by laws, refusing any availability of contravening billboards across the Lebanese regions and stressing that this sector [billboards'] should, to wide extent, take into regard environmental norms.

Charbel's demand came Wednesday after chairing at his office a meeting for the committee tasked with removing violating billboards across the streets. The meeting was attended by number of mayors.
 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


 

Politics - Shehayeb rekindle necessity to fund STL
 

Wed 23/11/2011 17:17


NNA - 23/11/2011 - Mountain's Deputy Akram Shehayeb on Wednesday said the National Struggle Front capitalized the necessity to fund the Special Tribunal for Lebanon so as to secure justice, respect Lebanon's position before Arab and international instances, and preserve the credibility of the government.

Speaking to journalists following his meeting with Minister of Environment, Nazem Khoury, today, Shehayeb underscored that political parties must agree over STL funding issue, to avoid its subjecting to a cabinet vote.

In response to a question about the possibility for PSP ministers to suspend their participation in the government in case STL funding was not settled on, Shehayeb said it was still untimely to discuss this option.

He reminded of the positions of Lebanese President Michel Sleiman and Prime Minister Najib Mikati at the United Nations, pertaining to the necessity to finance this UN-backed court, probing the 2005 assassination of statesman Rafik Hariri.




R.A.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved














 

Politics - Gemayel receives Brazilian delegation
 

Wed 23/11/2011 16:27

NNA - 23/11/2011 - Former Lebanese President Amine Gemayel received at his residence in Bikfaya the Brazilian Member of Parliament, Ricardo Izar, accompanied with Bishop Edgard Madi and a Brazilian delegation that accompanied Brazilian Deputy President Michel Tamer in his visit to Lebanon.

Izar said his meeting with Gemayel was a friendship and familial one, assuring that the Lebanese people in Brazil were present everywhere throughout the Brazilian regions and were active in the work field.
A.M./P.BC.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved



 

Politics - CIA activities in Lebanon draw Fadlallah's ire
 

Wed 23/11/2011 16:17

NNA - 23/11/2011 - Hezbollah's Deputy Hassan Fadlallah told a news conference Wednesday that the US official recognition of a spying CIA US embassy-located office in Beirut was perilous and tantamount a blatant admission of violation of Lebanese sovereignty and national security.

The Los Angeles Times on Sunday revealed that the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) was compelled to tone down its spying activities in Lebanon, "where agents and employees glean important information about Syria, terrorist organizations, and other targets, following the arrest of a number of the agency's rapporteurs in Beirut this year." A US senior official had stated that Hezbollah was a very complicated enemy. "It [Hezollah] is a very determined terrorist group, a strong political actor, and a powerful military organization; No one can underestimate it," he had said.

The Loyalty to the Resistance member said this CIA post indeed violated international law and UN charter.

"This dangerous aggression requires an immediate reaction from the Lebanese government, which we call to put this affair on top of its next session's agenda and to prepare a complete dossier, in view of further submission to the United Nations, international instances, and ambassadors," he corroborated.

But Bint Jbeil Deputy did not fail to expound that this violation, regardless of its extent, in fact mirrored the bulk of the Resistance's achievement and hard work to preserve national security and fight US and Israeli spying.

He renewed calls upon the Mikati-led government to take necessary security and legal measures to ban such violations, suspend this office's activities, and dismantle related installations, believed to comprise tapping devices.




R.A.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved




















 

Politics - Abboud, Accor delegation discuss hotelery situation in Lebanon
 

Wed 23/11/2011 16:15

NNA - 23/11/2011 - Tourism Minister, Fadi Abboud, met on Wednesday over ways to study the hotelery situation in Lebanon with Director of the Development in the Middle East, Olivier Grant, heading a delegation of the Accor Hotelery Company.

Grant indicated that the visit aimed at exploring the tourism sector in Lebanon, especially the hotel management field, pointing out that the Accor Company studied possibilities to enlarge its investments in the country.
P.BC.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved



 

Politics - Sleiman greets security forces' efforts, speed to solve recent crimes
 

Wed 23/11/2011 16:14

NNA - 23/11/2011 - President of the Republic, Michel Sleiman, uttered Wednesday total relief over the velocity in solving the crimes recently committed in Lebanon.

The President called upon the security apparatuses to multiply their efforts as to unveil all crimes' details, uncover the criminals' identities, put them to trial and penalize them adequately so that they'd become a lesson for others who might dare tamper with the country's security

Also, Sleiman praised the efforts of all associations and organization concerned with children and childhood, considering that "raising generations to play a remarkable national role for the future starts with proper child care and guidance at a young age, for children to become a good example in patriotism."

President Sleiman had separately met with the Interior and Municipalities Minister Marwan Charbel who briefed him on the country's security developments and the endeavors deployed by the Security Forces at this level.

The President had also received the Head of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, David Paraguanth, who informed the former of the STL's work as well as of the stages it has already gone through.

Former Ministers Adnan Al-Qassar and Ibrahim Najjar had also been to Baabda presidential palace on Wednesday tackling with the Head of state general situation and latest developments at the local level.

Amongst Baabda's visitors had also been former MP Kaysar Mouawad, new Army Inspector General, Major General Michel Munir, and delegations from different schools and social associations felicitating him on Independence Day.

On a different note, the President of the Republic received felicitation telegrams from his US and French counterparts, Barak Obama and Nicolas Srakozi, on the occasion of Lebanon's Independence Day.

Obama affirmed in his telegram the United States' uphold for Lebanon as a sovereign state which enjoys political autonomy and aims at reaching a democratic and prosper future.

"We defend the Lebanese people's seeking for justice, so that no political assassination remains pending, unsolved and unpunished," he said.

Sarkozy, for his part, reiterated France's support to Lebanon, highlighted by a deep-rooted friendship between the two countries. He noted as well that Lebanon ought to preserve its status as a symbol of coexistence and openness to the region.

The French President insisted on Lebanon's duty to respect its international commitments, particularly those related to the special tribunal.
D.K.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Politics - Mikati receives STL head, others
 

Wed 23/11/2011

NNA - 23/11/2011 - Prime Minister Najib Mikati received on Wednesday at the Grand Serail head of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, David Baragwanath, with talks focusing on the cooperation between Lebanon and the STL.

Mikati reiterated his support for international resolutions, like the 1757 pertaining to the tribunal probing the assassination of Martyr Rafic Hariri and related crimes. He hoped its performance would stay in its legal context away from any political consideration or use.

The Premier assured he was following up the means of financing the STL, in order to come out with the suitable decision within the due financing period.

Separately, Mikati chaired a meeting concerned about discussing with Cyprus the maritime borders item for Lebanon's Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), knowing that a Lebanese delegation will head tomorrow Thursday to Cyprus to follow up the EEZ matter.

Among Grand Serail's visitors: The Turkish Ambassador to Lebanon Inan Auzildize and the Spanish one Juan Carlos Gafo. Both separately discussed with the host bilateral ties.

A.M./P.BC.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved












 

Politics - Mansour meets Connelly, Paraguanth
 

Wed 23/11/2011 15:03

NNA - 23/11/2011 - Foreign Minister Adnan Mansour on Wednesday met with the newly appointed President of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, David Paraguanth.

No relevant statement was delivered following the forty-minute meeting.

Mansour later met with the US ambassador, Maura Connelly.



R.A.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved






 

Politics - UN vice secretary general on official visit to Lebanon
 

Wed 23/11/2011 14:40

NNA - 23/11/2011 - The UN vice secretary general Asha-Rose Migiro arrived Wednesday in Beirut on a four-day protocol visit during which it will meet with ranking Lebanese officials and employees at several UN agencies in Lebanon.

Migiro will also preside the 16th meeting for the UN coordination mechanism to be held on November 25, as indicated by the ESCWA communique.

This meeting aims at reinforcing ties and cooperation between UN agencies in the region in order to facilitate their work and boost their performance.

During her visit, Migiro will hold meetings with the President of the Republic, Michel Sleiman, House Speaker, Nabih Berri, and Prime Minister Najib Mikati.
D.K.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Mufti Qabbani receives delegation of Iraqi MPs
 

Wed 23/11/2011 14:19

NNA - 23/11/2011 - Mufti of Lebanon, Sheikh Mohammad Rachid Qabbani, received on Wednesday a delegation of Iraqi deputies that participated in the works of the conference concerned about the future of Middle East Christians that was held at the Holy Spirit University of Kaslik.

The Mufti said that Iraq was, like Lebanon, a country of coexistence between Muslims and Christians, and it did not know throughout history any confessional strife.

A.M./P.BC.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved













 

Politics - Mansour tackles blue line issue with Kilbea
 

Wed 23/11/2011 13:34

NNA - 23/11/2011 - Foreign Affairs and Expatriates Minister Adnan Mansour received Wednesday the head of the Truce Supervision Major-General Juha Kilbea who came on a protocol visit.

Discussions touched on the major general's missions and activities in Lebanon.

"There are no developments regarding the blue line issue, as some zones are still controversial and negotiable," Kilbea said.
D.K.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved




 

Politics - Aoun meets former Druze Sheikh Akel
 

Wed 23/11/2011 13:10

NNA - 23/11/2011 - Deputy Michel Aoun received Wednesday at his Rabyeh residence former Druze Sheikh Akel, Bahjat Gheith, who deemed the meeting spiritual and excellent.
D.K.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Berri receives congratulation cable from Kharafi
 

Wed 23/11/2011 12:35

NNA - 23/11/2011 - Speaker of the House Nabih Berri received on Wednesday a congratulation telegram for the Independence Day from his Kuwaiti counterpart Jasem el Kharafi.
 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Charbel: STL funding should stay away from confusion
 

Wed 23/11/2011 11:12

NNA - 23/11/2011 - Interior and Municipalities Minister Marwan Charbel stressed that STL funding issue should be transparent and not ambiguous.

The minister stressed that Lebanon should pay its share to STL in former Prime Minister Rafic Hariri's assassination case.

"If we demand UN execution of the resolution related to Palestinian refugees return so why don't we implement another resolution?", the Minister asked.

Charbel said on Wednesday to "Sawt el Mada" radio that "the electoral law is heading towards the right track".

On the other hand, Charbel called on the cabinet and parliament to take quick steps and measures for prisons case where the guilty would leave and the criminal would be tried.

A.A.M

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Layyoun asks about reason behind budget delay discussion
 

Wed 23/11/2011 10:42

asked about the reasons behind the delay in budget discussion issue.

Layyoun hoped that budget issue would be discussed seriously in order to be achieved quickly, pointing out to the delay in appointments and electoral law.

"President Michel Sleiman will be more embarrassed if he does not comply with constitution", the minister added on Wednesday to "Voice of Lebanon"-Freedom and Dignity radio.

Concerning STL funding issue in former Prime Minister Rafic Hariri's assassination, the minister stressed that "Change and Reform" bloc position on STL funding issue is based on conviction of respecting the constitution and Lebanese laws, adding that "this position will be expressed on the cabinet table".

A.A.M

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Hmadeh urges Mikati to take clear position on STL funding
 

Wed 23/11/2011 10:24

NNA - 23/11/2011 - Deputy Marwan Hmadeh urged Prime Minister Najib Mikati to take a clear decision concerning tribunal funding issue or return home.

"Cabinet should take an obvious position on STL funding issue", the MP stressed.

Hmadeh considered on Wednesday to "Voice of Lebanon"-Freedom and Dignity radio that the position of Deputy Michel Aoun reflects Hizbullah's position which means the refusal of the STL funding.

"Resorting to the constitution means that the issue will return to square one", the MP added.

Hmadeh said that we are before a decisive week in Lebanon and the region according to the international and Arab resolutions against Syria.

Finally, Hmadeh described Tripoli's rally which will be held this Sunday as important as March 14 previous rallies.

A.A.M

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Nahhas: Prime minister's resignation not raised now
 

Wed 23/11/2011 10:22

NNA - 23/11/2011 - Economy Minister Nicolas Nahhas told Voice of Lebanon on Wednesday that Prime Minister Najib Mikati has no intention to submit his resignation at the moment due to the row over the controversial issue of the international tribunal.

He confirmed reports that the Finance Ministry has requested an advance payment to settle Lebanon's share in the tribunal.

"It is time that this issue takes its fair share in the cabinet discussion. This issue should be discussed seriously by the ministers and all options are open."

The ministers stressed that the resignation of Mikati is not an objective or a means and if this is going to happen then it will happen under certain circumstances.

"We have reached the decisive stage on whether or not the tribunal will be funded."

He dismissed claims that the tribunal funding was added to the agenda of the cabinet's discussion in conjunction with the visit of the head of the international tribunal to Lebanon judge David Baragwanath.

"Mikati added this item to the agenda before he knew that Baragwanath was coming to Lebanon."

He added that the time has come to take the decision that serves national interest away from narrow personal gains.

O.H

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Hbeish: Discussions in cabinet won't lead to STL funding
 

Wed 23/11/2011 09:51

NNA - 23/11/2011 - Deputy Hady Hbeish stressed that discussions in the cabinet would not lead to tribunal funding because the decision was already taken by March 8 forces.

The MP pointed out that STL article was not listed on the agenda of the cabinet.

Commenting on former Prime Minister Saad Hariri's speech next Sunday in Tripoli's rally, he said "PM Hariri would stress March 14 principles and the attachment to Lebanon's stability and freedom".

The MP said a broad conference will be held next month in Biel in order to discuss the Arab uprisings, particularly in Syria.

A.A.M

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


News from 4 October 2011 till 15 October 2011  -----   News from 15 October till 24 October 2011 - News from 25 October till 8 November 2011 - News from 9 November till 22 November 2011