Politics - Kanaan: coexistence compatible with fair representation
 

Sat 17/12/2011 17:52

NNA - 17/12/2011 - Secretary-General of the Aounist Trend, MP Ibrahim Kanaan, perceived in peaceful coexistence and stability a situation compatible with and not contradictory with fair representation for all.

Kanaan and, in an interview to a local newspaper, stressed that security and stability in the country do not contradict representation, but he seemed disgruntled over the Christian present state of affairs ever since the signing of the Taef agreement up till the present.

He exclaimed that the Christian predicament must not continue indefinitely. He added that Maronites have full right in expressing opinion over the electoral law without having to impose anything on others.

He added that general Aoun's partaking in the Maronite Gathering is indicative of his agreeing to the resumption of national dialogue. He however, stressed need for implementing Taef before reaching a fair representation for all.

Kanaan described Aoun's attitude as being characterized by transparency without having to impose an electoral law on anyone. He spoke about what he termed as "electoral money" saying money and "power-politics" went hand-in-hand for a long time and during many electoral campaigns.

Kanaan criticized Hariri Trend's attitude towards the Bkerki gathering saying they were blowing rubrics out of proportion and that Aounists preserved the right in making their opinion public over any future electoral law.

G.G./P.BC.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved
















 

Politics - Ain-Tineh itinerants today
 

Sat 17/12/2011 15:54

NNA - 17/12/2011 - Iraqi President Jalal Talbani cabled House Speaker Nabih Berri. On the other hand, Kuwaiti counterpart, Jasem el-Khourafi, contacted Berri; albeit, the contents of both phone call and cable were not disclosed.

G.G./P.BC.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Hariri felicitates newly elected Tunisian President
 

Sat 17/12/2011 15:17

NNA - 17/12/2011 Former Prime Minister Saad Hariri sent a cable today to the Tunisian President Moncef Marzouki, congratulating him on his election.

PM Hariri considered this election by the National Constituent Assembly in Tunisia, where the first spark of the Arab spring started, as the best proof that his country is pursuing the path of reforms in order to achieve the aspirations of the Tunisian people

Separately, Hariri also sent a cable to the new Kuwaiti Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Sabah, in which he congratulated him on the formation of the government. He noted the importance of this step in achieving the hopes of the Kuwaiti people in matters linked to development, progress and reform.

R.Z.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved




 

 


Politics - Aoun speaks ethics to Antonine University delegation
 

Sat 17/12/2011 15:13

NNA - 17/12/2011 MP Michel Aoun met Saturday a delegation of students from Antonine University who came to dedicate their elections' victory to him, and advised them to respect the Other and always adhere to the truth.

Head of Change and Reform asserted from his Rabieh residence that common living thrived on understanding and valuing the Other without distinguishing between sects and faiths.

"We must also respect freedom of expression, and I do not mean by that the curses and accusations that deputies throw at each other," explained the retired General, "but freedom of expression under the umbrella of truth."

R.Z.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Amal Movement stands by Assad
 

Sat 17/12/2011 14:58

NNA - 17/12/2011 MP Hany Qobeissy declared Saturday during a funeral ceremony in Nabatiyeh Amal Movement's unwavering allegiance to regime of Bashar Assad, asserting that the arms of Hezbollah exist to protect Lebanon.

The Syrian uprising which began nine months ago whisked opposing reactions among Lebanese factions, with March 14 fully supporting the Syrian people's demand for freedom, and March 8 camp standing by Assad's regime.

"We regret that the stance of many Lebanese conforms to an international demand to defeat the resistance and resilience project in the Middle East," said the Amal Movement parliamentarian.

He asserted Lebanon's full support for Syria which in turn has consistently supported Hezbollah. "Any weapon that got to the hands of the Resistance was intended to defend Lebanon's unity and common living."
R.Z.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics (corrected) - Mikati advocates personal freedoms while visiting traffic, telephone control centers
 

Sat 17/12/2011 14:46

NNA - 17/12/2011 PM Najib Mikati visited Saturday Telecommunication Ministry's control center for interception of phone calls and Interior Ministry's joint operations room for traffic control, and urged all concerned to follow the law and preserve personal liberties of citizens.

The Premiere was accompanied by Interior Minister Marwan Charbel and Telecommunications Minister Nicholas Sehnaoui.

"The purpose of today's tour is to closely examine measures taken to limit traffic jams during the holidays in Beirut," said Mikati, "but the true radical solution to the problem needs a futuristic vision of widening roads, particularly at the entrance and exit points of the capital."

Mikati revealed that he held a meeting with head of Council for Development and Reconstruction to study plans to expand the road network.

Separately, the PM convened at the Grand Serail with Minister of Information, Walid Daouk.

R.Z.
 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Baabda itinerant visitors and activities today
 

Sat 17/12/2011 14:38

NNA - 17/12/2011 - Former Army General and head of the Reform and Change Bloc, General Michel Aoun, conducted a political horizons' review with Lebanese President Michel Sleiman during a visit to Baabda Presidential Palace today. Discussions reportedly dwelt on standing files under discussion at the cabinet.

Among itinerant Baabda visitors have been former deputy Samir Azar, Mohammad Majzoub of the Bekaa municipal councils who separately discussed with the President matters of concern. They also presented him with a number of demands pertaining to their respective areas.

Leading Lebanese business magnet Robert Jreisaty, thanked the President for patronizing a recent business function and briefed him about preparations for the upcoming business event. He also brought to the President's attention need for soliciting assistance from expatriated new generation Lebanese businessmen.

Nabil Ghosh of the Lebanese Veterinary Syndicate reportedly requested further government attention required to boost his Syndicate's functions.

G.G./P.BC.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved









 

Politics - Zahra: Orthodox proposal spares country sectarian tensions
 

Sat 17/12/2011 14:28

NNA - 17/12/2011 - Lebanese Forces MP Antoine Zahra said Saturday to Radio Free Lebanon that the proposed electoral law submitted at Bkirky Summit is the best way out of sectarian strife.

Maronite leaders were unanimous on Friday in agreeing on the Orthodox proposal which called for each sect to elect its own candidate based on proportional representation during parliamentary elections, while stressing the need to hold dialogue with the rest of Lebanese factions on the matter.

Zahra explained that, "This law allows a better representation of each religious community while strengthening plurality and national partnership." He described those who attack attempts to correct parliamentary representation as "hypocrites."

On another level, the Lebanese Forces MP criticized the methods of Hezbollah, the "current Aounist" Free Patriotic Movement (FPM), and the government in general, noting that it is the role of the opposition to rectify the performance of the cabinet. He added that the FPM believed that its slogan of reform allowed it to act at will in its ministries, just as Hezbollah believed its weapons permitted it to do whatever it wanted.

Zahra finally addressed the issue of funding of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon probing the 2005 assassination of Rafik Hariri, stressing that "it is the government that funded it" and that "the story of the source of this funding was fabricated to avoid cabinet's resignation."

 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved















 

Politics - Makari accuses Hizbullah of arrogance
 

Sat 17/12/2011 14:25

NNA - 17/12/2011 - Deputy Speaker of the House, Farid Makari, criticized Hizbullah MPs' public appearances and attitude as arrogant and unbecoming.

Interviewed by the Hariri-owned Paris-based As-Sharq Orient radio station today, the deputy said recent attitude of Hizbullah officials has been marred by haughty arrogance. He added that Party of God MPs simply wish to remain unaccountable for their actions and that they developed the bad habit of leveling accusations of treachery against their critics.

Makari referred particularly to the verbal quarrel between Nawaf Mousawi and Sami Gemayel with the first resorting to abusive near-obscene language. The Deputy Speaker defended Gemayel saying he expressed sentiments of many Lebanese and that he remained pretty much composed through his address.

He concluded that recent Hizbullah utterances have become increasingly intolerable and unprecedented in dealings between parliamentarians. He however, commended House Speaker Berri's efforts to contain the situation.

Makari challenged Hizbullah's ability to muster the Lebanese political game for a long time following the Syrian unrest. He dismissed the CGT as being an extension of March 8 and construed in Labor Minister Charbel Nahas's Law-suit against cabinet colleagues as a further testimony to the bad shape in which Mikati cabinet actually finds itself.

He however, commended the Prime Minister for his decision to fund the STL without government consent and had nice words for President Sleiman, who in his words gives the state and judicial system a positive facet.

He exonerated the Lebanese Canadian Banks saying it never engaged in any misconduct compared to other banks and ruled out Hizbullah's eventual handing over its four suspects and concluded that the Mikati government is here to stay because Asad deemed it so.

G.G./P.BC.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved

 




 

 

 

 

 

 


Politics - Mikati advocates personal freedoms while visiting traffic, telephone control centers
 

Sat 17/12/2011 14:13

NNA - 17/12/2011 MP Najib Mikati visited Saturday Telecommunication Ministry's control center for interception of phone calls and Interior Ministry's joint operations room for traffic control, and urged all concerned to follow the law and preserve personal liberties of citizens.

The Premiere was accompanied by Interior Minister Marwan Charbel and Telecommunications Minister Nicholas Sehnaoui.

"The purpose of today's tour is to closely examine measures taken to limit traffic jams during the holidays in Beirut," said Mikati, "but the true radical solution to the problem needs a futuristic vision of widening roads, particularly at the entrance and exit points of the capital."

Mikati revealed that he held a meeting with head of Council for Development and Reconstruction to study plans to expand the road network.

Separately, the PM convened at the Grand Serail with Minister of Information, Walid Daouk.

R.Z.
 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved












 

Politics - Siniora commenting on STL-funding, Mousawi's slander.
 

Sat 17/12/2011 13:59

NNA - 17/12/2011 - Commenting on STL-funding, deputy Mousawi's slandering of Gemayel and Syrian accusations leveled at the Hariri Bloc through Syrian government-run media, head of the Future parliamentarian Bloc, Fouad Siniora told interlocutors coming to see him at his Hilaliyeh office today that PM Mikati's decision to carry out the STL funding via a number of banks was tantamount to a correct step in the right direction.

He regarded Mikati's decision another point added to his credit. With reference to Hizbullah deputy Nawwaf Mousawi's slandering of Sami Gemayel at a parliament hearing, he regarded Mousawi's misbehavior as a big slap in the face of the parliament as a whole. Mousawi has in fact insulted the Lebanese democratic system, he exclaimed.

Referring to official Syrian news media reporting Future bloc fabrication of an alleged group of Iranians being trained and sent to Syria as a gross lie and that the whole story was merely a figment of Syrian regime's imagination.

Siniora added that this latest Syrian lie reminded him of Walid Mouallem's film calling it a typical Syrian serial. He denied any Future bloc meddling in domestic Syrian affairs but reiterated moral support for the Syrian revolution.

G.G./P.BC.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Hobeish fearful of sectarian rift with new electoral law
 

Sat 17/12/2011 13:40
NNA - 17/12/2011 MP Hady Hobeish said Saturday to Voice of Lebanon radio that Bkirky summit's adoption of the Orthodox project for a new parliamentary electoral law may lead to sectarian aperture.

Maronite leaders were unanimous on Friday in agreeing on the Orthodox proposal which called for each sect to elect its own candidate based on proportional representation during parliamentary elections, while stressing the need to hold dialogue with the rest of Lebanese factions on the matter.

"Lebanese constitution gave equal representation for the Christian and Muslim sects," said the Future Bloc Deputy, adding that the Orthodox project proposed the election of 64 Christian MPs. "One of the disadvantages of the project is that...a battle may take place between sects to lure votes."

Hobeish explained that Future Bloc ruled it unlikely for Maronite summit to accept the Orthodox proposal. He added that the action plan of the Opposition was to continue to work on toppling the government, which he dubbed as "a failure on the Arab and popular levels."

R.Z.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Khreiss for a true get-together
 

Sat 17/12/2011 13:17

NNA - 17/12/2011 Amal deputy of the House Ali Khreiss stated his Movement's full approval of a true meeting between Lebanese politicians at the round table of national dialogue.

The MP's appeal came at Rmadiyyeh Husayniyya mosque marking of 1 week following the passing away of an Amal militant today. Khreiss wanted a sovereign-potent Lebanon serving as an umbrella for all. This would preserve minor interests of various protagonists provided they never contradict the tenets of national unity, domestic peace and peaceful coexistence.

The deputy attributed the rise of the Arab Spring to "anti-occupation resistance in South Lebanon." He quoted the vanished Imam to make a point with regards to the imperative of observing national unity by all in order to face up to crucial times ahead.
G.G

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Geagea: Future is ours
 

Sat 17/12/2011 11:30

NNA - 17/12/2011 A Christmas celebration in Mehrab hosted by Lebanese Forces (LF) Head Samir Geagea Saturday shed an optimistic light on a future that would be birght despite current obstacles.

Children of LF public sector workers enjoyed plays, music and gifts from Santa Clause.

"The LF is a big family," said Geagea, "all our present work is for you to have a better future than the one we inherited from our parents, and for you to live in a Lebanon filled with beautiful happy days."

R.Z.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Lebanon files complaint against Israel to Security Council
 

Sat 17/12/2011 11:19

NNA - 17/12/2011 Ministry of Exterior and Expatriates filed a complaint Saturday against Israeli violations of UN resolution 1701 to UN Security Council.

The grievance came on the backdrop of recently discovered espionage device planted in South Lebanon. Israel detonated the device shortly after it was compromised by the Lebanese side.

The Ministry asked Lebanon's permanent delegation to the UN in New York to submit the complaint to UN Secretary General and head of Security Council to be distributed upon member countries and filed as an official document under the title "Situation in Middle East."

R.Z.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Anti-Assad rally underway in Tripoli
 

Sat 17/12/2011 11:03

NNA - 17/12/2011 A demonstration demanding the toppling of Bashar Assad's regime took to the streets of Tripoli Saturday morning.

Demonstrators walked through Abi Samra streets with banners demanding an end to the Syrian regime.

R.Z.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Houry demands disarmed Beirut
 

Sat 17/12/2011 11:00

NNA - 17/12/2011 MP Aamar Houry issued a statement Saturday demanding, once again, removing all weapons from the country's capital, asserting it is a claim he will not tire from stipulating.

A member of AMAL Movement was wounded last night when a personal dispute escalated into gunfire in the Beirut district of Zaidaniyeh. Army troops deployed to the area in a bid to contain the clash.

"We will not tire out from demanding an unarmed Beirut...a Lebanon free of illegal weapons," said the Future Bloc parliamentarian, who called upon citizens to be patient.

R.Z.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Gemayel warns of Christian marginalizing catastrophe
 

Fri 16/12/2011 21:39

NNA - 16/12/2011 Head of Kataeb Party Amine Gemayel said Friday during Bkirky summit that Christian presence on the political scene has been trivialized to cataclysmic proportions.

Maronite Patriarch Bechara Rahi chaired a meeting between Amine Gemayel, Free Patriotic Movement leader MP Michel Aoun, head of the Lebanese Forces Samir Geagea, and Marada Movement chief MP Sleiman Franjieh on Friday. Maronite deputies and a number of bishops also attended the talks that were held at the seat of the church.

The veteran politician asserted that an adequate electoral law could determine the future role of Christians in Lebanon.

Gemayel also focused on escalating selling of lands of Christians, an issue which called for a prompt responsible stance.

On a regional level, the former President advised to keep Lebanon out of trouble in neighboring countries for the sake of internal stability.

 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Qassem: Hezbollah not involved with Lebanon's security
 

Fri 16/12/2011 21:13

NNA - 16/12/2011 Hezbollah Deputy Secretary General Sheikh Naim Qassem denounced Friday any attack on integrity of the Islamic Resistance, threatening to sue anyone who accuses his Party of perpetrating attack on a French UNIFIL contingent, contending that Hezbollah has nothing to do with the security of Lebanon.

On December 9, a roadside bomb targeting a patrol by French peacekeeping forces exploded in east of Tyre injuring five soldiers and two civilians. Parliamentarians and political figures from March 14 camp and French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe alluded that Hezbollah was behind the attack upon Syria's orders.

"We decided to file a lawsuit against those who made such allegations against us," said Qassem. He added that only the Lebanese state and its security forces were responsible for the country's stability and safety.
"Those who believe that our presence in the South means that we are responsible for its security are mistaken." He stated that if that were true, Israel would not have succeeded in planting espionage equipment in the South.

On that note, the Sheikh announced that Hezbollah's Loyalty to the Resistance bloc MPs will demand answers from Cabinet over measures taken to deal with the CIA espionage network that was recently discovered by the Party in Lebanon.

 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Sleiman again lambasts attack on French UN contingent
 

Fri 16/12/2011 19:34

NNA - 16/12/2011 - President of the Republic, Michel Sleiman, renewed stern condemnation of an attack on a French UN peacekeeping contingent in the South, in a cable he conveyed to President Sarkozi Friday.

He lambasted hereof "the terrorist act which targeted a friendly country."

"Such aggressions not only target France but also international peacekeeping forces as well as the security and stability of the Lebanese," the telegram read.

A bomb went off last Friday near a UNIFIL patrol in Naba'a area located between Housh and Burj al Shamali towns east of Tyre, causing light injuries to five peacekeeping.

Sleiman confirmed to the French President keen determination to delve the attack and uncover perpetrators.

He reminded that the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF), in tandem with the UNIFIL, had ventured into stepped-up coordination to curb any escalation, hoping the strategic review between the force and LAF would help re-stir mechanisms to fully implement resolution 1701.

Sleiman had met earlier today at Baabda palace with MPs Nawaf Moussawi and Sami Gemayel, over the current political situation and most recent developments.

The meeting also featured high on the necessity to salve sharp political rhetoric, mainly at the backdrop of a verbal dispute between both Kataeb and Hezbollah Deputies, during a Q&A session at the Parliament Wednesday.

The President later met with State Security Chief, Major General George Qaraa.

Separately, Sleiman duly received today the credentials of newly appointed ambassadors to Lebanon of Albania and Equatorial Guinea.



R.A.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Mikati engages in Lebanese-Albanian relations, other affairs
 

Fri 16/12/2011 19:26

NNA - 16/12/2011 - Means of bolstering Lebanese-Albanian bilateral relations topped talks on Friday between Prime Minister Najib Mikati and the Albanian Ambassador to Lebanon who paid him a protocol visit at the Grand Serail.

Albanian Ambassador, Nouri Doumi, said on emerging that his meeting falls within the frame of talks he held throughout the day with senior Lebanese officials including President Michel Sleiman.

"I handed President Sleiman my credentials and expressed our desire to cement bilateral relations between both of our countries," Doumi said. He also pointed to the close view points between him and the President over means of activating political visits and formal cooperation frameworks.

Mikati separately met with Tele-Communications Minister, Nicolas Sehnawi, who handed him a copy of the final report of the 3G technical committee. Education Minister Hassan Diab later joined the meeting. All sides explored the school students' e-panel project.

UNRWA commissioner, Ninet Kelley, also had her share of talks with Mikati over latest UN projects in Lebanon. The visit was an occasion to offer Mikati New Year and Christmas well-wishes.
R.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - H. Moussawi felicitates Iraqis
 

Fri 16/12/2011 19:02

NNA - 16/12/2011 MP Hussein Moussawi congratulated Friday Iraqi people for evacuation of U.S. "occupation," attributing this success for the Resistance.

A political meeting in Baalbek today brought together members of Loyalty to the Resistance Bloc who focused on President Barrack Obama's decision to withdraw all American troops from Iraq and end their mission permanently.

"This withdrawal of defeat paves the way for a new phase of regional balance made possible by the choice of Resistance," said Moussawi who added the American plan to attack the entire Arab and Islamic nation has been unsuccessful.

R.Z.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Connelly, Rahi tackle developments
 

Fri 16/12/2011 18:51
NNA - 16/12/2011 - U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon Maura Connelly visited on Friday Maronite Patriarch Mar Bechara Rahi at his office in Bkerki and exchanged views about developments in Lebanon and the region.

Ambassador Connelly explored the Patriarch's vision about the best means to protect the rights of Christian and minority communities in the Middle East. She welcomed efforts by all faith communities in Lebanon to "build bridges of greater understanding among religious groups."

Ambassador Connelly underscored the United States' belief that violence in Syria is not a result of sectarian strife, but rather an outcome of the Syrian regime. As such, she shared the United States' support for the principle that universal human rights of all communities and people of all faiths must be protected by their governments. She also urged the Patriarch to support international and regional efforts to bring the Syrian regime to its closing stages.
 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Arslan sees resolution 1559 meted out current hardship
 

Fri 16/12/2011 18:36

NNA - 16/12/2011 - Member of Parliament Talal Arslan on Friday reckoned current political predicament in Lebanon stems from UN Resolution 1559, calling to bolster national dialogue so as to salve nowadays' crippled hardship.

Speaking during the inauguration of a Lebanese Democratic Party office in Rashaya, the Deputy said Lebanon was currently facing a difficult and exceptional stage, that of consecrating sovereignty and independent national decision.

"Unfortunately, our country is today the stepping-stone of international polarizations, as its [Lebanon's] cause was internationalized with the issuing of Resolution 1559 in 2004, a resolution aimed at sowing strife in Lebanon and lifting any legitimate cover off the Resistance,' he maintained.

"What is happening in Lebanon is meted out by this resolution, only serving the interests of the Israeli enemy," he corroborated.

The UN Security Council adopted Resolution 1559 on September 2, 2004, upon a joint initiative by France and the US, hereby calling for the respect of Lebanon's sovereignty and political independence, the withdrawal of foreign troops, i.e. the Syrian military, and Israeli forces, as well as the dissolution of militias.

"A divided people can only beget a corrupted, weak, deteriorated state," he said.

He finally voiced support for Syria and rekindled cleaving to a united Syria with all its political and social components.



R.A.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - (UPDATE)Bkirki Maronite broad meeting: Muslim-Christian equity above all considerations
 

Fri 16/12/2011 18:29

NNA - 16/12/2011 - The Maronite broad meeting held earlier on Friday at Bkirki Patriarchate dwelled on the electoral law suggestion submitted by the Orthodox Gathering, describing it as an "equitable formula for just representation."

"Equity between Muslims and Christians is a constitutional matter that goes beyond all considerations," as per the statement issued by the Maronite broad gathering.

Attendees spoke in the wake of the meeting among whom Deputy Strida Geagea who said "we reached no final formula regarding the electoral law," assuring that the Lebanese Forces Party supports the project of the Orthodox Gathering.

MP Antoine Zahra, for his part, confirmed that the atmosphere was very positive and serious, noting that the meeting's final statement will summarize all the agreed upon topics.

The Kataeb bloc member, Deputy Nadim Gemayel added that no matter what the next electoral law would be, it will remain vain as long as the illegitimate arms persist and keep exerting pressure on citizens.

"It is necessary to solve the arms issue before settling the electoral law," he argued.

Separately, the Marada movement head, MP Sleiman Frangieh is basically supportive to the Orthodox Gathering's electoral law suggestion as it gives not only Christians but all confessions their full rights.

"It provides true equity, yet it requires more studying to avoid tampering with conviviality and civil peace in the country," Frangieh said.

The meeting's final statement was delivered by the patriarchate's media department director, lawyer Walid Ghayad, who assured that discussions were discerned with seriousness and responsibility leading to the following:

"The Orthodox Gathering's electoral law proposition reflects a just representation for all confessions. A serious and responsible dialogue among Maronite leaders led to assigning a follow-up committee to negotiate this suggestion with different national factions."

Conferees agreed on holding regular meetings of the sort to discuss the electoral law and the situation at the local scene.

In turn, MP Michel Aoun ruled out any sort of disagreement over means of handling the new electoral law "in partnership with all the other national components."

Touching on the verbal clash between MPs Boutros Harb and Michel Aoun, Harb regreted the fact that political debate was instatntly taken to be a political fight. "If one of us gives an opposing opinion to the other, we are inststnly mistaken to be fighting with them!" he said, asserting that said meeting had ended on good terms.

For his part, MP Alian Aoun opted for expanded dialogue reaching a unified electoral law. "There will sure be a conclusive outcome, common concepts, and a practical proposal on which discussion over the matter will resume en route to the final law draft."

Responding to a question Lebanese Forces Executive Body Head Samir Geagea said that all have reached an unified agreement over the endresult. "It is good and clear, but what is mostly important is for us to statrt working seriously in this direction."

Moreover, Geagea did not forget the other sects in Lebanon involved in the electoral law. "We did not think about the matter in a purely Christian manner, but in a way which further consolidates coexixtance... for required political stability."
R.H.

D.K.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - ISF: Promotion of colonels in conformity with law
 

Fri 16/12/2011 17:39

NNA - 16/12/2011 - Promotions lately given to Internal Security Forces' (ISF) colonels have been decided in compliance with the law, a statement issued by Interior and Municipalities Minister Marwan Charbel's information bureau said on Friday.

"24 officers have been promoted to a colonel's rank as per two decrees lawfully signed by the Interior and Finance Minister, the Prime Minister and Lebanese President," the statement read.

The statement also made clear that Colonel Wissam Hassan will be promoted to a Brigadier's rank on 1/1/2011, and that is when he completes his 6-year service as Colonel.
R.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Majdalani deprecates inequality of rights, duties among citizens
 

Fri 16/12/2011 16:51

NNA - 16/12/2011 - Member of Parliament Atef Majdalani on Friday deprecated the inequality among the Lebanese citizens in matter of rights and obligations.

Speaking to reporters following his meeting with Beirut Greek Orthodox Archbishop Elias Audi, Majdalani said this imparity was due to the presence of weapons in hands of one single party, in an indirect reference to Hezbollah.

He added that the Lebanese must derive lessons from the past and realize that no one can alone monopolize power.


R.A.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved
 


Politics - Bkirki Maronite broad meeting: Muslims-Christians equity above all considerations
 

Fri 16/12/2011 16:26

NNA - 16/12/2011 - The Maronite broad meeting held earlier today at Bkirki Patriarchate dwelled on the electoral law suggestion submitted by the Orthodox Gathering describing it as an "equitable formula for just representation."

"Equity between Muslims and Christians is a constitutional matter that goes beyond all considerations," as per the statement issued by the Maronite broad gathering.

Attendees spoke in the wake of the meeting among whom Deputy Strida Geagea who said "we reached no final formula regarding the electoral law," assuring that the Lebanese Forces Party supports the project of the Orthodox Gathering.

MP Antoine Zahra, for his part, confirmed that the atmosphere was very positive and serious, noting that the meeting's final statement will summarize all the agreed upon topics.

The Kataeb bloc member, Deputy Nadim Gemayel added that no matter what the next electoral law would be, it will remain vain as long as the illegitimate arms persist and keep exerting pressure on citizens.

"It is necessary to solve the arms issue before settling the electoral law," he argued.

Separately, the Marada movement head, MP Sleiman Frangieh is basically supportive to the Orthodox Gathering's electoral law suggestion as it gives not only Christians but all confessions their full rights.

"It provides true equity, yet it requires more studying to avoid tampering with conviviality and civil peace in the country," Frangieh said.

The meeting's final statement was delivered by the patriarchate's media department director, lawyer Walid Ghayad, who assured that discussions were discerned with seriousness and responsibility leading to the following:

"The Orthodox Gathering's electoral law proposition reflects a just representation for all confessions. A serious and responsible dialogue among Maronite leaders led to assigning a follow-up committee to negotiate this suggestion with different national factions."

Conferees agreed on holding regular meetings of the sort to discuss the electoral law and the situation at the local scene.
D.K.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - De Freij sees no green light for government to resign
 

Fri 16/12/2011 16:24

NNA - 16/12/2011 - Member of Parliament Nabil De Freij on Friday said the Mikati-led government was not given yet the green light to resign.

Interviewed on Future News today, the Deputy reckoned that the Lebanese state, represented by the government and upon the consent of Hezbollah and FPM, officially paid Lebanon's portion earmarked to the Special Tribunal for Lebanon.

In another development, De Freij underlined that the presence of the UNIFIL was a guarantee for Hezbollah.

He did not fail to lambast the attack on a French peacekeeping patrol last Friday in Tyre.


R.A.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


















 

Politics - Return of Hariri not linked to Syrian regime flop - Future MP
 

Fri 16/12/2011 16:05

NNA - 16/12/2011 - Future's Deputy Amine Wehbe on Friday told New TV that the return of Saad Hariri to Lebanon is not linked to the collapse of the Syrian regime.

On a different note, the MP uttered respect for the sacrifices of Hezbollah made in the past to liberate the land. But he did not fail to lash out at what he termed "Hezbollah's clinging to weapons."
"We do not believe that this choice is prone to defend Lebanon," he maintained.

He called to find a clear-cut formula to place the party and its arms under the state's legitimacy via a calm and open dialogue.

On the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, probing the 2005 assassination of statesman Rafik Hariri, Wehbe said this court was transparent and comprising the world's most respectable judges.



R.A.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Mufti heaps praise on Qatar's role in anchoring stability
 

Fri 16/12/2011 15:44

NNA - 16/12/2011 - Mufti of the Lebanese Republic, Sheikh Mohammad Rashid Qabbani, on Friday highly estimated the role of Qatar in bolstering Lebanon's stability and security as well as the keenness on the unity of the Lebanese.

The Mufti partook today in the inauguration of the State's Grand Mosque of Imam Mohammad Ben Abdul Wahab in Qatar, along with Prince Sheikh Hamad Ben Khalifa Al Thani and a crowd of spiritual dignitaries.

He later held a series of meetings with Lebanese and Qatari officials and businessmen.


R.A.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved







 

Politics - Nahhas meets French, Belarusian diplomats
 

Fri 16/12/2011 15:35


NNA - 16/12/2011 - Minister of Economy and Trade, Nicolas Nahhas, on Friday met with French ambassador, Denis Pietton, over the current general situation in Lebanon, in light of most recent developments.

Talks also featured high on bilateral ties and the means to boost trade exchange between Lebanon and France.

Nahhas later met with Belarusian ambassador, Oligue Yarmalovitch. Discussions reportedly tackled bilateral economic relations.


R.A.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved

 



 


Politics - Berri meets Syrian, Albanian envoys
 

Fri 16/12/2011 15:21

NNA - 16/12/2011 - Speaker of the House, Nabih Berri, on Friday met with Syrian ambassador Ali Abdul Karim Ali over most recent developments in the Mideast region and the headway of the current situation in Syria.

Newly appointed Albanian ambassador to Lebanon had also been to Ain-el-Tineh today on a protocol visit.

Berri had met earlier with former Minister Farid Haykal Khazen. Talks touched on the general situation on the local domestic arena and an array of development-related affairs of Keserwan region.



R.A.H.

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Politics - Sehnawi meets French, Belarusian diplomats
 

Fri 16/12/2011 15:15

NNA - 16/12/2011 - Minister of Telecommunications, Nicolas Sehnawi, on Friday met with French ambassador, Denis Pietton, over the current general situation in Lebanon, in light of most recent developments.

Talks also featured high on bilateral ties and the means to boost trade exchange between Lebanon and France.

Sehnawi later met with Belarusian ambassador, Oligue Yarmalovitch. Discussions reportedly tackled bilateral economic relations.


R.A.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Maronite broad meeting comes to an end
 

Fri 16/12/2011 13:39


NNA - 16/12/2011 - The Maronite broad meeting held at Bkirki patriarchate in presence of Maronite leaders under the patronage of Patriarch Bechara Boutros Rahi ended at 13:10 p.m.

A statement will later be issued in this regard.
D.K.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved

 


Politics - Abi Ramya meets EU delegation
 

Fri 16/12/2011 12:41

NNA - 16/12/2011 - Deputy Simon Abi met on Thursday with EU delegation and discussed the necessary mechanism to boost parliamentary Committee work at the Lebanese parliament, particularly Sports and Youth Committee.

A.A.M

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Politics - Dweihi: Bkirki's meeting establishes unity of position
 

Fri 16/12/2011 10:54

NNA - 16/12/2011 - Deputy Istfan Dweihi stressed that Bkirki's meeting establishes unity of position because continuous dispute among Christian parties affects the national unity which we are in need of in this stage.

"Bkirki's gathering is essential under these critical circumstances which the region is undergoing", the MP stressed.

Dweihi added on Friday to "Voice of Lebanon" radio that continuous consultations among Christian components in Lebanon are essential to prevent negative repercussions of the ongoing incidents in the region against Christians and Lebanon.

Dweihi stressed the necessity for Christian representation in the election law to achieve true national unity in Lebanon.

A.A.M

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Saad hopes Bkirki's meeting to be fruitful
 

Fri 16/12/2011 10:37

NNA - 16/12/2011 - Deputy Fouad Saad hoped that Friday's meeting at Bkirki will be positive.

The MP added that the agenda of this meeting would not only discuss the elections law, but also the issue of expatriates vote and the existence of Christians in administrations.

"Rapprochement chances are few among parties concerning the election law", Saad added on Friday to "Voice of Lebanon" radio.

He added that this case would take time and this is the preliminary meeting which would be followed by other meetings to narrow views in different issues with common Christian concern.

A.A.M

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Maronite broad meeting starts in Bkirki
 

Fri 16/12/2011 10:23

NNA - 16/12/2011 - Maronite broad meeting started at 10:15 am at Bkirki chaired by Maronite Patriarch Beshara Rai.

It is to note that Deputies Sami and Nadim Gemayel were the last who arrived.
 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Gemayel from Bkirki: Advanced efforts towards solution
 

Fri 16/12/2011 10:20

NNA - 16/12/2011 - Kataeb Party head and former President Amine Gemayel , stressed that there are advanced efforts towards reaching solutions.

Gemayel hoped after arriving to Bkirki who took part in the Maronite meeting said that this meeting would be fruitful in finding solutions.

On the other hand, Deputies Youssef Khalil, Gilberte Zwein, Nabil Nicolas, Hadi Hbeish, Naamtallah Abi Naser, Walid Khoury, Istfan Dweihi and Strida Geagea arrived to Bkirki.
 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Maronite figures start arriving to Bkirki
 

Fri 16/12/2011 10:10

NNA - 16/12/2011 - Maronite figures started arriving to Bkirki to take part in the meeting that Maronite Patriarch Beshara Rai called for.

Among the figures who arrived: "Change and Reform bloc" head Deputy Michel Aoun, "Marada bloc" head Sleiman Frenjieh, "Lebanese Forces" Head Samir Geagea, and deputies: Antoine Zahra, Robert Ghanem, Fouad Saad, Salim Salhab, Alan Aoun, Simon Abi Ramya, Ibrahim Kanaan, Elie Marouni, Ziad Aswad, Elie Keyrouz, Naji Gharious, George Adwan, Hikmat Deeb, Emile Rahmeh, Farid Khazen, Samer Saadeh, Michel Helou, in addition to former Ministers Youssef Saadeh and Ziad Baroud.

A.A.M

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Araji: Hariri announces his return at appropriate circumstances
 

Fri 16/12/2011 09:44

NNA - 16/12/2011 - "Future" bloc member Deputy Asem Araji said that former Prime Minister Saad Hariri is the one who decides the timing of his return to Lebanon at the appropriate circumstances.

The MP added that all persons know that Hariri is staying outside Lebanon for security reasons and his return subjects his life to danger.

On the other hand, Araji said on Friday to "Voice of Lebanon"-Freedom and Dignity that "the other team tries to restore the cabinet's situation, but this issue is temporary".

A.A.M

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Raad: We will first to be affected if stability deteriorated
 

Fri 16/12/2011 08:56

NNA - 16/12/2011 - Head of Loyalty to Resistance parliamentary bloc MP Mohammed Raad said Hezbollah has no interest in destabilizing the situation in Lebanon because the party will be the first to be affected if this happens.

"We will be the first to be affected if stability in the country is endangered. But it seems that some groups and under the false illusion that making accusations and stirring commotion will force us to make concessions," the MP said during a memorial ceremony in the south.

He added that the resistance does not need the help of those who want to wage illusionary battles and make rampant accusations.

"The resistance has an interest in preserving stability especially in the advanced confrontation fronts."

The MP called for a rational dialogue among all the Lebanese to cement stability amid difficult economic and social problems in the country.

Raad underlined the need to secure the needs of the poor and middle classes in Lebanon.

"At the end of the day, the government is responsible for overseeing the welfare of the Lebanese and we will support any legitimate demand to guarantee this task under the ceiling of preserving stability in the country."

O.H

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Sleiman signs a decree to promote officers from Colonel Rank to General
 

Thu 15/12/2011 20:37

NNA - 15/12/2011 Lebanese President Michel Sleiman signed on Thursday evening a decree to promote officers from the rank of "Colonel" to "General", National News Agency Correspondent at Baabda Palace reported.
---------------L.Y

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Rahi, Sfeir illuminate Christmas tree in Bkerki
 

Thu 15/12/2011 20:03

NNA - 15/12/2011 - Maronite Patriarch Mar Bechara Boutros Rahi and Cardinal Nasrallah Sfeir on Thursday illuminated the Christmas tree of twenty-one-meter height in Bkerki, amid Christmas hymns and canticles, in presence of a panel of bishops and a crowd of citizens.

At the beginning of the ceremony, Patriarch Rahi decorated Bank of Beirut chairman, Selim Sfeir, with the Maronite Patriarchate Medal, for his contributions and humanitarian and social aid.

Attendees later headed to the church to recite Christmas novena.



R.A.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Rai for Arab Spring built on plurality, equality

 

Thu 15/12/2011 19:52

NNA - 15/12/2011 - Maronite Patriarch Mar Bechara Boutros Rahi said he looked forward to the birth of a real Arab Spring based on the plurality of religions, cultures and ethnicities as well as equality in democracy and nationality.

Rahi's words came in the context of his Christmas message delivered to all the Lebanese.

Addressing the Lebanese, Rahi called on them to unite for a new national pact that would preserve stability and peace between the Christians and Muslims, so as to overcome any crisis facing Lebanon and to let the country glitter with its national role on the east Mediterranean, in the Arab surrounding and at the international community.
A.M>

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Hazim, Aywas, Lahham reject foreign intervention in Syria
 

Thu 15/12/2011 19:18

NNA - 15/12/2011 Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch and all the East Agnatius IV Hazim, Syriac Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch and the East Mar Agnatius Zakka I Aywas, and Greek Catholic Patriarch of Antioch, all the East, Alexandria and Jerusalem Gregorius III Lahham categorically rejected any form of foreign intervention in Syria from whoever, and called for lifting sanctions imposed on it.
The Patriarchs' words came in a statement issued in the wake of their meeting Thursday at Syriac Saint Ifram Monastery- Maarat Sayd Naya, where they tackled the current incidents taking place in Syria.
The Patriarchs also rejected any sort of violence in Syria, calling for peace and reconciliation amongst all in a way that preserves Syria and takes it to the shore of safety, peace and prosperity.
The Patriarchs also called on all Syrians to close ranks in the name of loving, tolerance and insight, placing the nation's supreme interest above any other consideration.
---------------L.Y

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Politics - UNIFIL, LAF to step up security measures in South
 

Thu 15/12/2011 18:51

NNA - 15/12/2011 - General Alberto Asarta, on Thursday said the UNIFIL and the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) were stepping up security measures in the South, at the backdrop of the incidents which jolted peacekeepers' operations zone recently.

Two rockets were fired from southern Lebanon into northern Israel late November, prompting the enemy army to warn Beirut the day after to work to prevent similar attacks in the future. Israel retaliated by firing four rockets on Ayta Shaab village.

In another development, a bomb went off last week near a UNIFIL patrol in Naba'a area located between Housh and Burj al Shamali towns east of Tyre, causing light injuries to five peacekeeping soldiers.

Besides, a Katyusha rocket fell Sunday evening over a civilian's house in the town of Houla in the South. The rocket was launched from Wadi Al-Qaissieh in the outskirts of the town of Majdal Silm.

Asarta chaired today a tripartite UNIFIL-Lebanese-Israeli meeting at a UN post in Naqoura.

He said these incidents were tantamount dangerous violation of UNSC Resolution 1701.

"I confirm that all parties bear the responsibility of curbing violations of 1701, including the maritime and land breaches, as well as the presence of unlicensed armed members in the operations area," he added.

"We are taking substantial measures, in tandem with the LAF, so as to reinforce security throughout our operations zone, while efforts are still underway to identify and round up assailants," he corroborated.

"Both [Israeli and Lebanese] parties voiced full support and commitment to work the UNIFIL to implement clauses related to Resolution 1701 and curb any likely escalation," he concluded.



R.A.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Wahhab sees Orthodox electoral proposal unlikely to pass
 

Thu 15/12/2011 18:14

NNA - 15/12/2011 - Head of Tawhid Party, Wiam Wahhab, on Thursday avowed the Orthodox Gathering's proposal law on legislative elections would not pass.

The Gathering had proposed an electoral law based upon one single [electoral] district, whereas each community elects its representatives nationwide.

Wahhab today visited Head of the Change and Reform Bloc, MP Michel Aoun, at his residence in Rabieh, and said, following the meeting, that neither the Sunnites nor the Shiites would accept this proposal.

"This law is unfair especially to Christians, who would be entitled to choose merely 25 representatives," Wahhab explained.

"Proportionality remains the best choice," he corroborated.

Besides, Wahhab revealed that the relation between Deputy Aoun and Hezbollah was on track and unswerving, adding that Aoun protected national unity in Lebanon.

Separately, Aoun received former Deputy House Speaker, Elie Ferzli.



R.A.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Daouk from Rahi's: government's approval on nationality restitution is important
 

Thu 15/12/2011 18:03

NNA - 15/12/2011 - Information Minister Walid Daouk said the government's approval on the decision pertaining to the restitution of the Lebanese nationality for emigrants was so important that it would prompt them [emigrants] to preserve their nationality.

Daouk's praise for such a decision came on Thursday in the wake of his visit to Maronite Patriarch Bechara Rahi in Bkirki.
As for the Patriarch's visitors: Deputy Ziad Qaderi; Secretary General of the Islamic Christian Gathering for Businessmen, Remon Sfeir; former Minister Ibrahim Daher; and others.
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Politics - Demonstration in front of Grand Serail protesting salary decision
 

Thu 15/12/2011 17:05

NNA - The Union Coordination Committee set on Thursday a crowded central demonstration protesting the decision pertaining to salary adjustment.

The demonstration ended in the location facing the Grand Serail where several speeches were delivered by concerned officials in demand for correcting the decision upon fair basis.

The protesters, who came from various Lebanese regions, hoisted mottos condemning the decision and asking the government about the transportation fees -rated to be 2% of the overall monthly salary - that had no effect by the decision. "We want our total right in adjusting salaries�those who spent decades in raising generations for building the nation do deserve an honorable way of living," the motto read.
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Politics - Reinvigorated diplomatic meetings highlight Siniora's activity
 

Thu 15/12/2011 16:59

NNA - 15/12/2011 - Head of Future parliamentary bloc, MP Fouad Siniora, on Thursday met with Egyptian ambassador, Mohammad Mustafa Tawfiq, over the current general situation and latest developments in Lebanon and the broader Arab region.

The Deputy later met with Kuwaiti ambassador, Abdul'Al Qinai, over the general situation on the local domestic scene.

Saudi ambassador, Ali Asseiri, had also been to Sadat Tower today, for a meeting with Siniora over most recent political and security developments on both local and regional arenas.

Siniora later received Nawaf Dabous from the Kuwaiti Fund for Economic Development.



R.A.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Safadi meets Egyptian diplomat
 

Thu 15/12/2011 16:47

NNA - 15/12/2011 - Minister of Finance, Mohammad Safadi, on Thursday met with Egyptian ambassador, Mohammad Tawfiq, over the current general situation in Lebanon.

The diplomat visited Safadi today at his ministerial office and tackled with him the Lebanese-Egyptian ties.

Talks also featured high on the perspectives of the upcoming stage in Egypt, based on the outcomes of the underway legislative elections.



R.A.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Berri tackles latest developments with itinerant visitors
 

Thu 15/12/2011 16:43

NNA - 15/12/2011 - Speaker of the House, Nabih Berri, on Thursday met with Head of the National Audio-Visual Media Council, Abdul Hadi Mahfouz, over the necessity to enhance the concept of the State and the obligation to nip sectarian tensions.

Speaking to reporters shortly after the meeting in Ain-el-Tineh, Mahfouz conveyed Berri's keenness on following up closely on the dossier of those indicted and wanted for justice, as well as his readiness to contribute to finding solutions to family disputes.

"Pertaining to the development-related demands, the Speaker believes that there is a serious concern within the incumbent government about development, namely in northern Bekaa region," he added.

Besides, the pair reportedly dwelt on the mission of the National Audio-Visual Media Council. Accordingly, Mahfouz quoted Berri as saying that media must be endowed with a constructive role.

Separately, Speaker Berri met today in Ain-el-Tinehy with Bassel Aqil.

He later broached most recent developments with Minister of Telecommunications, Nicolas Sehnawi.

On the other hand, Berri cabled newly elected Tunisia President, Al-Munsef Marzouqi.



R.A.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved

Politics - Hezbollah deprecates March 14 stances
 

Thu 15/12/2011 15:56

NNA - 15/12/2011 - Hezbollah vehemently condemned on Thursday what it described as March 14 "treacherous and deplorable" declarations, following the attack which targeted five UN peace Keepers in South Lebanon last Friday.

"Those delivering such stances are acting as if they are an integral part of a plan aiming at striking the Resistance," a statement by Hezbollah read.

Moreover, Hezbollah saw in March 14 stances a similar symphony to that previously heard in many situations.

"What they have said falls within the frame direct accusations against Hezbollah without bearing in mind the consequences," the statement added.
R.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Qassem Hashem calls to pave space for understanding
 

Thu 15/12/2011 15:17

NNA - 15/12/2011 - Member of Parliament Qassem Hashem on Thursday called the Lebanese to return to the dialogue table under the auspices of President Michel Sleiman and to pave a space for understanding so as to find solutions to political, social, and economic hardships.

Hashem, Member of Liberation and Development Bloc and Shebaa Deputy, today visited Minister of Youth and Sports, Faysal Karame.

The pair reportedly agreed over the necessity to keep Lebanon safe from repercussions to stem from neighboring unrest.

Separately, Minister Karame met with Qatari ambassador to Lebanon, Saad Muhannadi.


R.A.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved








 

Politics - (Correction) Hobeish: Lebanon beaten due to Hezbollah's arms
 

Thu 15/12/2011 15:11


NNA - 15/12/2011- Deputy Hadi Hobeish said Lebanon was struck due to Hezbollah's weapons, pointing out that said party has risen before the eyes of Syrians in Lebanon.

The Future bloc MP's stance came Thursday in an interview on ANB T.V.

Hobeish said that the army-people-resistance equation was a mere lie, as those arms were exploited by Hizbullah to impose their heavy influence on the Lebanese political life. "Hizbullah doesn't share authority but grabs hold of it by force."

While recognizing Israel's greed in Lebanon, Hobeish refused to frame the party's weapons under any sort of legitimacy.


A.M/N.AF

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Politics - Hobeish: Lebanon beaten due to Hezbollah's arms
 

Thu 15/12/2011 14:59

NNA - 15/12/2011- Deputy Hadi Hobeish said Lebanon was struck due to Hezbollah's weapons, pointing out that said party has risen before the eyes of Syrians in Lebanon.

The Future bloc MP's stance came Thursday in an interview on ANB T.V.

Hobeish said that the Army-people-resistance equation was a mere lie, as those arms were exploited by Hizbullah to impose their heavy influence the Lebanse political life. "Hizbullah doesn't share authority but grabs hold of it by force."

While recognizing Israel's greed in Lebanon, Hobeish refused to frame the party's weapons under any sort of legitimacy.


A.M/N.AF

NNA 2011 All rights reserved








 

Politics - Adams from Mikati's: Canada reconsidering 2100 citizenships
 

Thu 15/12/2011 14:38

NNA - 15/12/2011 - The Canadian Ambassador to Lebanon affirmed on Thursday that Canadian authorities were investigating the cases of 2100 citizens who had been naturalized despite not having been residing on Canadian territories prior to that period.

Ambassador Hillary Childs Adams visited Prime Minister Najib Mikati at the Grand Serail, saying her visit came in the wake of Lebanon's decision to fund the Special Tribunal for Lebanon STL and for a briefing by Mikati on the Lebanese cabinet's priorities.

"Not all those being investigated are Lebanese. They belong to more than 100 countries," Adams said.

She explained that investigations have proven that many people who acquired the Canadian citizenship did not reside in Canada, as previously claimed.

"Canadian authorities are following up the matter to make sure that investigations take a transparent course and to make sure no one will receive an unjust verdict."

Mikati separately held talks with Foreign Affairs and Expatriates Minister Adnan Mansour over diplomatic formations.
R.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved












 

Politics - Sleiman for balanced development, administrative decentralization
 

Thu 15/12/2011 14:14

NNA - 15/12/2011 - Lebanese President Michel Sleiman accentuated on Thursday the importance of achieving balanced development and mitigating burdens troubling the Lebanese people's lives, on daily basis.

The President who met at Baabda Palace with a number of visitors told them that the only means to achieve aspired goals at the developmental level in Lebanon was via the adoption of administrative decentralization.

"The Presidential General Directorate is devotedly following up Interior Ministry progress en route to the accomplishment of this project law which will rank first on the cabinet's works agenda, in the first half of 2012," the President promised, saying this step will directly follow the accomplishment of the Parliamentary electoral law and the budget law.

On another level, means of boosting the cellular phone network and internet services topped talks between the Lebanese President and Tele Communications Minister Nicolas Sehnawi.

Sleiman later tackled most recent local and regional political developments with MP Tamam Salam.
On emerging, Salam relayed Sleiman's call on the Lebanese to rise above petty squabbles, reminding that "all should join ranks to face challenges threatening the nation with disintegration."
R.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved

 

 

 

 


 


Politics - Thanks for Berri on his efforts , Sami Gemayel
 

Thu 15/12/2011 13:15

NNA - 15/12/2011- Member of Parliament (MP) Sami Gemayel thanked Speaker of the Parliament Nabih Berri on the efforts that he had exerted since yesterday (Thursday), wishing things will be back to normal and discussions at the Parliament would be made without going to such a low verbal level.

Speaking in a context of a press conference that he held today noon in the Parliament , Gemayel said," it is an initiative (Berri's efforts) which all the Lebanese have to grape for reaching a democratic life."

It is to note that a heated verbal debate took place yesterday between Deputies Sami Gemayel and Nawaf Al-Moussawi over the excavations and installations in Tarchich.

L.Y.R/N.AF

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Abi Nasr praises removing VAT on gasoil
 

Thu 15/12/2011 13:14

NNA - 15/12/2011- Member of Parliament Neemtallah Abi Nasr praised the cabinet's decision to remove Value Added Tax on red gasoil.

Abi Nasr said that this procedure is necessary for production sectors continuity and for providing services to citizens by lower prices of the current ones, pointing out that removing the VAT would decrease the price of 20 liters of gasoil by 5,000 LL.

He explained that the VAT was enforced according to a law, thus the cabinet had to ask the Parliament to issue a decree to amend that law.
Abi Nasr concluded, "removing the VAT on gasoil would surely lead to decreasing subsides on some materials; accordingly, any law that removes this tax and facilities' profits is vital and provides more tax justice."

L.Y.R/N.AF

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politic - Charbel officers' promotion decree to be issued today
 

Thu 15/12/2011 13:10

NNA - 15/12/2011 - Interior Minister Marwan Charbel told Voice of Lebanon on Thursday that the decree for promoting the generals will be issued on Thursday with the signatures of the President of the Republic, Prime Minister and Finance Minister and will include 25 colonels with exception of Colonel Wissam Hassan who will be promoted on 1/1/2012.

The minister also commented on the recent security incidents in the south.

"Those who are behind the rocket and explosives messages in the south are not keen to see Lebanon enjoy security and stability. The attacks are dual message to both the Lebanese security forces and UNIFIL forces. We should close ranks to uncover those are staging these attacks," Charbel said.

Asked about allegations that Syria and Hezbollah were behind the attacks, the minister said he cannot accuse anyone and can't respond to these accusations.

"This issue is in the hand of the judicial authorities which we hope will be able to apprehend the culprits as soon as possible. I, as a minister will issue an arrest warrant against anyone who has been incremented by the law," Charbel said.

The minister brushed off charges that the security forces are not capable of carrying out their duties.

"We never hesitated in performing our duty and no one stopped us from fulfilling our tasks."

Charbel dismissed the possibility that the UNIFIL forces will withdraw due to the attacks against their patrols because this would be a setback to the United Nations resolutions and most notably resolution 1701.

He also did not expect the rules of engagement to change following the shooting of missiles from the south to Israel.

O.H

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Politics - Jumblatt cables Tunisian President
 

Thu 15/12/2011 13:04

NNA - 15/12/2011 - PSP head Deputy Walid Jumblatt cabled Tunisian President Mohamad Marzouki and congratulated him for his election.

A.A.M

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Politics - Mansour receives credential cards of Albanian and Guinean Ambassadors
 

Thu 15/12/2011 12:59

NNA - 15/12/2011 - Foreign and Expatriates Minister Adnan Mansour received credential cards of Albanian Ambassador Nuri Domi and Guinean Ambassador Padre Pienino paving the way to present them to president Michel Sleiman.

A.A.M

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Syria internationally segregated: Pietton
 

Thu 15/12/2011 12:02
NNA - 15/12/2011 - The French Ambassador to Lebanon said on Thursday that Syria was globally isolated, ruling out any intention by France to abandon its stance condemning Syria before the International Security Council.

Ambassador Denis Pietton's display of France's political approach in Lebanon and the region came amid a dialogue gathering called forth by the "Cultural Movement" of Antellias, in presence of senior political figures and dignitaries.

"Syria suffers a critical humanitarian condition...We are following up the matter by all diplomatic means and by backing up the Arab League," Pietton said, reminding of France's endeavors to resort to the United Nations facing Syria.

"We were met by the loud objection of Russia, China, India, Brazil and South Africa."

But the French Ambassador expressed his personal conviction that Russia would eventually give up its current position from Syria. "It would be possible to achieve some diplomatic progress at the Security Council by then."

As for the deteriorating French-Syrian relations, Pietton said that it was the outcome of the massive disappointment made by the Syrian regime.

"Syria's position from regional developments was negative and I think that trust issues emerged between the French and Syrian President. One of the main triggers was the way Syria dealt with Lebanese affairs."

Fearing that Syria's unrest would reach Lebanon, Pietton expressed hope that Prime Minister Najib Mikati would be able to limit down sectarian tension to prevent such eventuality.

"Lebanon's independence, unity, sovereignty, and peace are a priority to France, the founder of the State of Grand Lebanon."
R.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Rahi, Daouk meet
 

Thu 15/12/2011 11:42

NNA - 15/12/2011- Maronite Patriarch Mar Bechara Boutros Rahi meets at this moment with Information Minister Walid Daouk.

L.Y.R/N.AF

NNA 2011 All rights reserved
 


Politics - Nawaf Mousawi apologizes for his "abusive" remarks in parliament
 

Thu 15/12/2011 10:43

NNA - 15/12/2011 - Member of Parliament Nawaf al Mousawi apologized for the abusive remarks he made at the parliament on Wednesday.

In a statement released by Hezbollah's media office, Mousawi extended his apology to the Speaker of the Parliament and all the MPs for the abusive words which were uttered during a parliamentary debate, stressing, however, the political substance of his response.

O.H

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Politics - Jarrah: We are more convinced to solve weapons issue
 

Thu 15/12/2011 10:32


NNA - 15/12/2011 - Deputy Jamal Jarrah said that they (March 14) are more convinced to address weapons issue or matters would stay as they are or even get worse.

The MP felt sorry for the verbal language that was used on Wednesday in the Q&A parliament session between Deputies Nawaf Musawi and Sami Gemayel.

"It is dangerous to belittle the other team or treat it with disrespect", the MP stressed on Thursday to "Voice of Lebanon"-Freedom and Dignity radio, adding that this confirms that weapons issue should be solved.

On the other hand, Jarrah said that the cabinet is trying to find exit for the social and wage increases issues but instead it is ruining things instead of solving them.

A.A.M

NNA 2011 All rights reserved

 

 


 


Politics - Cabinet purges red diesel VAT, supports olive oil price
 

Wed 14/12/2011 22:11

NNA - 14/12/2011 - The Council of Ministers endorsed on Tuesday a decision to eleminate the value added tax VAT on red diesel and decided to increase treasury support for the purchase of local olive oil by Lebanese Army members.

The Council of Ministers convened in session at Baabda Palace on Tuesday presided by Lebanese President Michel Sleiman, with Ministers Ghazi Aridi, Salim Karam, and Wael Abou Faour abstaining.

"The cabinet approved a project to remove the VAT on red diesel and has decided to adopt appropriate measures to stop collecting red diesel VAT as of 19/12/2011, pending the issuance of a law concerning the matter," Information Minister Walid Daouk told reporters following the session.

He said the cabinet also tackled the 2012 budget project law and discussed proposed amendments, as ministers gave their varying opinions with this regard.

"The cabinet also decided to increase its treasury support from two billion LP to 3.5 billion LP, to help Lebanese Army members purchase local olive oil," Daouk added.

As for the next cabinet session, Daouk said that it hasn't been scheduled yet.

It is to note that Presidents Sleiman and Mikati held a meeting touching on local developments prior to the session.
R.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - "Parties Gathering" meets in solidarity with Syria
 

Wed 14/12/2011 21:27

NNA - 14/12/2011 - The "Lebanese Parties Gathering" held a meeting on Tuesday in solidarity with Syria titled "In condemnation of foreign intervention in Syria's internal affairs. In support of steadfastness and resistance facing the Israeli enemy."

The meeting which was held at Galleria Hotel - Beir Hassan witnessed the attendance of the Syrian Ambassador to Lebanon Ali Abdul Karim Ali, as well as a number senior figures and dignitaries.

Words delivered by the Workers' League head Mr. Zaher Khatib, Former Deputy Speaker Elie Ferzli, Syrian Socialist Party Deputy Head Mr. Tawfik Mhanna and others concerned, fully censured any attempt at tampering with internal Syrian affiars and encouraged Syria to remain resolute and defiant.

Hezbollah political bureau member Mr. Mahmoud Kamati later read out a cable addressed to Syrian President Bashar Assad, on the gathering's behalf, deploring the Arab Leagues' sanctions on Syria.

A similar cable addressed to President of the Republic Michel Sleiman and Prime Minister Najib Mikati requested of the Lebanese government the implementation of Taef Accord and the prohibition of any attempt at breeching the Lebanese constitution.
R.H.

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Politics - Asarta tackles security situation with Berri, Mikati
 

Wed 14/12/2011 19:21

NNA - 14/12/2011 - UNIFIL spokesperson, Andrea Tenenti, on Wednesday stated that UNIFIL commander, Major General Alberto Asarta, had visited House Speaker Nabih Berri and Prime Minister Najib Mikati to discuss the situation in UNIFIL operations area, in light of the recent incidents in South Lebanon.

A statement by Tenenti said that General Asarta voiced to the Lebanese officials stern condemnation and concern over the attack which targeted the UNIFIL and the rocket firing from the Lebanese territories.

"The recent violent acts aim to undermine stability and peace in South Lebanon. Such acts aim to harm the peacekeeping forces and also to threaten the safety of locals and the security of the South," Tenenti quoted Asarta as saying.

Asarta called to investigate these incidents so as to uncover perpetrators and hand them to justice.

"The UNIFIL is still focusing on its task as stated in the Security Council's resolution 1701, in tandem with the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF)," the statement added.

Tenenti said that Asarta had tackled with both Berri and Mikati yesterday the means to curb any escalation in the South, hailing the excellent cooperation with the LAF in that respect.

"The government of Lebanon, in its capacity as the hosting county, bears the main responsibility to guarantee the security of the UNFIIL, and we are working with the Lebanese authorities. It is clear that there is a need to enhance security control in the region," he added.

"Recent incidents showed that despite all efforts exerted by the UNIFIL and the Lebanese Army, there are still weapons and hostile armed members in the [UNIFIL] operations area incompliantly with one of the most important clauses of the UNSC Resolution 1701," he concluded.



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Politics - Geagea tackles current situation with visitors
 

Wed 14/12/2011 18:19

NNA - 14/12/2011 - Lebanese Forces Head, Samir Geagea, on Wednesday broached the current general situation in Lebanon with MP Bassem Shabb from Lebanon First Bloc.

The meeting also featured high on the security situation in the South.

Geagea later met with Danish ambassador, Jan Top Christensen.

Attorney Elias Mkhaiber had also been to Meerab today for a meeting with Geagea.



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Politics - Siniora, Pietton meet
 

Wed 14/12/2011 18:15

NNA - 14/12/2011 - Head of Future parliamentary bloc, MP Fouad Siniora, on Wednesday met with French ambassador, Denis Pietton, over the current situation in Lebanon and the broader Arab region.



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Politics - Murr, Oseiri tackle current developments
 

Wed 14/12/2011 17:57

NNA - 14/12/2011 Deputy Michel Murr met on Wednesday with Saudi Ambassador to Lebanon Ali Oseiri, at his "Imaret Chalhoub" office, where they tackled the current local and regional developments.
On emerging, Oseiri said that Saudi King is keen on halting bloodshed in Syria and exerting maximum joint Arab efforts to cease the cycle of violence.
On Lebanon's affairs, Ambassador Oseiri underlined the Kingdom's deep concern for supporting Lebanon and the unity of internal ranks.
"The Kingdom affirms unity of ranks with all sides without exception, so as to maintain an immune Lebanon," Oseiri said, indicating that it is due time that Lebanon becomes invulnerable to any probable repercussions.
Murr, for his part, lauded the Saudi pioneering role on the internal Lebanese scene, saying the Kingdom has always been supportive of Lebanon working for the interest of its citizens and for the unity of Arab ranks.
"If the Syrian-Saudi initiative had succeeded, we would not have reached this stage," Murr concluded.

---------------L.Y
Politics - Murr, Oseiri tackle current developments
NNA - 14/12/2011 Deputy Michel Murr met on Wednesday with Saudi Ambassador to Lebanon Ali Oseiri, at his "Imaret Chalhoub" office, where they tackled the current local and regional developments.
On emerging, Oseiri said that Saudi King is keen on halting bloodshed in Syria and exerting maximum joint Arab efforts to cease the cycle of violence.
On Lebanon's affairs, Ambassador Oseiri underlined the Kingdom's deep concern for supporting Lebanon and the unity of internal ranks.
"The Kingdom affirms unity of ranks with all sides without exception, so as to maintain an immune Lebanon," Oseiri said, indicating that it is due time that Lebanon becomes invulnerable to any probable repercussions.
Murr, for his part, lauded the Saudi pioneering role on the internal Lebanese scene, saying the Kingdom has always been supportive of Lebanon working for the interest of its citizens and for the unity of Arab ranks.
"If the Syrian-Saudi initiative had succeeded, we would not have reached this stage," Murr concluded.

---------------L.Y
Politics - Murr, Oseiri tackle current developments
NNA - 14/12/2011 Deputy Michel Murr met on Wednesday with Saudi Ambassador to Lebanon Ali Oseiri, at his "Imaret Chalhoub" office, where they tackled the current local and regional developments.
On emerging, Oseiri said that Saudi King is keen on halting bloodshed in Syria and exerting maximum joint Arab efforts to cease the cycle of violence.
On Lebanon's affairs, Ambassador Oseiri underlined the Kingdom's deep concern for supporting Lebanon and the unity of internal ranks.
"The Kingdom affirms unity of ranks with all sides without exception, so as to maintain an immune Lebanon," Oseiri said, indicating that it is due time that Lebanon becomes invulnerable to any probable repercussions.
Murr, for his part, lauded the Saudi pioneering role on the internal Lebanese scene, saying the Kingdom has always been supportive of Lebanon working for the interest of its citizens and for the unity of Arab ranks.
"If the Syrian-Saudi initiative had succeeded, we would not have reached this stage," Murr concluded.
---------------L.Y

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Politics - Daouk: for not transforming media freedom to chaos
 

Wed 14/12/2011 17:27

NNA - 14/12/2011 - Information Minister Walid Daouk said media freedom in Lebanon was absolute yet in the framework of respecting laws and keenness on not transforming it into chaos.

Daouk's words came on Wednesday amidst the minister's participation in the regional conference on the role of media in light of Arab changes, organized by the Progressive Thought Forum and the Frederic Ebert Institution at Bristol hotel in Beirut, in presence of National News Agency director Laure Sleiman, Deputy Walid Jumblatt and others.

Daouk called for benefiting from the past experiences in media so as to avoid the faults of Arab media. He also urged preventing using the media as a podium for distorting facts or promoting new authoritarian policies.
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Politics - Cabinet convenes in Baabda
 

Wed 14/12/2011 17:23

NNA - 14/12/2011 - The Cabinet is currently convening in Baabda presidential palace mainly to broach a draft law on the 2012 state budget and the cancelation of VAT on diesel.

Prior to the session, Lebanese President Michel Sleiman and Prime Minister Najib Mikati held a one-on-one meeting over the general situation and most recent developments.


R.A.H.

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Politics - Sleiman, Mikati in pre-cabinet session meeting
 

Wed 14/12/2011 16:50

NNA - 14/12/2011 - President of the Republic, Michel Sleiman, and Prime Minister, Najib Mikati, are currently meeting in Baabda over latest developments, prior to a cabinet session.

Ministers are scheduled to meet this evening under the chairmanship of President Sleiman to tackle the 2012 state budget draft and the cancelation of VAT on diesel.


R.A.H.

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Politics - Smida visits Hezbollah official
 

Wed 14/12/2011 16:43

NNA - 14/12/2011 - The candidate to French legislative elections, Patricia Smida, on Wednesday visited Hezbollah official, Ammar Moussawi.

Smida, who is from Lebanese origins, raised during the meeting the issue of the situation of the Lebanese holding a French nationality, whether residing in Lebanon or abroad.


R.A.H.

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Politics - Qahwaji's itinerant visitors today
 

Wed 14/12/2011 16:38

NNA - 14/12/2011 - Lebanese Army Chief, General Jean Qahwaji, on Wednesday met with Belgian ambassador, Colette Taquet, who came on a protocol visit.

Qahwaji later received at his office in Yarzeh the Secretary General of the Maronite Patriarchate, Father Antoine Khalifeh, and a delegation of Lebanese topographers' syndicate, headed by Antoine Mansour.


R.A.H.

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Politics - Berri, Gemayel meet
 

Wed 14/12/2011 16:36

NNA - 14/12/2011 - Speaker of the House, Nabih Berri, and Kataeb Head, Amine Gemayel, on Wednesday met at the Parliament over most recent developments.

The pair also pondered upon the Christian-Islamic charter.


R.A.H.

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Politics - March 14 sees Hezbollah, Syria orchestrating jeopardy efforts
 

Wed 14/12/2011 16:33

NNA - 14/12/2011 - March 14 forces on Wednesday chided Hezbollah and Syria with sapping stability in South Lebanon, at the backdrop of a series of security incidents within a three-week span.

Two rockets were fired from southern Lebanon into northern Israel late November, prompting the enemy army to warn Beirut the day after to work to prevent similar attacks in the future. Israel retaliated by firing four rockets on Ayta Shaab village.

In another development, a bomb went off last week near a UNIFIL patrol in Naba'a area located between Housh and Burj al Shamali towns east of Tyre, causing light injuries to five peacekeeping soldiers.

Besides, a Katyusha rocket fell Sunday evening over a civilian's house in the town of Houla in the South. The rocket was launched from Wadi Al-Qaissieh in the outskirts of the town of Majdal Silm.

March 14 forces today met in a periodic meeting, with the alleged implication of Syria and Hezbollah in the aforementioned incidents in crosshairs.

A closing statement issued in the wake of the meeting echoed the forces' strong belief that the incidents were tantamount a certain Syrian message.

It also maintained that Hezbollah bore full responsibility considering that the party takes complete hold of South Lebanon and UNIFIL's operation prefecture.

The forces reminded of the obligation that the Lebanese state, army, and security apparatuses endeavor to assure the full implementation of UN Resolution 1701 and to keep Lebanon under the ceiling of international legitimacy, amid a looming risk to downsize or withdraw peacekeepers' participation in the UNIFIL.

Turning to Syria, March 14 held the Lebanese government fully responsible of granting the status of refugees to Syrian citizens who fled into Lebanon following their country's unrest.




R.A.H.

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Politics - Watkins from Franjieh's: UN encourages dialogue among Lebanese
 

Wed 14/12/2011 16:30

NNA - 14/12/2011 - UN Representative in Lebanon Robert Watkins welcomed Maronite Patriarch Bechara Rahi's call for dialogue among Christian leaders in Bkirki, saying that the UN encouraged such initiative so as to avoid any local tension.

Watkins's words came on Wednesday in the wake of his visit to head of Marada Movement Sleiman Franjieh at the latter's house in Benashii

"The important thing is to safeguard Lebanon from the entire crisis in the region," Watkins stressed.

Watkins also underscored the necessity of implementing the Security Council resolution 1701 in the south of Lebanon to let security prevail, condemning the assault on UNIFIL last Friday as well as the rocket-attack on Israel from inside the Lebanese territories.
 

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Politics - A. Gemayel receives Palestinian Ambassador
 

Wed 14/12/2011 16:03

NNA - 14/12/2011 - Former President of the Lebanese Republic Amine Gemayel received on Wednesday at the Kataeb head-office in Saifi the Palestinian Ambassador Abdullah Abdullah and reviewed with him overall developments at the local and regional scenes.

Interviewed after the visit, the ambassador called for stability and safety of the region in face of all foreign greedy people, saying it was unacceptable for any external interference in the region's affairs.

Abdullah also expressed keenness on freedom and dignity in the region.

Separately, Gemayel received a delegation of the Christian Minorities Gathering that included Edmund Boutros. Talks focused on the general situation.

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Politics - Sleiman strict over constitution-based appointments
 

Wed 14/12/2011 15:40

NNA - 14/12/2011 - President of the Republic, Michel Sleiman, on Wednesday said he would not accept any administrative appointments if not compliant with the Constitution.

The President today met with a delegation of the Central Maronite Council, to whom he highlighted the necessity to protect the domestic scene from the repercussions of neighboring unrest.

Besides, he maintained that the exaggeration over a number of items rendered the work of Mikati-led government less fruitful.

Deputy Prime Minister, Samir Moqbel, had also been to Baabda palace today, for a meeting with Sleiman over most recent developments.

The President later broached the current situation with former ministers Roger Dib and Ibrahim Daher.



R.A.H.

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Politics - Intense dispute between S. Gemayel, N. Moussawi over Tarshish network
 

Wed 14/12/2011 15:27

NNA - 14/12/2011 - Kataeb Deputy Sami Gemayel and Hizbullah's Nawaf Moussawi on Wednesday engaged in a verbal spar over excavation works for telecoms network in Tarshish.

The dispute occurred amidst the Answer and Question parliamentary session when Gemayel attacked Hizbullah at the backdrop of works in Tarshish.

Hizbullah Deputy responded that the resistance, which he [Moussawi] termed as legal, had the right to protect Lebanon by whatever means it found suitable.

In his turn, Gemayel retaliated that he sought protection amid deployment of Hizbullah members on the street.

By such, a dispute of harsh, obnoxious expressions sparked between the two, pushing Speaker of the House Nabih Berri to interfere to restore the rule at session.

A.M>
 

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Politics - Torsarkissian: Only army should be responsible for security
 

Wed 14/12/2011 14:19

NNA - 14/12/2011- Member of Parliament (MP) Serge Torsarkissian stressed that the security issue should be exclusively in the hands of the army and security forces, pointing out that security in Lebanon would not be accomplished in the presence of a party that performs the role of the army and security apparatuses.

Commenting on the Question and Answer session held in the Parliament today, the MP said that 14 March deputies would prefer if the Parliament were the place at which all deputies agree to discuss political issues, indicating that this would prevent many security incidents resulting from escalated political speeches.

He added that no serious actions regarding security issue, whether in the south or any other Lebanese regions, were taken; pointing out that some of Hizbullah deputies mentioned that the Party is present in all Lebanese regions to pursue C.I.A agents.

The MP considered, "UNIFIL is a part of the south stability and messing with that means war."

L.Y.R/N.AF

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Politics - Jeanjanian slams government actions
 

Wed 14/12/2011 13:22

NNA - 14/12/2011- Member of Parliament (MP) Chant Jeanjanian said that the deteriorating economic and living conditions in Lebanon revealed the cabinet's engagement in distributing shares and benefits among its members.

He added in a statement that the current cabinet is not concerned by citizens' pains and grievances; mainly, those in Bekaa area who are suffering of cold due to the rise of fuel prices, pointing out that the government should step down soon before the Lebanese people force it do so.

The MP said that citizens of the Bekaa area had become severely poor in light of the government's negligence of their livelihood issues. He indicated that the citizens' attempts to demonstrate were just a beginning which might reach later, with the request of Bekaa deputies, to the Serail gates if the cabinet continued ignoring their situation.

Jeanjanian called upon Prime Minister Najib Mikati to give the Bekaa area and its citizens a special attention and provide them with their minimum needs.

The deputy also asked the cabinet, in addition to removing the VAT tax set on gasoline, to issue purchasing coupons to guarantee that citizens would get that product and prevent monopolizing it by some traders.

Commenting on the latest incidents in the south, Jeanjanian said that attacking the UNIFIL French contingent and launching rockets towards Israel are violation to Lebanon's sovereignty and the Lebanese Army in the first place as well as to international resolutions.

He added, in light of the President of the Republic Michel Suleiman and Prime Minister Najib Mikati's condemnation to the incidents in the south, the security forces investigating these events should show more resolute in unveiling the perpetrators; otherwise, the condemnation of both the President and the Prime Minister would be meaningless.

He pointed out that the security escalation in the south would not lead those who are behind it to the results that they aim at, indicating that the UNIFIL would not stand still regarding the attacks against its units.

He called upon the Lebanese Army to take the utmost deterrent measures to preserve security and stability.

L.Y.R/N.AF

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Politics - Mikati stresses attachment to UNIFIL
 

Wed 14/12/2011 12:41

NNA - 14/12/2011 - Prime Minister Najib Mikati stressed that Lebanon is part of the international legitimacy and hence it is committed to the UNIFIL working in south Lebanon to bolster security and stability.

Mikati added that UNIFIL forces help the Lebanese army to fulfill its duties in extending its authority over all Lebanese territories.

Mikati met on Wednesday with the UNIFIL commander General Alberto Asarta and discussed the situation in the south and the latest attack against the French contingent working in UNIFIL in south Lebanon.

Mikati renewed during the meeting his condemnation over the attack against UNIFIL forces and described it as an attempt to foment tension in the south and to tamper with stability.

"Targeting the French contingent aims to worsen the relation between Lebanon and France which always stood beside Lebanon and supported it under all circumstances", Mikati said.

Mikati renewed his demand on the international community to support the Lebanese army and by exerting pressure on Israel to stop its daily violations to the Lebanese sovereignty.

On the other hand, Asarta said after the meeting "we discussed the situation in the south and ways to handle the problems there".

Separately, Mikati chaired the second meeting for reviewing policies and understandings signed by the Lebanese state in the field of combating corruption, with the participation of the some ministers and figures.

Minister Chakib Kortbawi said after the meeting that this meeting aims to set a plan to combat corruption from words to deeds.

"This issue does not end quickly but is continuous but should start seriously", the Minister added.

The minister reiterated the necessity of cooperation between politicians, citizens and apparatuses, to fight corruption because this issue causes damage to everyone.

A.A.M

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Politics - Parliamentary questioning session for cabinet opens
 

Wed 14/12/2011 11:53

NNA - 14/12/2011- The Parliament started the questioning and answering session of the cabinet.

On the agenda of the Parliament, there are six questions submitted by deputies: Mohammad Hajjar, Sami Gemayel, Mohammad Kabbani, Ziad Kadiri and Kazem El-Kheir.

This is the second session of this kind in this cabinet's period. The questions tackle electricity, encroachment of public properties and infrastructure works in Tarchich area.

L.Y.R/N.AF

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Politics - Salam denies Iranian media's allegation about his stand on Saudi Arabia
 

Wed 14/12/2011 11:46

NNA - 14/12/2011 - Member of Parliament Tamam Salam vehemently denied Iranian media allegations that he criticized Saudi Arabia's positions.

In a statement by his media office, Salam said some Iranian news web sites in English language fabricated an interview with the MP in which he allegedly criticized the positions of Saudi Arabia.

"All these reports are pure fabrications and lies because Salam was never interviewed by any Iranian news media or journalist. The MP has never contacted the journalist who claimed to have made the interview," the statement said.

It stressed that these allegations are nothing more than a cheap and suspicious attempt to embroil MP Salam in positions against the kingdom, adding that it is common knowledge that Salam has historic and close ties with Saudi Arabia.

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Politics - Marouni: Launching rockets from south targets state and army
 

Wed 14/12/2011 10:49


NNA - 14/12/2011 - Deputy Elie Marouni said that the events that occurred in the south in recent days have targeted the state and army.

Marouni added that they (March 14) would clear the name of the resistance once the investigations are over concerning the rocket firing from the south.

Marouni wondered on Thursday to "Voice of Lebanon"- Freedom and Dignity radio "who has the capability of firing rockets amid the existence of weapons".

The MP stressed that in case weapons remained outside the state's legitimacy, then the conspiracy is aimed at the state and people.

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Politics - Manjian expects rise vat tax on red gas oil today
 

Wed 14/12/2011 10:44
NNA - 14/12/2011- State Minister Panos Manjian expected that the cabinet would take a decision today (Wednesday) regarding rise of vat tax on red gas oil.

Speaking to "Voice of Lebanon " radio station, Manjian indicated that the decision was previously made but was postponed because Financial Minister Mohammad Al-Safadi hadn't presented any statistics.

Commenting on wage increase, the Minister said, " Labor Minister Charbel Nahas' draft wasn't seriously discussed and the increase that was endorsed did not satisfy neither employees nor teachers."

However, he added that the cabinet would not be able to really give employers the right increase in light of the accumulated flows on that since 1996 until 2011, pointing out that the economic sector cannot bear raising the minimum wage increase between 60% and 70%.

Separately, Majian stressed that appointments are important to correct the labor pattern, denying his knowledge "about any set date to discuss appointments issue."

L.Y.R/N.AF
 

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Politics - Rai stresses that Law above all
 

Wed 14/12/2011 10:20

NNA - 14/12/2011 - Maronite Patriarch Mar Beshara Boutros Rai hoped that the state would preserve the independence of judiciary and the dignity of judges, stressing that law is above all people.

Rai called on the state "to preserve the independence of judiciary and judges and protect them from any attack".

Rai made these remarks while meeting at Bkirki with Maronite court supervisor bishop, Mansour Hbeika, members and employees of these courts on the occasion of opening the judicial year.

Later, Rai chaired the periodical meeting of bishops to discuss congregations' situation.

A.A.M

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Politics - Zahra: It's everybody's interest to continue parliamentary work
 

Wed 14/12/2011 10:15

NNA - 14/12/2011 - Member of Parliament Antoine Zahra told Voice of Lebanon on Wednesday that it is in the interest of all sides to continue the parliamentary work in a positive manner.

"I wish that Speaker of the Parliament Nabih Berri will read again article 129 concerning the question and answer session which stipulates that the questioner to ask again after receiving the answer from the government," the MP said.

He added that the MPs will ask six questions to the government during the parliamentary session and this may lead to further questions that could lead to hot and sensitive topics.

Zahra commented on the developments in the south.

"Hezbollah can's claim that it exposed CIA agents in Lebanon and at the same time it can't find out who fired the rockets from the south. The party should shoulder its responsibility and confirm it wisdom by preventing the transfer of Syrian domestic problems to Lebanon," the MP said.

He stressed that it is in no one's interest to link the stability in Lebanon to the fate of regimes in the Middle East.

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Politics - Sleiman hopes 2012 year for democracy
 

Tue 13/12/2011 21:09


NNA - 13/12/2011 - President of the Lebanese Republic, General Michel Sleiman, hoped on Tuesday that 2012 would be a year for democracy and peace in the Arab world and Lebanon, so that people's sufferings would be terminated.

President Sleiman's words came during a chat with accredited journalists at Baabda Presidential Palace.

The President said the festive season, without democracy, would remain incomplete.

Sleiman stressed the necessity of returning to national dialogue. While he voiced concern about the situation in Lebanon, he expressed confidence that Lebanon would be able to overcome all difficulties through Lebanese officials' care about people's affairs.
 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Future Bloc says Southerners no more accept their land as mail box
 

Tue 13/12/2011 20:11

NNA - 13/12/2011 - The Future Bloc said that the people of south Lebanon could no more accept that their land be used as mail box to send messages on the regional or international level.

The Future's words came in the wake of its regular meeting at the Central House in Beirut, under the chairmanship of the head of said bloc Fouad Siniora.

The Future condemned the attempts to drag Lebanon into a position of receiving the battles of the others on its own land, noting that such a cruel project did not help national unity or immunity against the Israeli usurping entity.

The bloc also wondered at the government's perplexing and retreat in regard to the wages adjustment issue, calling for halting such behaviors and seeking instead, at that sensitive economic and financial stage in Lebanon, to ameliorate daily living conditions of citizens, without causing the local monetary stability any disturbance bigger than the capacity of the treasury.
A.M.

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Politics - EU-Lebanon Association Committee holds second meeting
 

Tue 13/12/2011 19:54

NNA - 13/12/2011 - The EU-Lebanon Association Committee on Tuesday held its second meeting in Beirut, under the chairmanship of Hugues Mingarelli.

In his word, Mingarelli said "the second Association Committee meeting between the European Union and Lebanon took place in Beirut on 13 December. As Managing Director for North Africa, Middle East, Arabian Peninsula, Iran and Iraq at the European External Action Service of the European Union, I had the honor of co-chairing the meeting on behalf of the European Union. The Lebanese Delegation was led by Minister of Economy and Trade, H.E. Nicolas Nahas. I was pleased that many EU Member States representatives also attended the meeting, as well as a large number of officials from various Lebanese administrations."
"The purpose of the Association Committee was to review EU-Lebanon relations, in the context of the new European Neighborhood Policy, and to identify key areas where the partnership can be further enhanced. These priorities will be mutually agreed in the framework of a new EU-Lebanon Action Plan to be drafted in 2012. Enhanced engagement from the EU will be determined on the basis of the reform agenda of the Lebanon authorities, and on the basis of the EU's new European Neighbourhood Policy. This policy aims to increase ties with the EU for those neighbouring countries wishing to pursue further reforms towards deep democracy and sustainable development with the view to reducing socio-geographic disparities and building regional ties. Closer ties with the EU can be achieved for instance through improved mobility for people and enhanced trade relations; the latter however would require Lebanon to become a member of the World Trade Organisation, he added.
"On the basis of the new Action Plan, the EU will determine how best to support the implementation of Lebanon's reform agenda. Under the principle of more for more, enhanced EU support is dependent on the pace and depth of reforms envisaged. The EU is keen to support reforms in a number of key sectors which could make an impact on the daily lives of the people of Lebanon. Specific areas for deeper cooperation, including the programming of future EU funding, will be the subject of further discussions between EU and Lebanese officials, as well as with civil society, in the course of 2012," he maintained.
He said "the meeting was also an opportunity to take stock of political developments in Europe, in the Arab region and in Lebanon. In this context, the EU welcomed the payment of Lebanon's contribution to the Special Tribunal for Lebanon and more broadly, looks forward to Lebanon continuing to uphold its international commitments. Stability is a key issue; the EU encourages the Lebanese authorities to address all security concerns to ensure the safety and protection of all, Lebanese and foreigners on Lebanese soil. HRVP Catherine Ashton condemned the latest attack on a French contingent of UNIFIL and we hope the perpetrators will be rapidly identified and tried. But stability is also linked to deeper reforms: such as developing an effective integrated border strategy; building strong institutions, representative of the people thanks to genuine elections, and able to deliver key public services; promoting stronger enforcement of the rule of law and an independent judiciary; fighting corruption and promoting investment. The people of Lebanon have high expectations for reform particularly given the current difficult economic climate - as do the people of Europe. Economic developments in the EU were also discussed during our Association Committee, not least the current challenges and measures taken to support the Euro."
"In the context of my mission to Lebanon, I also held bilateral discussions with H.E. Prime Minister Mikati, H.E. Minister of Economy and Trade Nicolas Nahas, and senior officials from the Foreign Ministry and the United Nations. I also had a chance to visit EU-funded projects in Beirut (business incubator Berytech) and in Saida (inauguration of a new EU-funded UNRWA school)," he added.
He underlined that the European Union was committed to continuing its support to Lebanon and that it looked forward to finding concrete ways of further supporting the reform agenda of the country, as will be laid out in the new EU Lebanon Action Plan in 2012.

 

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Politics - Mansour, Atieh tackle the current developments
 

Tue 13/12/2011 19:17


NNA - 13/12/2011 Foreign and Expatriates Minister Adnan Mansour had audience Tuesday with Qatari Vice Prime Minister Abdulla Atieh, where they tackled the current regional developments.
Mansour met Atieh at the sidelines of the fourth Forum for the Alliance of Civilizations, held in the Qatari capital, Doha.
On the other hand, Mansour, along with Iranian and Sudanese Culture Ministers, attended as guests of honor the inauguration ceremony of International Book Fair, Doha.
Mansour returns to Lebanon Tuesday evening.
 

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Politics - Watkins disconcerted over security incidents
 

Tue 13/12/2011 18:58

NNA - 13/12/2011 - UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon ad interim, Robert Watkins, on Tuesday told Maronite Patriarch, Mar Bechara Boutros Rahi, that the UN was disconcerted by the rising number of security incidents in the South.

"We are naturally disconcerted by the rising number of incidents, two rocket firing incidents in the period of two weeks and yet another attack on UNIFIL troops, which the Secretary General and the Security Council have condemned in the strongest terms," he told reporters following the meeting in Bkerki.

He said that the meeting was an opportunity to discuss the current general situation, whereby he praised the role of the Patriarch in trying to promote dialogue to keep the channels of communications open and to avoid tension.

"In that regard, the United Nations welcomes the summit of Christian leaders that the Patriarch is expected to host in Bkerki forthcoming Friday, and we hope agreements reached at the meeting will work in favor of unity, security, and stability in Lebanon," he added.

The Patriarch later met with Army Intelligence Chief, General Edmond Fadel and Director of Mount Lebanon Intelligence Branch, Brigadier Richard Helo.

Head of the Maronite League, Joseph Torbey, had been to Bkerki earlier today, for a meeting with Rahi over most recent developments on the local scene.



R.A.H.

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Politics - Aoun: we have national method in appointments, state projects
 

Tue 13/12/2011 18:44

NNA - 13/12/2011 - Deputy Michel Aoun said the Free Patriotic Movement (FPM) had its own national methods in public administrative appointments as well as the projects they overtake.

The FPM Leader's words came Tuesday in the wake of his Reform and Change Parliamentary Bloc's weekly meeting at his Rabieh residence.

The Bloc's head defied all those criticizing the FPM to find anything missing in the qualifications of FPM-backed persons filling administrative posts.

As to FPM's projects, they are typically national, said the General, noting that the electricity and water, whose ministerial duties were under FPM's, were a dire necessity for all citizens.

Asked about France's accusation against Syria of blasting the French UNIFIL contingent in Tyre last week, Aoun labeled such an accusation as regularly political since 2005.
A.M.

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Politics - Geagea: Hezbollah responsible for incidents in the South
 

Tue 13/12/2011 18:32


NNA - 13/12/2011 Lebanese Forces (LF) Head Samir Geagea held Hezbollah responsible for incidents taking place in the South, noting that security situation could not be set right except with the termination of the "magic spell" represented in "People, Army, Resistance" formula.
Geagea was speaking during a press conference he held Tuesday at his Maarab residence, where he dwelt on the current developments on the domestic scene.
"Hezbollah is responsible for all operations carried out against UNIFIL, either directly or indirectly," Geagea stressed, noting that the terrorist groups accused of carrying out these operations couldn't exist in the South without the knowledge or coverage of Hezbollah.
Geagea said the effective authority and security presence in the South are under the rule of Hezbollah.
The LF Leader also criticized the condemnation statements made by state officials in the wake of every incident, underlining that the duty of the Lebanese State should not only be confined to these statements but also to identify faults and address the main problem represented in "security zones".
 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Siniora, Palestinian diplomat meet
 

Tue 13/12/2011 18:07

NNA - 13/12/2011 - Head of Future parliamentary bloc, MP Fouad Siniora, on Tuesday tackled the current situation in Lebanon and the broader Arab region with Palestinian ambassador, Abdullah Abdullah.

The pair, who met at Siniora's office in Sadat Tower Building, also dwelled on the condition of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon.



R.A.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Release of collaborators draws Sahili's ire
 

Tue 13/12/2011 18:04

NNA - 13/12/2011 - Hezbollah Deputy Nawwar Sahili on Tuesday said the release of persons condemned for collaboration with Israel was an unprecedented act by the highest judiciary instance.

Judge Alice Shabtini, President of the Military Cassation Court, last week ordered to release four members of Al-Alam family, condemned for collaboration with the Israeli enemy, and sentenced to 5 to 15 years imprisonment.

"We are not usually entitled to broach judicial dossiers, interfere in an inquiry, or comment any verdict, but what happened a few days ago is a very dangerous first," said the Loyalty to the Resistance bloc member.

"We have visited Tuesday Minister of Justice, Shakib Qortbawi, and State Prosecutor Saeed Mirza, who presides over general prosecutions and who, according to the Lebanese law, is on top of the judicial hierarchy. These two officials have couched to newspapers their rebuke over what happened," he added.

"From a legal viewpoint, the release of any person before revoking the verdict is normal, and when a court accepts to repeal a criminal or military court's verdict, it can thus order release. But when the affair is that of persons condemned for collaborating with Israel in 2000 (...), we then believe the matter is unusual and unprecedented," he expounded.

The Deputy said the affair was now placed in the hands of Justice Minister and State Prosecutor.



R.A.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Abu Faour sees UNIFIL-free South disagreeable
 

Tue 13/12/2011 16:27

NNA - 13/12/2011 - Minister of Social Affairs, Wael Abu Faour, on Tuesday said emptying South Lebanon from the international presence, in reference to the UN peacekeeping forces, was not in the interest of Lebanon.

A bomb ripped through a French contingent vehicle affiliated to the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon, last Friday, wounding five soldiers. This attack, which is the third against a UNIFIL patrol this year, earned sharp local and world condemnation and grew concerns over a French decision to downsize its contingent's strengths.

PSP Minister, who spoke following his signature today of a protocol on supporting the civil society in South Lebanon with French ambassador Denis Pietton representing the French state, did not fail to deplore the attack, reminding of Lebanon's need for the international presence in its South.

"The UNIFIL operates at the behest of Lebanon to protect the country from Israeli aggressions and we refuse that the South be an arena to send messages, whether regional or other," said Abu Faour.

"Implicating the South in adventures by emptying it from the international presence does not serve Lebanon's interest," he corroborated.

He added that the determination of France to maintain its strengths in South Lebanon was a positive message.



R.A.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - (UPDATED) Fletcher, Assarta meet Berri
 

Tue 13/12/2011 15:57


NNA - 13/12/2011 - House Speaker Nabih Berri met Tuesday the British Ambassador to Lebanon tom Fletcher with whom he tackled recent developments.

Berri later received the UNIFIL force Commander, Major-General Alberto Asarta, with talks touching on developments that took place lately in South Lebanon.
Speaking to journalists following the meeting, Berri reckoned that attempts to target UNIFIL indeed targeted the Army-Resistance-People trinity protecting Lebanon. "Statements are not enough. Instead, we have to work [together] as a people, army, and Resistance, in tandem with the UNIFIL," he said.
D.K./R.A.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved




 

Politics - Daoud lambasts government from Rabieh
 

Tue 13/12/2011 15:38


NNA - 13/12/2011 - Former Deputy Faysal Daoud on Tuesday told MP Michel Aoun that the current Mikati-led government only brought about predicament and debacle in the country.

Daoud had been today to Rabieh for a meeting with Aoun, Head of the Change and Reform parliamentary Bloc and Keserwan Deputy, over the performance of the incumbent government.

"The government must realize that the living condition is very critical; this is why it [government] must endeavor to mitigate the heavy burdens on citizens, amid the current jamming financial hardship," he said.



R.A.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Fletcher, Assarta meet Berri
 

Tue 13/12/2011 15:22

NNA - 13/12/2011 - House Speaker Nabih Berri met Tuesday the British Ambassador to Lebanon tom Fletcher with whom he tackled recent developments.

Berri later received the UNIFIL force Commander, Major-General Alberto Asarta, with talks touching on developments that took place lately in South Lebanon.
D.K.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Array of various affairs on Mikati's agenda today
 

Tue 13/12/2011 15:22

NNA - 13/12/2011 - Prime Minister Najib Mikati followed up on a wide-ranging array of affairs, with his itinerant visitors at the Grand Serail Tuesday.

He first met with Finance Minister Mohammad Safadi over the project law on 2012 state budget.

He later broached dossiers relevant to electricity and power sector with Minister of Energy and Water Resources, Gebran Bassil.

Moreover, most recent developments in Lebanon and the broader Arab region topped talks between PM Mikati and Head of Lebanese Democratic Party, MP Talal Arslan.

State Minister Marwan Kheireddine attended the meeting.

A delegation of Beirut Bar Association, headed by Nohad Jabr, had also been to the Grand Serail today, for a meeting with the Prime Minister over a spectrum of social, economic, and judicial affairs.



R.A.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Kabalan calls on cabinet to deal appropriately with vital affairs
 

Tue 13/12/2011 15:11

NNA - 13/12/2011 - The vice Head of the Islamic Shiite Supreme Council, Sheikh Abdel Amir Kabalan, called on the cabinet Tuesday to deal with the social and vital affairs properly.

He also incited the government to create further job opportunities in all regions, particularly in the rural areas, so as to put terms to unemployment.

In the same context, Sheikh Kabalan highlighted the importance of activating communication between productive sectors in Lebanon in order to reach adequate ways out for both employees and employers.

He finally noted that the state must assume its responsibilities fully so as to guarantee social stability for citizens.
D.K.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Gemayel from Bkirki: Imposing full authority over territories puts terms to security chaos
 

Tue 13/12/2011 15:00

NNA - 13/12/2011 - Maronite Patriarch Bechara Boutros Rahi received Tuesday Deputy Sami Gemayel who warned from the security chaos which can only be controlled as soon as the state imposes its authority all over the Lebanese territories.

The Deputy assured that security threat would remain as long as security zones persist.

"We stand by the Patriarch's side and put ourselves constantly at his disposal," he declared.

During his visit to Bkirki Patriarchate, Gemayel tackled with Rahi affairs related to the joint steps that ought to be taken by Christian leaderships at this stage, on top of which the meeting to be held Friday December 16 in Bkirki in presence of all the Maronite Deputies.

Gemayel hoped this meeting would pave the way for other joint projects to be conducted and agreed upon by Christians, among which the administrative decentralization and the electoral law.

Separately, Patriarch Rahi met with the French candidate of Lebanese origins, Patricia Smida, who briefed him on the details of her agenda.

Smida is a candidate for the French parliamentary elections and she will be representing the French expatriates residing in Africa and the Middle East.

Rahi blessed Smida's candidacy for what it holds of interest to the French and the Lebanese people and for what it reflects of the joint values they share.

Amongst Bkirki's visitors was also PM Gilberte Zwein with whom he tackled latest developments.

The Norwegian Ambassador to Lebanon, Svein Aass, has also paid a visit to Patriarch Rahi discussing with him bilateral ties.

Eventually, the Patriarch received a delegation of the "National Alliance to protect women from domestic violence" accompanied by a delegation of Kafa association, with talks featuring high on the law draft under study by the parliamentary committees so as to protect women from domestic violence.
D.K.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Suleiman praises regaining nationality draft endorsement
 

Tue 13/12/2011 13:58

NNA - 13/12/2011- President of the Republic Michel Suleiman stressed on the importance of regaining the Lebanese nationality draft endorsement , praising the step that the cabinet took yesterday (Monday).

The President considered that this issue is important and vital for Lebanon as mentioned in the Presidential oath, calling upon "the Parliament to approve it soon because it will strengthen political and economical ties of the Lebanese immigrants with their home country."

Among the president's activities on Tuesday, Suleiman discussed with Environment Minister Nazem El-Khoury the current issues and steps that the ministry is taking to preserve environment.

Suleiman also discussed with Former Deputy Prime Minister Elias El-Murr current political developments on the domestic and regional scenes and other important issues.

The President also met with Former Deputy Selim Diab and discussed with him general issues.

Moreover, the President met in Baabda with Paraguay Ambassador to Lebanon Hasan Khalil Dia who bid him farewell upon the end of his diplomatic mission in Lebanon.

In appreciation to the role that the Ambassador played in strengthening relations between the two countries, Suleiman presented him with the Presidential shield, wishing him success in his new mission.
 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Merehbi: South turned into base to launch messages
 

Tue 13/12/2011 13:07


NNA - 13/12/2011 - Deputy Mouhin Merehbi said that Lebanon and the south turned into a Syrian-Iranian base to launch messages and rockets.

The MP called on Hizbullah to uncover the identity of rockets launchers from south to north Israel.

Merehbi held "Hizbullah" responsible for firing rockets from the south since it controls the area.

"Launching rockets aims to say that "Hizbullah's" weapons are still a need to Lebanon", he added on Tuesday to "Future News".

On the other hand, the MP touched on the issue of Syrian refugees and said "we collect families from the street if they have no place to live in", calling on all sides who oppose this issue to receive Syrian refugees and present solutions.

A.A.M

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Jarrah: Kanaan exploits finance committee platform to launch fabrications
 

Tue 13/12/2011 12:42


NNA - 13/12/2011 - "Future" bloc member Jammal Jarrah accused Deputy Ibrahim Kanaan of exploiting of Finance Committee platform to attack a specific team or to launch fabrications against us.

"Kanaan is using Finance committee platform for political goals", the MP stressed on Tuesday in an interposition on LBC TV station.

A.A.M

NNA 2011 All rights reserved



 

Politics - Abi Nasr hails draft law to grant expatriates dual citizenship
 

Tue 13/12/2011 11:23

NNA - 13/12/2011 - Parliament member Naamtallah Abi Nasr thanked the cabinet for passing the draft law which allows Lebanese expatriates to have dual citizenship.

According to the law, Lebanese expatriates who were born abroad and only have the citizenship of the country of their birth would now be eligible to apply for Lebanese citizenship as well.

"Granting citizenship to expatriates of Lebanese origins is their natural right", he argued, calling upon the parliament to endorse this law which was fully approved by the cabinet.
D.K.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved



 

Politics - El-Khazen calls for activating cabinet's work
 

Tue 13/12/2011 11:03

NNA - 13/12/2011- Member of Parliament Farid El-Khazen said that "Reform and Change" bloc ministers have no intention to resign, underlining the need to activate the cabinet's work to secure citizens' demands.

Commenting on security worries through south borders, El-Khazen said, "there are some people who aim at creating an unstable security situation in the South," asking for more measures to protect security at this region.

However, he did not expect repeated security incidents to cause any disturbances in the south.

The MP explained to "Voice of Lebanon" radio station that " the Maronite summit which will be held coming Friday in Bkerki will discuss elections law to reach a common vision regarding this issue ."

El-Khazen pointed out to the possibility of tackling the situation in Syria and its effects on the Lebanon.

Although El-Khazen expected President of the Republic Michel Suleiman to participate in the summit, he believed that such a decision is up to the Patriarch and the President.

However, he denied the possibility of discussing the appointments file during the summit.

The MP confirmed that "communication between General Michel Aoun, Speaker of the Parliament Nabih Berri and Hizbullah Secretary General Al-Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah is going on to clarify certain ambiguous issues and further activate cabinet's work as a team," denying his knowledge that those leaders had held a meeting.

L.Y.R/N.AF

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Politics - Janjanian: South attacks prove that security squares are not enough
 

Tue 13/12/2011 10:27

NNA - 13/12/2011 - Deputy Chant Janjanian stressed that south attacks against UNIFIL proved that setting security squares are not enough and no one can provide protection for the Lebanese territories except legitimacy and the Lebanese army.

The MP described on Tuesday to "Voice of Lebanon" Freedom and Dignity radio the situation in the south as " a dangerous development", adding that the UNIFIL won't stay silent over such incidents.

"UNIFIL won't stay silent on the attack against the French contingent", the MP stressed, adding that talks on some strategic change is taking place for the work of these forces.

Finally, he said that the political messages from these attacks did not lead to any desired result, but stressed the commitment of the friendly states to Lebanon's stability and re-reading UNIFIL's strategic work.

A.A.M

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Majdalani blasts government for turning blind eye on illegal weapons
 

Tue 13/12/2011 10:22

NNA - 13/12/2011 - Member of Parliament Atef Majdalani said that the absence of an effective government has practically allowed Hezbollah to control the authority in Lebanon.

Speaking to Voice of Lebanon, the MP also feared that Lebanon will turn into an arena to send messages and settle scores, wondering when this episode will come to an end.

"There are some (factions) who want to use the language of the stick and the carrot with the international community. It seems that the power behind this government has ordered the funding of the international tribunal in order to keep a string with the international community," Majdalani argued.

He stressed that some factions are launching missiles attacks and plant bombs to provoke the UNIFIL forces in the south to force them to leave so it can stage an open war with Israel any time it wanted.

"It is not in the interest of the Lebanese to destabilize the security situation in the south. But apparently some groups insist on serving the interest of the Syrian regime to alleviate the pressure on Syria."

The MP said that March 14 forces has not decided yet if it plans to take part in the demonstrations and strikes of the labor unions who are protesting the high cost of living.

O.H

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Politics - Lebanese Democratic Party: Targeting French contingent is futile attempt
 

Tue 13/12/2011 09:56

NNA - 13/12/2011 - Lebanese Democratic Party Council held its weekly meeting chaired by Deputy Talal Arslan who condemned in a statement the attack against the French contingent in south Lebanon, considering it a futile attempt to expand confrontation with steadfastness forces.

The party warned in Tuesday's statement of any confrontation with the UNIFIL forces working in south Lebanon.

On the other hand, the party stressed the necessity to activate the cabinet's work and give priority to citizens, particularly livelihood issues, as well as to hold practical dialogue between the cabinet, labors, employees and employers.

A.A.M

NNA 2011 All rights reserved
 







 

Politics - Hezbollah doesn't orchestrate cabinet decisions, says Daouk
 

Mon 12/12/2011 23:43

NNA - 12/12/2011 - Information Minister Walid Daouk confirmed on Monday that Hezbollah was still an active member of the Lebanese government, ruling out allegations that the latter was practicing any sort of maneuvers - with STL funding - to amplify the Prime Minister's potency at the Muslim-Sunni level.

Minister Daouk's words came in an interview with "Future News" TV this evening which majorly focused on Lebanese domestic affairs.

"Mikati is well aware that Lebanon's major interest lies in funding the Special Tribunal for Lebanon STL," Daouk said. "It is not true that Hezbollah orchestrates [cabinet decisions], and that it runs all the games," he added, making clear that all sorts of matters were usually discussed by ministers who shared different convictions and voiced their opinions during cabinet sessions.

Touching on the heatedly debated arms issue, the Minister asserted that Hezbollah had made its strategic recalculation and was now fully convinced that arms should only be used against Lebanon's enemies, and not for internal purposes.

But Daouk also affirmed that the Lebanese state was not willing to accept anything that might tamper with the nation's best interest, "even if those behind it are Hezbollah members themselves."

He highly evaluated Prime Minister Najib Mikati, saying he is a strong man with personal convictions. "Mikati's strength is translated in his believe in dialogue," he said, noting that Hezbollah was willing to discuss the national defense strategy at the dialogue table.

Responding to a question on whether the Lebanese cabinet suffered any sort of disintegration from within, he said that the cabinet was in full harmony. "Today's cabinet session is the most evident proof, but MP Michel Aoun has his own way of dealing with matters. We are one united team at the current government," Daouk said, reminding that Aoun had never accused the Mikat-led cabinet of corruption.

As for the minimum wage hike issue, Daouk said that Minister Charbel Nahhas's project was being discussed, not to mention has a lot to be taken into consideration.
 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Undeterrable attacks against UNIFIL keep Lebanon exposed: Kataeb
 

Mon 12/12/2011 21:25

NNA - 12/12/2011 - Kataeb Party said on Monday that the undeterabble and recurring attacks targeting UNIFIL peacekeepers in South Lebanon were doomed to negatively influence the international public opinion regarding the situation in Lebanon. Not to mention the likelihood of leaving Lebanon fully exposed, once involved countries go back over resolution 1701 and the deployment of their forces in Lebanon.

Kataeb Party held its regular weekly session on Monday presided by Party Leader Amine Gemayel. Latest domestic and regional developments topped talks between party members.

"It is high time for the Lebanese government to make a final decision on whether it is committed to the implementation of international resolutions or not. If it decided to declare commitment to resolution 1701, then it should renounce its [recent] positions and suffice with the damage incurred thus far," a statement issued following the meeting read.

Moreover, and referring to Hezbollah, Party members wondered how South Lebanon could have an independent- armed entity, at the time that a joint UNIFIL and Lebanese Army power was deployed in South Lebanon.

Within this framework, conferees supported Maronite Patriarch Mar Bechara Boutros Rahi's call on the Lebanese government to limit arms ownership to the Lebanese state, and to leave defense and security related decisions up to the Lebanese political authority.

As for the wages hike issue, Kataeb considered this matter the latest act of governmental impotence. "It has opened the door wide open before a new crisis. The strike planned for next Thursday is the first translation to this problem."
R.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - (corrected) Hezbollah draws FPM reproach over wage increase
 

Mon 12/12/2011 19:57

NNA - 12/12/2011 - Member of Parliament Simon Abi Ramia on Monday told OTV channel that the Free Patriotic Movement rebuked its allies in the incumbent majority, forming the Mikati-led Cabinet lineup, mainly at the backdrop of a failure to pass a proposition on salaries increase by Labor Minister Charbel Nahhas.

The Cabinet Okayed a long-awaited wage increase decree Wednesday, rising minimum wage by LL100 000 to LL600 000, salaries under LL1 million by a 20% increase, and those over LL1 million by 30%. The decree was put forth upon Prime Minister Najib Mikati's proposition, an alternative to Nahhas's salary package, which fell short of ministers' support during last week's Cabinet session.
Most ministers favored Mikati's proposal while only the seven FPM ministers voted against it.

Abi Ramia, Member of the Change and Reform bloc and Jbeil Deputy, said [FPM] allies were not treading the Movement's reform-oriented track.

This backlash came one week after Hezbollah Secretary General, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, rekindled vows to uphold Michel Aoun's righteous and just claims of change and reform.

But the party's two ministers, Hussein Hajj Hassan and Mohammad Fneish, cast vote in favor of Mikati's proposal on a simmering spar over wages adjustment, an item which could have saddled the country with the biggest ever labor strike in mid-October. Laborers are however to take to the street on forthcoming December 27, as announced by the General Labor Confederation earlier today.

However, Abi Ramia reminded of the strategic alliance with Hezbollah, justifying disputes over minor items.

Hezbollah and FPM inked a memorandum of joint understanding in February 2006, in Mar Mkhayel Church. Both parties herein anchored agreement over ten items on dialogue, consensual democracy, electoral law, building the state, the missing during the war, Lebanese citizens in Israel, the security issue, Lebanese-Syrian relations, Lebanese-Palestinian relations, and protecting Lebanon and preserving its independence and sovereignty.

The Deputy revealed that the relation with Prime Minister Najib Mikati was unsound as both the Premier and FPM had different priorities.

The relation grew more bitter following a decision by Mikati on November 30 to pay Lebanon's thirty-two-million USD portion of funding the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, a UN-backed court probing the 2005 assassination of statesman Rafik Hariri and totally rejected by FPM and its allies over illegality, unconstitutionality, and fishy performance.

Besides, Abi Ramia strongly condemned a statement by France's Alain Juppe on Syria's involvement in an attack on the French contingent of UNIFIL near the southern city of Tyre Friday.

The French Foreign Minister said Sunday that Syria was behind the blast.




R.A.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Hezbollah draws FPM reproach over wage increase
 

Mon 12/12/2011 19:38

NNA - 12/12/2011 - Member of Parliament Simon Abi Ramia on Monday told OTV channel that the Free Patriotic Movement rebuked its allies in the incumbent majority, forming the Mikati-led Cabinet lineup, mainly at the backdrop of a failure to pass a proposition on salaries increase by Labor Minister Charbel Nahhas.

The Cabinet Okayed a long-awaited wage increase decree Wednesday, rising minimum wage by LL100 000 to LL600 000, salaries under LL1 million by a 20% increase, and those over LL1 million by 30%. The decree was put forth upon Prime Minister Najib Mikati's proposition, an alternative to Nahhas's salary package, which fell short of ministers' support during last week's Cabinet session.
Most ministers favored Mikati's proposal while only the seven FPM minister voted against it.

Abi Ramia, Member of the Change and Reform bloc and Jbeil Deputy, said [FPM] allies were not treading the Movement's reform-oriented track.

This backlash came one week after Hezbollah Secretary General, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, rekindled vows to uphold Michel Aoun's righteous and just claims of change and reform.

But the party's two ministers, Hussein Hajj Hassan and Mohammad Fneish, cast vote in favor of Mikati's proposal on a simmering spar over wages adjustment, an item which could have saddled the country with the biggest ever labor strike in mid-October. Laborers are however to take to the street on forthcoming December 27, as announced by the General Labor Confederation earlier today.

However, Abi Ramia reminded of the strategic alliance with Hezbollah, justifying disputes over minor items.

Hezbollah and FPM inked a memorandum of joint understanding in February 2006, in Mar Mkhayel Church. Both parties herein anchored agreement over ten items on dialogue, consensual democracy, electoral law, building the state, the missing during the war, Lebanese citizens in Israel, the security issue, Lebanese-Syrian relations, Lebanese-Palestinian relations, and protecting Lebanon and preserving its independence and sovereignty.

The Deputy revealed that the relation with Prime Minister Najib Mikati was unsound as both the Premier and FPM had different priorities.

The relation grew more bitter following a decision by Mikati on November 30 to pay Lebanon's thirty-two-million USD portion of funding the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, a UN-backed court probing the 2005 assassination of statesman Rafik Hariri and totally rejected by FPM and its allies over illegality, unconstitutionality, and fishy performance.

Besides, Abi Ramia strongly condemned a statement by France's Alain Juppe on Syria's involvement in an attack on the French contingent of UNIFIL near the southern city of Tyre Friday.

The French Foreign Minister said Sunday that Syria was behind the blast.




R.A.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Cabinet meets in session at Baabda
 

Mon 12/12/2011 19:12

NNA - 12/12/2011 The Cabinet is currently convening at Baabda Presidential Palace, to look into items on its agenda including parliamentary electoral law, nationality recuperation and Constitutional Council powers' amendment.
The Cabinet session is presided over by President Michel Sleiman, and attended by Prime Minister Najib Mikati and Cabinet ministers.
Opening up Monday session, Sleiman briefed the Cabinet on the outcome of his recent visit to Armenia and his meetings with senior Armenian officials.
Talks also dwelt on the situation in south Lebanon in light of the terrorist attack against UNIFIL and the rocket firing.
The session was preceded by a closed meeting between Sleiman and Mikati where they tackled the latest developments on the local arena.
-------------L.Y

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Hezbollah deprecates Juppe's stance
 

Mon 12/12/2011 18:48

NNA - 12/12/2011 - Hezbollah fervidly condemned on Monday the French Foreign Minister's accusations leveled against Syria and Hezbollah accusing both sides of mastering the attack which targeted UNIFIL peace keepers on Friday.

A roadside bomb wounded five French peacekeepers in Southern Lebanon on Friday, in the third attack this year on United Nations forces deployed near the frontier with occupied Palestine.

"France's Foreign Minister Alain Juppe leveled clear accusations against Syria and Hezbollah, at the time that he himself admitted of lacking access to tangible evidence that prove his indictment valid," a Hezbollah statement read.

The statement also urged Juppe to set his stance right, especially looking at the grave danger this whole issue carries behind.

"We utterly refuse such accusations, which do us sheer injustice."
R.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Tenenti: Israel breaches 1701 by aerial hovering over UN operation zone
 

Mon 12/12/2011 18:44

NNA - 12/12/2011 - The UN official spokesman Andrew Tenanti said on Monday the UNIFIL detected Israeli flights over UNIFIL's operation zone in the south, violating as such UN Security Council resolution 1701 as well as Lebanon's sovereignty.

Israel's performance augments local fears and opposes UNIFIL's efforts to reduce tension in Lebanon and to anchor stability, said the spokesman.

A.M>
 

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Politics - Siniora: STL to try culprits involved in assassination crimes
 

Mon 12/12/2011 18:36

NNA - 12/12/2011 Former Prime Minister Fouad Siniora said that the aim of Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) is to try culprits involved in assassination crimes, rather than a certain sect or party.
Siniora was speaking in the wake of a visit to Sayyid Ali Fadlallah, on top of a delegation of "Future Movement" on Monday.
STL is a UN-backed court probing the assasination crime of late statesman Rafic Hariri and other related crimes.
Siniora and Fadlallah tackled the current developments in Lebanon in light of challenges facing the nation and regional impact on it, Fadlallah Media Bureau said in a statement.
Siniora underlined the importance of unity among the Lebanese, urging them to work all together for the sake of consecrating national accord, peace, stability and justice in Lebanon.
Fadlallah, for his part, stressed priority for maintaining Islamic unity in the Country, and aborting all attempts to incite strife amongst Muslims, Shiites and Sunnis.
Fadlallah also urged all on the Islamic scene to work towards a serious dialogue over all proposed matters.

----------------L.Y
Politics - Siniora: STL to try culprits involved in assassination crimes
NNA - 12/12/2011 Former Prime Minister Fouad Siniora said that the aim of Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) is to try culprits involved in assassination crimes, rather than a certain sect or party.
Siniora was speaking in the wake of a visit to Sayyid Ali Fadlallah, on top of a delegation of "Future Movement" on Monday.
Siniora and Fadlallah tackled the current developments in Lebanon in light of challenges facing the nation and regional impact on it, Fadlallah Media Bureau said in a statement.
Siniora underlined the importance of unity among the Lebanese, urging them to work all together for the sake of consecrating national accord, peace, stability and justice in Lebanon.
Fadlallah, for his part, stressed priority for maintaining Islamic unity in the Country, and aborting all attempts to incite strife amongst Muslims, Shiites and Sunnis.
Fadlallah also urged all on the Islamic scene to work towards a serious dialogue over all proposed matters.
----------------L.Y

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Jumblatt: Mikati passes STL funding to preserve stability
 

Mon 12/12/2011 18:22

NNA - 12/12/2011 - Deputy Walid Jumblatt said Prime Minister Najib Mikati was capable of passing the funding of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon so as to safeguard local stability.

Jumlatt's stance came on Monday in the context of a speech delivered during a ceremony for the Progressive Socialist Party.

Jumblatt said the funding step was so important. "The STL is on course despite our understanding and appreciation of the reservations of some in this concern."

PSP leader commented on recent Tyre blast against the UNIFIL, saying there were some on the local, regional, Arab and international levels who wanted to oust said force from Lebanon in order to re-stir confrontations that might be a sort of warfare. And the recent rocket-launching operation had been a dangerous message in this concern, Jumblatt deduced.

Jumblatt added he didn't feel any repentance for his political stance shift as he would always seek to avert any strife at the arena.
 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Matar, Connelly meet
 

Mon 12/12/2011 17:46

NNA - 12/12/2011 - Beirut Maronite Archbishop Boulos Matar on Monday met with US ambassador Maura Connelly over most recent developments in Lebanon and the broader Arab region.

Talks also broached the situation of Christians in the East.


R.A.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - UNIFIL commander condemns rocket fire from South Lebanon
 

Mon 12/12/2011 17:43

NNA - 12/12/2011 - The United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon on Monday issued the following press release:

"On Sunday 11 December at around 11 pm UNIFIL radars detected firing of one rocket from the general area of Qaissiyeh valley. The rocket impacted on a private home in the village of Houla in southern Lebanon causing serious injuries to a woman.
There has been no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack.
UNIFIL is currently investigating on the ground to determine the facts and circumstances of the incident as well as to locate the launching site of the rocket fire.
UNIFIL Force Commander Major-General Alberto Asarta Cuevas strongly condemned the rocket attack and expressed serious concern at the recent escalation of incidents involving serious security breaches in southern Lebanon.
The Force Commander said: "This is the third incident involving serious security breaches south of the Litani river in a period of two weeks. These instances show that despite all our efforts there continue to be weapons and hostile armed elements ready to use them within our area of operations."
"One of the most important provisions of UN Security Council resolution 1701 is to ensure that there are no armed personnel, assets and weapons other than those of the Government of Lebanon and of UNIFIL in the area between the Blue Line and the Litani River."
"Resolution 1701 clearly stipulates that it is the responsibility of the Lebanese government to implement this decision whereas UNIFIL is mandated to assist the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) in this regard. We have excellent cooperation with the LAF who are our strategic partners on the ground. We remain committed to extend all necessary support to LAF and we will do everything possible within our capabilities and scope of our mandate to assist LAF in this endeavour."
"There is clearly a need for further enhancing security control in the area. Recent efforts by certain elements have been directed at destabilizing the area and we simply cannot allow such acts of violence that endanger the safety of the local population and the security of southern Lebanon."
"I have discussed further steps with the LAF Commander Gen. Kahwagi in our meeting in Naqoura today and he shares my concerns. We are taking concrete measures together with the LAF to further reinforce security across our area of operations while efforts continue to identify and apprehend the perpetrators of these attacks."

 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Qahwaji: Blast against UNIFIL tantamount to assault on Army
 

Mon 12/12/2011 17:06

NNA - 12/12/2011 Army Commander General Jean Qahwaji said that the recent terrorist blast against UNIFIL in Tyre and the rocket-firing incidents were tantamount to an "assault against the Army and the Lebanese State" and apparently aimed against stability in the South.
General Qahwaji visited Monday morning United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) headquarters in Naqoura, where he met with its Commander General Alberto Asarta and a number of senior UNIFIL officers. Talks touched on the recent security situation at the southern borders and means of bolstering joint measures to reinforce stability in these areas and protect the movement of military units.
"Such terrorist acts shall not deter the Army from implementing UN Resolution 1701 and ensuring security to citizens in full coordination with UNIFIL", General Qahwaji said, stressing that maximum efforts are being exerted to unveil the identity of attacks' perpetrators and those who stand behind them.
Qahwaji then visited French UNIFIL Contingent headquarters in the southern town of Deir Keefa and met with its Commander Sedric De Gardan and senior officers. Qahwaji also visited French peacekeepers that were wounded in the recent Tyre explosion, lauding their sacrifices and wishing them speedy recovery.
--------------L.Y

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Mikati opens Tripoli economic workshop, receives visitors
 

Mon 12/12/2011 16:20

NNA - 12/12/2011 - Prime Minister Najib Mikati opened on Monday at the Grand Serail a workshop on Tripoli special economic zone, which was formed in accordance with a decree issued by the House Parliament.

Mikati said Tripoli's economic zone project aimed at facing the main economic and social challenges which Lebanon in general, and Tripoli in specific, witnessed at the level of unemployment and social marginalization. The project, Mikati added, focused on enhancing the economic capabilities of the region.

Separately, Mikati patronized the signature of an agreement between the Lebanese and the Italian governments on the level of boosting the religious tourism sector.
The agreement was signed between the Tourism Minister Fady Abboud and the Italian Ambassador Giuseppe Morabito.

On the other hand, the Premier received at the Grand Serail Deputy Boutros Harb and reviewed with him overall developments at the local and regional scenes. Harb stressed the necessity of disassociating the judicial authority from political disputes.

Among the Grand Serail's other visitors for today have been Former Deputy Jihad Samad and others.

A.M.

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Politics - Sleiman, Mikati meet prior to Cabinet session
 

Mon 12/12/2011 16:14

NNA - 12/12/2011 Prior to holding Cabinet session Monday, President of the Republic General Michel Sleiman met at Baabda Palace with Prime Minister Najib Mikati, where they tackled the latest developments.
The Cabinet looks into electoral project law, in addition to stringent issues in need of suitable decisions.
 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Lebanon, Oman Sultanate to bolster ties over social items
 

Mon 12/12/2011 15:24

NNA - 12/12/2011 - Minister of Social Affairs, Wael Abu Faour, and his Omani counterpart, Sheikh Mohammad Ben Saeed kalbani, on Monday agreed to boost cooperation over social rehabilitation and people with special needs.

The pair today inked a two-pronged memorandum of understanding also touching on an array of affairs related to households, children, women, and illiteracy.

Abu Faour underlined that Lebanon had always assumed a pioneering role and launched initiatives to boost joint Arab work.



R.A.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Palestinian Democratic Front Conference inauguration
 

Mon 12/12/2011 15:16

NNA - 12/12/2011 The Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine in Lebanon Monday opened its eleventh conference - "Martyrs and the return to the state Conference" - at the Palestinian cultural center in south Lebanon and under the patronage of House Speaker Nabih Berri, represented by MP Ali Khreiss.

Loyalty to the Resistance member MP Nawwaf Moussawi, Palestinian Social Affairs Minister, Palestinian Consul representing his country's Ambassador as well as other Lebanese parties' representatives partook in the event.

Khreiss hailed in his word "the Democratic Front's role to end schism in Palestine", and stressed the need "to review the humanitarian and social situation of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon and to give them their rights."

"We must all support the Palestinian right to return in favor of Lebanon and Palestine," he remarked.

MP Nawaf Moussawi, in turn, said that "the Palestinian cause should be a priority in Arab revolutions."

He also stressed the importance of ending the inter-Palestinian quarrels so that they would be capable of confronting enemy's aggressions in occupied lands.

"The activities of the Palestinian resistance in Lebanon should be legitimate in order to have the people be able to return home," he corroborated.

As for his part, Member of the Democratic Front's political bureau, Faysal Ali, called for "establishing a formal dialogue between Lebanon and the PLO to organize the Lebanese-Palestinian relations on political, social and legal levels, and to grant Palestinians in Lebanon humanitarian rights.

L.W.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Qahwaji meets Harston, Zeidan
 

Mon 12/12/2011 15:06

NNA - 12/12/2011 - Lebanese Army Chief, General Jean Qahwaji, on Monday met with UN Envoy, Julian Harston, over the situation along southern borders and affairs related to the task of the UN peacekeeping force in Lebanon.

Qahwaji later met with Liban Lait chairman, Ahmed Zeidan, who highly estimated the endeavors of the military to release him, after days of captivity in Bekaa.

Zeidan was abducted last Wednesday in Hosh Snid, Bekaa.



R.A.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics- Berri receives invitation to Islamic Parliaments Union Conference in Indonesia
 

Mon 12/12/2011 14:43

NNA - 12/12/2011- Speaker of the Parliament Nabih Berri met with an Indonesian Parliamentary delegation presided by the Indonesian Speaker first deputy Locman Hakim Saifeddine and the Indonesian Speaker second deputy Ahmad Ferhan Hamed, who presented him with an invitation to attend the Islamic Parliaments Union Conference in Indonesia.

Following the meeting, Saifeddine said that the visit was to develop relations between the Parliaments of the two countries and to thank him (Berri) for sending two Lebanese Deputies to attend the democracy conference which was held in Baly few days ago.

He added, the visit is to give an additional incentive to the Indonesian forces affiliated with the UNIFIL in the South.

Responding to a question about the date of the conference, he said that it would last from 24 to 31 January, pointing out that Speaker Berri promised them to attend it.

Separately, Berri met with the new Greek Ambassador Catherine Borra in a protocol visit in presence of Foreign Affairs Official in Amal movement former Minister Talal Sahili.

L.Y.R/N.AF

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Ghosn, Morabito meet
 

Mon 12/12/2011 14:30

NNA - 12/12/2011 Defense Minister Fayez Ghosn tackled Monday major domestic and regional developments during his meeting with the Italian Ambassador to Lebanon Giuseppe Morabito.

Both men also engaged in talks concerning the recent attack against UNIFIL French patrol.
Ghosn uttered stern disapproval of such an act and said it will not affect ongoing cooperation between UNIFIL and Lebanon.


L.W.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Suleiman activities on Monday
 

Mon 12/12/2011 14:00

NNA - 12/12/2011- President of the Republic Michel Suleiman chairs today (Monday) afternoon at the Presidential Palace in Baabda the cabinet's session assigned to continue studying the parliamentary elections law draft.

Separately, the President met with Municipalities and Interior Minister Marwan Charbel who briefed him on security issues in Lebanon. Suleiman requested from Charbel to ask "security forces to intensify their efforts to preserve security and stability especially in the season's period ...to prevent any security incidents, arrest perpetrators and refer them to concerned justice."

Suleiman also discussed with Member of Parliament Boutros Harb current security developments on both domestic and regional scenes.

Moreover, the President discussed current issues on the domestic scene with both former ministers Mona Afeich and Youssef Saad�.

In addition, Suleiman met with the candidate for French elections, Patricia Elias Smida of Lebanese origin, accompanied with a delegate of her electoral campaign.

Smida explained to the president her objectives of her candidacy, especially that it is the first time at which residential French people are elected as deputies, according to the constitutional amendment which took place in 2008.

In turn, Suleiman wished Smida good luck, pointing out that this "will also strengthen Lebanese-French ties mainly on the parliamentary level cooperation."

Separately, the president met with Independence Movement head , Michel Mouawad, who thanked him for sending a representative to attend the annual mass on the commemoration of the assassination of late President Ren�e Mouawad.

L.Y.R/N.AF
 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Zahra highlights democratic diversity
 

Mon 12/12/2011 13:54

NNA - 12/12/2011 MP Antoine Zahra Monday said democratic diversity bears major importance and ought to be preserved in Lebanon.

Zahra placed significance on anchoring Lebanese citizens in their land, especially Christians, so as to maintain diversity mainly after forced displacement Christian citizens were subject to.

During his patronage to the "Society steadfastness before threats" conference Zahra said immigration issue wouldn't have been significant if it wasn't preliminary for emigration from Lebanon that has been, in turn, transformed into a visiting center.


L.W.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Hariri congratulates Prince Salman
 

Mon 12/12/2011 12:42

NNA - 12/12/2011 - Saudi Defense Minister Prince Salman bin Abdul Aziz received on Monday at his office in Maader, former Prime Minister Saad Hariri, who congratulated him on the royal trust in his appointment as Defense Minister.
 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Ogassapian: incidents in south message to international society
 

Mon 12/12/2011 12:34

NNA - 12/12/2011- Member of Parliament(MP) Jean Ogassapian said that the incidents that took place in the south recently, launching rockets towards Israel and attacking the UNIFIL French contingent, affect negatively stability in Lebanon; pointing out that those incidents are a message to the international commuity that says that Lebanon is still an arena to settle scores.

Ogassapian said "those incidents are a proof of diplomatic warnings that resulted from the situation in Syria and the escalation of the Arab and International pressure on the Syrian regime," indicating that France had expressed its worries that incidents in Syria would reflect on the UNIFIL's safety.

He added that French Foreign Minister Alain Jupp�'s words yesterday (Sunday) were clear as he blamed Syria for the attack against the French contingent affiliated with the UNIFIL.

The MP considered that the rocket which fell at night on Hoola village in the South came as a direct response to the French stand.

He added that those incidents came in line with security chaos in view of government laxity.

The MP confirmed that Maronite Patriarch Bechara Boutros Rai's warning yesterday (Sunday) came in place and the Lebanese government had to be more efficient on the security level domestically, on the borders with Syria and the region on which resolution 1701 should be applied.

Ogassapian assured that the wage increase led to increase in prices before citizens benefited of it.

The MP was astonished over "Hizbullah's approval on the wage increase decision in the cabinet, while nowadays they support the demands of those who reject this increase."

L.Y.R/N.AF

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Mousawi: Aggression on Lebanon won't be piece of cake
 

Mon 12/12/2011 12:25

NNA - Loyalty to the Resistance MP Nawaf al Mousawi assured that any future aggression on Lebanon will not be an easy choice for any Israeli official who desire to achieve strategic or personal gains from such an attack.

Speaking in the town of Zabkin in the south, the MP said that the mounting capabilities of the resistance which led to the creation of a new situation have made it very difficult for Israel to contemplate any attack on the country.

He stressed that any Israeli attack on the Lebanon will be tantamount to a suicide operation.

"The resistance has full confidence in Nasrallah, its people, army and resistance," Mouswai said, ridiculing the notion that toppling the Syrian regime would weaken Hezbollah and lose a strategic ally.

He noticed that some speeches by some Lebanese politicians are almost identical to those delivered by Israeli officials and especially when it comes to prediction of the collapse of the Syrian regime.

"It's not a surprise that Israel targets the resistance's communication network and this goal is apparently shared by some Lebanese groups," the MP stressed.

He argued that the main reason to target Syria is to destroy and dismantle the Syrian armed forces and make it incapable of confronting the Israeli army.

The MP called on some sides in Lebanon not to wager on the United States because Washington is currently weak economically, politically and even militarily.

O.H

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics- Mokbel denies his convoy offended any person
 

Mon 12/12/2011 11:12

NNA - 12/12/2011- Deputy of Prime Minister Samir Mokbel denied that his convoy offended the protesters who were involved in a sit-in in front of the Central Bank of Lebanon.

It is worth noting that a group of people held a sit-in on Saturday (10/12/2011) in front of the Central Bank of Lebanon to protest against the unjust wage increase which the cabinet approved recently.

Mokbel information bureau explained in a statement issued today (Monday) that "the deputy of Prime Minister Samir Mokbel denies some media reports which claimed that his convoy was involved in the clashes with the protesters in front of the Central Bank of Lebanon."

"He (Mokbel) is astonished over embroiling his name in this cheap media warngling which does not serve anybody," The statement concluded.

L.Y.R/N.AF

NNA 2011 All rights reserved







 

Politics - Sabounjian backs salaries' adjustment project
 

Mon 12/12/2011 10:59

NNA - 12/12/2011 - Industry Minister Freij Sabounjian said Monday that his support to Premier Mikati's proposal regarding salaries' adjustment was in favor of all laborers and reflects his own convictions.

Minister Sabounjian told Voice of Lebanon- Freedom and Dignity- radio that the project Minister Charbel Nahhas has proposed needs time to be well thought-out.

"We are not capable of adopting such an integral project within solely one session, " he remarked.


L.W.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Abboud: No strategic disputes with Change and Reform bloc's allies
 

Mon 12/12/2011 10:54

NNA - 12/12/2011 - Tourism Minister Fadi Abboud stressed that no strategic disagreements between Change and Reform bloc and its allies.

Abboud said that it is normal to see attempts from some sides to put hurdles to "slow down our speed in the issue of reform and corruption, adding we are not convinced to slow down our speed".

Abboud described on Monday to "Voice of Lebanon" Freedom and Dignity radio the situation in Lebanon as "excellent", adding that all sides are working to keep the situation stable and good, calling for cooperation among all parties.

A.A.M

NNA 2011 All rights reserved

 

 


Politics - Nahhas suggests government may offer perks before New Year
 

Mon 12/12/2011 10:26

NNA - 12/12/2011 - Economy and Trade Minister Nicolas Nahhas told Voice of Lebanon on Monday that the government of Prime Minister Najib Mikati is seriously contemplating offering some additional packages as a present before New Year eve.

"There are deliberations between the prime minister and the concerned parties on amending the salaries and we are also studying the possibility of offering new packages to the citizens before New Year eve," Nahhas said.

He added that there are also discussions to offer new services and assistance to contemplate the decision to raise the salaries,

Asked if the government is ready to subsidize gas oil and remove the VAT on gasoline, the minister said no final decision on this aspect has been taken yet because the cabinet will assess if this action will have any impact on the finances of the treasury.

He stressed that the government has no desire to raise the budget deficit or increase inflation because this could erode the purchasing power of the citizens and especially the middle and poor classes.

"Any increase (in wages) will lose its value of inflation jumped," Nahhas explained.

Nahhas added that the government has not decided yet if it will go ahead with Finance Minister Mohammed Safadi to raise the value added tax from 10 percent to 12 percent.

O.H

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Meqati calls for activating the economic and trade cycle
 

Sun 11/12/2011 21:07

NNA - 11/12/2011 - Marking the festive season occasion, Prime Minister, Najib Meqati, paid a visit Sunday evening to Beirut's Central District. Meqati toured the various shopping streets and squares located in Downtown Beirut, accompanied by Cabinet Ministers Fadi Abboud, Ncoulas Nahhas, Walid Daouk, Marwan Kheireddine and Freij Sabounjian. "Solidere" Director General, Mounir Doueidy, and a number of businessmen also accompanied the Prime Minister during his tour.
Meqati had a closer look at the activities taking place in the area. He also had the chance to exchange talk with shop owners over sales' rates during the festive season, and exchanged comments and photographs with people passing by.
Meqati expressed his great content for touring the heart of Beirut; a place which provides "a haven of joy and a livelihood meeting place" for citizens from all over Lebanon, he noted. He also revealed his optimism at the feedback he received from shop owners regarding the promising sales' rates during the holiday season.
Meqati voiced a word of appreciation and encouragement to all those behind such important trade projects within Beirut's Central District, and vowed to pay similar visits to other trade centers in various Lebanese areas. He urged all people, especially politicians, to cooperate together for the sake of preserving stability in the country and work on solving all prevailing problems in a spirit of kindness and consensus. Meqati also highlighted the great need for activating the economic and trade cycle in the country.
R.Sh.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Tenenti: Investigations over Tyre's explosion continue
 

Sun 11/12/2011 20:16

NNA - 11/12/2011 - UNIFIL Official Deputy Spokesman, Andrea Tenenti, disclosed Sunday that investigations into the attack against the French soldiers East of Tyre are still underway, in coordination with the Lebanese Army. He hoped that the investigating committee handling the matter will be able to achieve tangible progress in this respect; especially in determining the side behind said attack.
Tenenti also indicated that further precaution measures have been adopted by the UNIFIL, so as to preserve the safety and security of soldiers and civilians operating within the peace-keeping forces. He stressed, herein, that the security and well-being of everyone operating within UNIFIL is a priority to the United Nations.
Furthermore, Tenenti assured that the UNIFIL has not been informed of any decrease in the number of the French Contingent's soldiers. He added that all participating countries within the UNIFIL have reiterated several times their commitment to their mission within the framework of the UN Resolution #1701.
R.Sh.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Hashem calls for widening the circle of dialogue
 

Sun 11/12/2011 19:52

NNA - 11/12/2011 - MP Kassem Hashem called Sunday for widening the circle of dialogue and understanding over national issues, so as to confront the dangers surrounding the nation and the region.
Hashem referred to the recent visit by US Secretary of State's Aid, Jeffery Feltman, as aiming towards shaking stability in the region to the benefit of the Israeli enemy. He also noted that the actual aim behind the incidents in Syria is not reform and democracy but hittng the largest Arab region that supports the resistance's movements, especially in Lebanon. He warned, herein, that Lebanon shall not remain preserved, away from repercussions of negative developments in Syria, for it is not an isolated island; hence, it is prone to be influenced by its Arab surrounding, he noted.
Hashem stressed that at this phase, the Lebanese are in dire need of their true unity and unified internal national stand. He added that national responsibility entails that all Lebanese remain alert and wise in their manner of dealing with arising events and developments surrounding their nation.
MP Hashem's words came during a memorial ceremony held in the town of Debine in the Casa of Marj'Ayoun-South Lebanon.
R.Sh.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Ain Tineh itinerants; Ahmad Zaydan Affair
 

Sun 11/12/2011 17:12

NNA - 11/12/2011 - Head of the Liban Lait factory, Ahmad Zeidan, who was released from captivity by the Lebanese military early today, saw House Speaker Nabih Berri at Ain Tineh to brief him over circumstances surrounding his kidnapping by unknown gunmen last Wednesday.

Accompanying Zeidan to Ain Tineh were local Amal officials from the Bekaa and leading family members.

Berri, who commended the release of Ahmad Zeidan without paying any ransom, spoke about attempts to tarnish the reputation of certain Bekaa localities by portraying them as criminal hideouts.

The truth of the matter, the Speaker exclaimed, is that those villages are full of honorable straightforward people. He disclosed having requested Zeidan entrepreneurs to double their investment in the Bekaa because by undertaking such activities, one can confront such negative situations.

It is to note that the Speaker has been instrumental in securing the release of Zeidan; he conducted overnight intense contacts with army and security to that end.

Zeidan's brother, who thanked Berri for his efforts, denied paying any ransom to the kidnappers.

On his slight injuries, Ahmad Zeidan told the press that they were incurred during his rescue by the army and that a firefight ensued between his captors and soldiers.

Berri accused organized criminals of mounting the kidnapping but exonerated clansmen of the Bekaa as man of honor.


G.G./P.BC.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Social steadfastness contra challenges
 

Sun 11/12/2011 16:06

NNA - 11/12/2011 - Leading March 14 parliamentarian of the Lebanese Forces, Antoine Zahra expressed support for Lebanese citizens at large and Christians in particular contra challenges facing them in their land and livelihood as he said.

Speaking at the inauguration of the conference for "Social Steadfastness vis-�-vis Challenges" at Le Royal Hotel, Dbayeh, Zahra spoke about aggravating threats and challenges facing Lebanese society as a whole and the Christian community in particular.

His audiences were mainly leading March 14 figures including deputy House Speaker, Farid Makari, media and business magnets.

Journalist Simon Abou Fadel, in charge of "world online" website (Alkalima online) welcomed participants and spoke about what he termed as a message of peace to the east. He posed as the inheritor of renaissance and pluralism against the backdrop of the right for steadfastness, solidarity and the right to differ with the other.

Taking the word in the first symposium, Deputy Speaker of the House Farid Makari warned against upcoming appointments especially to the Lebanese court system becoming manipulated by inside or outside influences. He thus stressed need for autonomy of the judicial system such that it functions independently and out of control.

He underscored that combating corruption would be impossible neither through what he termed mere demagogic sloganeering nor with trading and counter-trading of accusations for mere narrow political purposes.

Makari said the newly-passed wages' law must be studied in depth and added a note of confidence in Lebanese business community. For him, Hariri-style business venture was the best for Lebanon even though unfortunately blocked by the lack of atmospheres conducive to investment against the backdrop of total absence of the state.

He concluded that nation-building constitutes the sole guarantee and that must be bolstered in the face of all parallel powers countering it.

G.G./P.BC.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Hajj Hassan: unsatisfactory minimum wage
 

Sun 11/12/2011 15:35

NNA - 11/12/2011 - Agriculture Minister, Hussein Hajj Hasan, expressed non-satisfaction at lower wages passed by the cabinet.

Addressing Union Syndicate and Merchant Associations' representatives at his Ministry office, Minister Hajj Hasan reiterated support for the law project advanced by his colleague Charbel Nahas, even though it was not put to cabinet vote.

The Minister added that lower wages passed by the government was totally unsatisfactory because it failed to address soaring living conditions. The Minister perceived no distinction between his own approach and that of the Aounist cabinet ministers.

He added that Hizbullah-Aounist coalition inside and outside the cabinet would continue unabated.

Hajj Hasan disclosed that government-sponsored diesel oil would feature high on cabinet sessions' agenda and that the only thing missing so far deals with special mechanisms to see to them through. He urged business bosses and workers to discuss ways out of the crises and that the government finds itself ready to play the middleman's role.

He accused certain monopolies of hiding diesel oil to prop up undesired price hikes.

G.G./P.BC.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Moussawi urges cabinet take action against US embassy, confirms allegiance to Aoun
 

Sun 11/12/2011 15:19

NNA - 11/12/2011 MP Nawaf Moussawi asserted Sunday the unwavering alliance with Aoun's Bloc, and called upon cabinet to take security measures against U.S. embassy's espionage activities.

Hezbollah claimed Saturday that CIA agents were operating from U.S. embassy. The website of the Islamic Resistance reported that the CIA station was located permanently in one of the embassy's buildings, where the mentioned station holds the management and operation of wide networks of informers deployed on Lebanese territories in various political, social, health, educational, security and military sectors.

"It has become mandatory for security apparatuses to actively combat espionage, and list American intelligence as hostile [against the country]," said Loyalty to the Resistance Bloc MP. He accused the US of spying for the sake of the Israeli enemy.

"Whoever tampers with the capabilities of the Resistance is an accomplice in hastening the war against Lebanon," Moussawi claimed that the growing supremacy of Hezbollah kept this war at bay.

Touching on political alliances domestically, Moussawi asserted that the coalition with MP Michel Aoun's Free Patriotic Movement was there for the long haul.

R.Z.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Justice Minister stressing autonomy of judicial system
 

Sun 11/12/2011 15:14

NNA - 11/12/2011 - Minister of Justice, Shakib Qortbawi, stressed the autonomy of the Lebanese judicial system vis-a-vis inappropriate interventions in a public statement issued today. He predicated the guarantee of the interest of all Lebanese on such an autonomy and added that the judicial process must remain divorced from polarizations and debates.

He duly urged all politicians to desist from dealing with relevant judicial files outside the courts and that judges and magistrates must do the same. The Minister also pleaded with mainstream medias to deal sensibly with standing judicial issues.

He concluded that proper functioning of Lebanese judicial system constitutes a precondition for the rise of a nation-state based on justice and the rule of law to which all Lebanese patriots must aspire.

G.G./P.BC.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - (Updated) Sixth anniversary of Gibran Tueini's assassination
 

Sun 11/12/2011 14:59

NNA - 11/12/2011 - Marking the sixth anniversary of the assassination of Lebanese columnist and news-editor, Gebran Tueini, Greek-Orthodox Metropolitan Bishop of Beirut, Elias Aoudeh, officiated over a requiem mass at Saint George's Cathedral, Downtown Beirut.

The Bishop commended Tueini for his sacrifice saying his country held precedence over his personal safety and well-being. Tueini died for his country for which his life became less important, Aoudeh said.

He beseeched the Almighty One on this sad anniversary to preserve Lebanon as a priority.

Present at the requiem mass service were members of the Tueini family and An-Nahar daily newspaper staff in addition to leading March 14 dignitaries. Also present were Speaker Berri representative, US Ambassadress Maura Connelly, representatives of senior army and security top brass.

Tueini's younger daughter took the word to proclaim a bright future for Lebanon prompted by the anniversary. She concluded that An-Nahar staff members would carry on with Gibran's message onto the newspaper's pages till justice is done, justice not only for Tueini but also for all those martyrs who gave their life for liberty and the country.

G.G./P.BC.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Sixth anniversary of Gibran Tueini's assassination
 

Sun 11/12/2011 13:49

NNA - 11/12/2011 - Marking the sixth anniversary of the assassination of Lebanese columnist and news-editor, Gebran Tueini, Greek-Orthodox Metropolitan Bishop of Beirut, Elias Aoudeh, officiated over a requiem mass at Saint George's Cathedral, Downtown Beirut.

The Bishop commended Tueini for his sacrifice saying his country held precedence over his personal safety and well-being. Tueini died for his country for which his life became less important, Aoudeh said.

He beseeched the Almighty One on this sad anniversary to preserve Lebanon as a priority.
G.G./P.BC.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Hariri: Tueni's martyrdom brought Arab world closer to freedom
 

Sun 11/12/2011 13:37

NNA - 11/12/2011 Former PM Saad Hariri said in a statement Sunday that the loss of Gebran Tueni has left an empty place in Lebanese national and media life, with the only solace being that his fight for freedom is finally reaping fruitful results in the Arab world.

Martyr Gebran Tueni was a Lebanese politician and the former editor and publisher of An-Nahar daily newspaper. In March 2005, he contributed to the Cedar Revolution demonstrations during which he gave the famous "In the name of God We, Muslims and Christians, Pledge that united we shall remain to the end of time to better defend our Lebanon" speech. In May 2005 he was elected a Member of Parliament for the Greek Orthodox seat in Beirut on an anti-Syrian slate led by Saad Hariri. By end of that year he was assassinated by a car bomb while on his way to work.

"The cause of freedom, which Martyr Gebran Tueni fought for and paid the ultimate price for, is registering unprecedented victories in the Arab world, and opening new horizons of political work," said Hariri, "we wager on popular awakening witnessed particularly in Syria, and carries with it the promise of an end of a long era of dominance and corruption."

Hariri hoped that Syria would establish a civil system which encompasses all social factions and lives up to the aspirations and sacrifices of the Syrian people.

R.Z.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Ki Moon in Lebanon January 2012
 

Sun 11/12/2011 13:18

NNA - 11/12/2011 - UN General Secretary, Ban Ki Moon, is to visit Lebanon upcoming January, he officially informed Foreign Minister, Adnan Mansour, while both attended the 4th Club of the Coalition of Cultures in Doha - Qatar.

Ki Moon and Mansour also boarded the roadside bomb attack against a UNIFIL patrol wounding five French peacekeepers.

Mansour reiterated Lebanese government's vigorous condemnation of the attack calling it an act of sabotage. He also said the international peacekeeping force must remain in south Lebanon in view of its peacekeeping role.

Ki Moon for his part, appreciated the Lebanese position and also brought to attention the Prime Minister's decision to fund the STL which translates Lebanon's commitment to UN Resolutions.

The Foreign Minister disclosed that UN Secretary Ban Ki Moon is due in Lebanon upcoming January 13 and 14 and that he is due to meet with Lebanese President Michel Sleiman, House Speaker Nabih Berri and Prime Minister, Najib Mikati in addition to the local UNIFIL Commander in South Lebanon.

G.G./P.BC.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Rahi demands state protect citizens, UNIFIL
 

Sun 11/12/2011 12:10

NNA - 11/12/2011 Maronite Patriarch Beshara Rahi condemned during his Sunday sermon attack on a UNIFIL French contingent, calling upon Lebanese government to assume responsibility of the security of citizens and peacekeepers alike.

Five French soldiers were injured on Friday as a roadside bomb that targeted a UNIFIL patrol in the southern city of Tyre exploded.

The Patriarch called upon the state to seriously work on eradicating illegal arms.

"It is no longer acceptable for anyone to hold the country and its stability hostage under any slogan or claim."

R.Z.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Nahhas outraged at violence against CBL protestors
 

Sun 11/12/2011 11:47

NNA - 11/12/2011 Labor Minister Charbel Nahhas expressed in a statement Sunday deep concern at violence used to crush a peaceful protest Saturday in front of Central Bank of Lebanon (CBL), deeming the incident dangerous.

Protestors rallied in Beirut Saturday in objection to deteriorating economic situation and skyrocketing prices of all commodities. Having taken the permission of Interior Minister to rally in Hamra in front of CBL, the protestors were surprised by fierce crackdown on their demonstration by security forces acting without orders from the ministry.

Nahhas voiced support for the rightful social claims of the Lebanese people. "The state apologizes to citizens for acts that harmed it as much as it harmed them."

R.Z.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Harb holds on to Cedars Revolution principles
 

Sun 11/12/2011 11:29

NNA - 11/12/2011 In a statement Sunday to Voice of Lebanon radio, MP Boutros Harb clutched to the basic values of the Cedars Revolution of 2005.

The MP made his comments on the sixth memoriam of Gebran Tueni, a journalist and politician who actively voiced out his anti-Syrian occupation stances and support for Cedars Revolution. Tueni was assassinated in 2005.

"The main achievements of the Cedars Revolution are withdrawal of Syrian army [from Lebanese territories], setting justice through the Special Tribunal, and confirming Christian-Muslim unity," said Harb.

The MP was quite disappointed that investigation in Tuein's assassination was not productive. "We hope investigations uncover identity of real perpetrators whoever they are."

R.Z.
 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Aridi: Politicians are held responsible for current conditions
 

Sat 10/12/2011 22:32

NNA - 10/12/2011 - Public Works and Transportation Minister, Ghazi Aridi, considered that amidst the "Arab Spring" and the changes witnessed in the region, Lebanon ought to focus on protecting its liberty and democracy, as well as preserving its press, "free word" and the right to differ in opinion. He added that it is the state's politicians, and not the media, that ought to be held responsible for the current prevailing conditions in the country. He indicated, herein, that Lebanon's spring cannot be preserved and refurbished except through renewing the political approach to various matters.
Aridi's words came during the Press Club's annual dinner banquet held yesterday at "Le Royal" Hotel in Dbayeh. The dinner banquet was dedicated to honoring three prominent media figures, namely Press Syndicate Head, Mohamad Baalbaki; TV Producer Simon Asmar and Caricature Artist Pierre Sadek. Aridi praised the important achievements and valuable media accomplishments by the three honored figures. He also shed light in his word on the media's role in Lebanon, valuing its contribution to the country's rise; in addition to deep-rooting the ambience of freedom and democracy in Lebanon.
Aridi attended the event on behalf of President of the Republic, General Michel Sleiman; House Speaker, Nabih Berry, and Prime Minister, Najib Meqati. A number of deputies and media, social, political, intellectual, cultural and military figures were also present at the dinner ceremony.
R.Sh.
 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Meqati: False witnesses' dossier exists and shall be approached at the right time
 

Sat 10/12/2011 21:24

NNA - 10/12/2011 - Prime Minister, Najib Meqati, stressed Saturday that the false witnesses' dossier related to the late PM Rafic Hariri's assassination crime does exist and shall be tackled at the right time. He added, herein, that the first person to mention the false witnesses issue was former PM Saad Hariri; hence, he noted that said dossier has already been opened, awaiting the suitable time for being tackled. He pointed out to a number of judicial matters related to the justice body which ought to be sorted out in this respect.
Speaking in a special interview to "Al-Jazeera" Satellite Channel, PM Meqati described the situation in Lebanon as being delicate; thus, the government has adopted an impartial and neutral policy for the sake Lebanon's overall national interest. He added that the Lebanese government harbors keen concern for the Arab unanimous decisions, and is sure of the Arab states' understanding of Lebanon's stands as well. He added that the Arab states are well aware of Lebanon's delicate position, whereby the Lebanese government wishes to protect Lebanon from any repercussions resulting from conditions inside Syria. Furthermore, he indicated that the government is also trying to avoid being forced into taking stands with or against Syria.
Responding to a question regarding any possible effect by the enforced Arab League sanctions on Syria, Meqati indicated that Lebanon is not affected by said sanctions.
Regarding the Lebanese-Syrian borders, Meqati stated that controlling said borders is to both Lebanon and Syria's benefit. However, he pointed out that issue of Syrian citizens seeking refuge in Lebanon is an utterly humanitarian matter and is being approached from a humanitarian perspective.
Responding to another question regarding his previous resignation threat if Lebanon's portion in financing the STL is not aaproved, Meqati noted that the resignation is not an aim as much as being a manner of expressing a strong stand to be adopted in case of failure to approve said funding. He added that the International Tribunal has been established for the sake of truth and justice, stressing that he can never stand as an obstacle in the face of justice. However, he expressed rejection of any politicization of the Tribunal whatsoever.
Over the cabinet situation, PM Meqati considered that the Lebanese government has ventured into a new phase. Accordingly, he urged all cabinet ministers to work on the projects promised to the people during the past year, imploring them to remain focused on the overall national benefit.
R.Sh.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Kassem: American Intelligence structure is exposed
 

Sat 10/12/2011 19:47

NNA - 10/12/2011 - Hizbollah Deputy Secretary General, Sheikh Naim Kassem, disclosed Saturday that the information unveiled by the Party regarding the American Intelligence is part of a whole set of information it possesses. He stressed herein that the US Intelligence structure is now exposed. He added that Hizbollah is following-up on a number of sensitive dossiers in Lebanon, most prominent of which is the American Intelligence dossier.
Kassem continued to indicate that Hizbollah is tackling the US Intelligence issue due to its interception with the work of the Israeli enemy and its agents. He added that whoever fails to criticize the Israeli violations against Lebanon is held responsible for maintaining silence towards such attacks and violations, whereas the resistance is playing the role of the defender against said attacks.
Kassem went on to stress that the resistance movement denotes the present and the future, and has accorded Lebanon a new meaning and value as being a "strong and pioneering country" in the region.

Kassem's words came during a memorial ceremony held at Shamseddine Compound in Shatila, Beirut.
R.Sh.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Baabda Palace itinerants
 

Sat 10/12/2011 17:46

NNA - 10/12/2011 - Arab Social Affairs Ministers paid Lebanese President Michel Sleiman a courtesy visit following their wrapping up their 31st conference in Beirut.

Speaking in their name, Minister Wael Abou Faour, reiterated support for social affairs which he described as the paramount mainstay of democracy. He added that democracy is the gate way to social justice.

Abou Faour noted that the Arab World thanks to data technology breakthroughs finds itself working for the immunization of democracy since this proved to be the most ideal system for guaranteeing liberty and justice.

In his welcoming address, President Sleiman urged a return to a wider Arab concept rather than seeking refuge in religious sub-sectarian denominations. The President also stressed need for upholding religious, moral and social values.

The President has been briefed by Minister Abou Faour over latest developments pertaining to work at his respective ministry.
G.G./P.BC.
 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Qortbawi for opening file of missing
 

Sat 10/12/2011 16:15

NNA - 10/12/2011 - Minister of Justice, Shakib Qortbawi, favored the opening of the file of missing Lebanese during long years of civil war and conflict.

Taking the word at the Downtown Pavilion of the Missing in presence of members of Human Rights Organization SOLID, Qortbawi regarded the issue of those missing as a primarily humanitarian cause; it could be arguably patriotic but non-political.

He met with relatives of those missing who brought to his attention that they were not thus far checked out by any other minister.

Qortbawi's visit to the tent coincided with visits by Hikmat Dib, a Aounist MP and EU Representative Maria Sanchez. The Three of them held a press conference marking the annual Declaration of Universal Human Rights.

MP Dib for his part, insisted on knowing the fate not just of those who went missing in Syria rather than in Lebanon as well.

Qortbawi for his part favored the drafting of a law project giving those who went missing their full rights and concluded that their file must be opened wide in order to be able to turn the page of the missing once and for all. He called on all parties concerned to work together in order to draft such a law.

 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Grand Serail updates
 

Sat 10/12/2011 15:45

NNA - 10/12/2011 - Grand Serail itinerant visitors today included Iranian Ambassador to Lebanon Ghadanfar Roknabadi who briefed waiting newsmen about outcome of today's visit.

Among others, Roknabadi regarded the downing of a US pilotless spy drone as a clear provocation with grave consequences for regional security and international peace.

Roknabadi added that world stability and national unity could not be achieved without having western forces leave the region altogether and non-interfering in its affairs. He reiterated Islamic Republic's backing to good causes around the world including that of Lebanon's.

Norwegian Ambassador to Lebanon, Svein Aass, reviewed bilateral relations with the Prime Minister during a stopover at the Grand Serail today.

Public Works' Minister Ghazi Aridi, who came next to the Serail, briefed PM over work at his ministry and presented him with a copy of his book on "Palestine; a right that does not die."

A delegation of the Lebanese Academy for Sciences headed by George Bahr extended an invitation to him to attend its opening meeting between the 21st and 24th of January.

Also under the patronage of PM Mikati, an opera recital was given by the Swiss Embassy and the Lebanese Swiss Association with Opera singer Jan Luka Pasolini, soprano singer, Veronique Mercier who sang works from Rossini, Puccini, Donizetti, Gounod and Verdi. Leading members of the diplomatic corps, politicians and dignitaries were invited.

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Politics - Sleiman returns from Armenia to Beirut
 

Sat 10/12/2011 15:28

NNA - 10/12/2011 President Michel Sleiman arrived Saturday to Beirut after a three day official visit to Armenia, whereby he confirmed the integral part Armenians play in Lebanon.

A final visit to the Armenian presidential palace today was an occasion for Sleiman to thank President Serzh Sargsyan for his hospitality. Both men agreed to enhance bilateral ties and put into effect signed agreements.

Afterwards, the President and his First Lady visited Yerevan Brandy Company, the leading enterprise of Armenia for the production of alcoholic beverages. Sleiman unveiled a plate placed on a brandy barrel with the name of President Sleiman carved on it, a custom at the Company whenever a high ranking official visits.

Catholicos Karekin II, head of the Holy Armenian Apostolic Church, also had an audience with the President before his departure back to Lebanon.

R.Z.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Rahi meets Vatican delegation
 

Sat 10/12/2011 15:06

NNA - 10/12/2011 Maronite Patriarch Beshara Rahi met Saturday a delegation from the Vatican that visited him at Bkirky accompanied by Ambassador of the Sovereign Order of Malta, the Republic of San Marino.

The delegation thanked Rahi's support in the ceremony presenting the Arabic version of the book of Pope Benedict XVI, titled "Light of the World." The book was launched in Beirut Arab International Book Fair, and the Catholic Information Center.

R.Z.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Ain Tineh itinerant visitors and activities today
 

Sat 10/12/2011 14:42

NNA - 10/12/2011 - Visiting Algerian Minister for Solidarity, Saed Barakat, and Ambassador Ibrahim Hasi held talks with House Speaker Nabih Berri and senior Amal aides at Ain Tineh residence today with talks reportedly focusing on the current political juncture. Both sides also explored venues for promoted bilateral relations.

Philippine ambassadress to Lebanon Leah B. Ruiz came on a courtesy visit to Ain Tineh where she was received by senior Amal aide Ali Hamdan. No further disclosures as to meeting's outcome were made.

 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Qahwaji, Mouawad survey developments
 

Sat 10/12/2011 14:33

NNA - 10/12/2011 Army Commander, General Jean Qahwaji, met Saturday at his Yarzeh office with former MP Nayla Mouawad to discuss current events.

R.Z.

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Politics - Geagea accuses some political parties of sabotaging democracy
 

Sat 10/12/2011 14:25

NNA - 10/12/2011 Lebanese Forces (LF) Leader Samir Geagea accused Saturday certain political parties of attempting to hijack the country and send it on a downward spiral of instability which did not serve the benefit of Lebanese or their state.

Geagea made his speech to an audience of political, social and economic figures who attended the first annual conference of liberal professions in Mehrab under the title, "Free Profession for a Free Country."

"What we are witnessing under rule of current cabinet is an undermining of democratic foundations upon which Lebanese system was built," said the veteran politician.

"These people are risking the fate of the majority of Lebanese, against their will, for the sake of regional alliances that do not benefit Lebanon or the Lebanese." Geagea described the economic unrest along with shaky security as a byproduct of this policy, bringing to light recent events in Zahrani electric plant and repeated attacks on UNIFIL troops.

R.Z.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Mikati: UNIFIL and army continue to work together
 

Sat 10/12/2011 13:49

NNA - 10/12/2011 PM Najib Mikati asserted the government's determination to intensify cooperation between the Lebanese army and UNIFIL despite recent attack on the peacekeeping forces, and addressed the controversial salary hike issue during the opening session of the 31 round of the Council of Arab Social Affairs Ministers at the Movenpick hotel in Beirut.

A roadside bomb targeting a patrol by a French contingent in Tyre Friday led to the injury of five soldiers.

"We requested the security forces speed up their investigation to uncover the perpetrators," the PM said.

Mikati also addressed a recent decision to raise salaries of public and private sector employees, "The cabinet's approval of the wage hike is the maximum that the government could do amid the economic circumstances the country is experiencing."

The suggested raise fell short of all workers' aspirations, and failed to satisfy the General Labor Confederation (GLC) which called for a meeting Monday to decide on a date for a general strike.

"The status-quo forces us not to take measures that would negatively affect employees," he added.

Mikati stressed that the government's commitment to social issues goes hand in hand with the protection of national consensus, highlighting the significance of UN resolution 1701, "which Israel continues to violate."
"This won't stop Lebanon from holding onto its right to liberate its land."

 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Minister Nahas for parity between ministers
 

Sat 10/12/2011 13:33

NNA - 10/12/2011 - Trade and Economy Minister, Nicolas Nahas, favored parity between cabinet ministers belonging to the same political team.

Interviewed on As-Sharq (Orient) radio station today, the Minister urged coherence and harmony between constituents of the same cabinet. He duly rejected the idea of one group scoring points against the other.

Nahas defended official Lebanese distancing itself from Arab sanctions imposed on Syria arguing that Lebanon has specificities routed in its geopolitical situation. This includes of course, not antagonizing any neighbors.

While stressing adherence to so-called Arab consensus, Nahas stressed need not to intervene in Syrian affairs in anyway.

On his approach to rectify wages, he urged colleagues to take their ample time to study his motion. The Minister spoke about the need to work for high national interest but stressed need for boarding all contentious files through dialogue and this is where Lebanon's future lies, he exclaimed.

G.G./P.BC.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Daouk, Ambassador of Lebanon to Sudan convene
 

Sat 10/12/2011 13:32

NNA - 10/12/2011 Information Minister Walid Daouk met Saturday at his ministerial office in Beirut with Ambassador of Lebanon to Sudan, Ahmad Shammat, with talks focusing on bilateral ties.

Shammat told reporters after the meeting that he invited Daouk to visit Sudan and overview the situation of Lebanese community in the African country. The Ambassador also highlighted cultural and media exchange between both countries.

R.Z.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Mansour condemns attack on UNIFIL
 

Sat 10/12/2011 13:17

NNA - 10/12/2011 - Commenting on yesterday's bomb attack on UNIFIL, Foreign Minister Adnan Mansour currently on a state visit to Yerevan/ Armenia described it as a criminal act. He condemned it vigorously exclaiming that it was not just targeting UNIFIL rather than Lebanese security and stability as a whole.

He well-wished peacekeepers injured in the bomb blast speedy recovery and highly commended the French contingent for its peacekeeping role within the framework of UNIFIL.

G.G./P.BC.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Layyoun: No jumping to conclusions!
 

Sat 10/12/2011 13:06
NNA - 10/12/2011 - Minister of Culture Gabi Layyoun, cautioned against jumping to conclusions with regards to yesterday's bomb-attack on a UNIFIL patrol in Tyr which left 5 French peace-keepers injured.

The minister and, in an interview on Voice of Lebanon radio station, indicated that "religious-fundamentalist and intelligence-sponsored groupuscules seeking to destabilize the country could be responsible. With reference to the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1701, deals with conspicuously-sanctioned weapons but fails to synchronize highly-mobile weaponry all over Lebanese territory.

He expressed surprise at PM Miqati's proposed wage-rectification bill as well as disappointing attitude of certain supposed allies. Layyoun however noted that minister Charbel Nahhas's own version of wage-correction has not been given ample chance at the regular cabinet session when apparently counteracted by Miqati's which passed thanks to a vote of confidence.

The minister accused colleagues of remaining captive to old style-work with Miqati still working through "private-sector channels with the net result that workers' rights became effectively bypassed." He duly ruled out imminent resignations tendered in by Aounist ministers.

On the Syrian crises, he backed regime-inspired reforms which he deemed positive and condemned what he termed as "oppositionists targeting of soldiers and perpetrating widespread violence."

The minister vowed to develop his own ministry through appropriate decrees bound to place it on the right track.
G.G./P.BC.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Sleiman in Armenia: Lebanon will defend its natural resources
 

Sat 10/12/2011 10:54

NNA - 10/12/2011 President Michel Sleiman, currently on an official visit to Armenia, said Friday that Lebanon plans to defend its right to use and benefit from its natural resources of gas and oil found in its territorial waters, without any obstacles.

President of Armenia Serge Sarkissian held a dinner party in honor of Sleiman and his First Lady, at the presidential palace in Yerevan.

Sleiman also stressed the importance of improving the Armenian-Lebanese relations in various fields, including political and humanitarian, emphasizing "the role that the Lebanese-Armenian can play in this context."

"The fact that our country has managed to avoid the global financial crisis and sustain security of the banking system has a lot to do with maintaining stability in Lebanon," he said.

Sleiman also loaded the French soldiers involved in UNIFIL and highly deplored the explosion which attacked a patrol of the French contingent Friday in Tyre, injuring a number of soldiers.

Armenian President Serge Sarkisian, for his part, said the Lebanese-Armenian bilateral relations were "rich," adding he wished to preserve and "deepen cooperation on all levels."


R.Z.

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Politics - Pietton: France insists on UNIFIL mission
 

Fri 9/12/2011 21:53

NNA - 09/12/2011 French embassy in Lebanon announced Friday France's persistence on continuing its UNIFIL mission.

Four French peacekeeping soldiers were injured today in an explosion which targeted their patrol east of Tyre, South Lebanon.

"We cannot accuse anyone of this attack," said Ambassador Denis Pietton, "Lebanese authorities took certain measurers, which cannot be dealt with loosely."

R.Z.
 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Cabinet denounces UNIFIL attack, focuses on border control
 

Fri 9/12/2011 21:33

NNA - 09/12/2011 Cabinet held a regular session Friday at the Grand Serail whereby it condemned attack on UNIFIL and asserted need for border control, Minister Walid Daouk told reporters following the meeting.

Four French soldiers and a Lebanese civilian were wounded today when a bomb went off near a UNIFIL patrol in east of Tyre. The bomb targeted a French contingent patrol which operates under the UNIFIL command in south Lebanon.

Information Minister Daouk stated that PM Najib Mikati contacted President Michel Sleiman, currently on an official visit to Armenia, to discuss the events in the southern city. Both men agreed that these terror tactics were meant to dither the work of the UNIFIL in a bid to force them out of Lebanon. Daouk confirmed Mikati's stance that said attack would not shake the work of the UNIFIL or the stability of the country.

An extensive security meeting was held this morning to discuss border control. Mikati was resolute that the security situation at the border and prevention of any type of infiltration and smuggling, especially the prevention of arms smuggling and illegal entry into Lebanese territory, was the responsibility of the Lebanese state through its security forces; and, Lebanon insisted on handling this matter firmly and effectively.

Minister Daouk affirmed that the session was calm and smooth with a number of decisions put into order. However, the cabinet did not discuss administrative appointments.

Among the decisions taken in today's session:

Equipping the tourist police and filling vacant positions at the Ministry of Tourism.

Accepting a donation from the European Commission to fund a project to develop national capacity in the field of security and stability.

Approving a draft for regional cooperation project for the development of water resources management.

R.Z.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Caccia: Holy See work anchors Christian presence in East
 

Fri 9/12/2011 19:53

NNA - 09/12/2011 - Apostolic Nuncio Gabriel Caccia confirmed to an Orthodox Gathering delegation Friday that The Holy See was endeavoring to anchor the presence of Christians in the East.

Talks reportedly discussed the Christians' situation in the Middle East, particularly in Lebanon, in the light of changes currently sweeping the Arab region.

The delegation, comprising Lawyer Michel Tueini, former deputy House Speaker, Elie Ferzli, and other dignitaries, also explained to Caccia the gathering's proposed electoral project law.
 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Ghosn visits French wounded soldiers on behalf of Sleiman
 

Fri 9/12/2011 19:43

NNA - 09/12/2011 - Defense Minister Fayez Ghosn, at the behest of Lebanese President Michel Sleiman, had been to Hammoud Hospital in Saida Friday to check on the four soldiers wounded during an attack on UNIFIL patrol this morning.

A bomb went off this morning near a French peacekeeping patrol operating under the UNIFIL Command in the South between the towns of Housh and Burj al-Shamali (east Tyre). Four French soldiers and a Lebanese civilian were slightly injured.

Ghosn, in a statement to reporters, denounced the explosion, calling it "an attack against Lebanon, its stability and security."

 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Marada calls for swift probe into UNIFIL attack
 

Fri 9/12/2011 19:16

NNA - 9/12/2011 - Marada Movement on Friday lambasted an explosion near a UNIFIL patrol in Naba'a area located between Housh and Burj al Shamali towns east of Tyre early this morning.

The Movement called for an immediate investigation into the incident.


R.A.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Asarta confirms UNIFIL's determination to fulfill 1701
 

Fri 9/12/2011 19:15

NNA - 09/12/2011 UNIFIL Force Commander Major-General Alberto Asarta Cuevas condemned Friday's explosion targeting UNIFIL peacekeepers in Tyre, south Lebanon, maintaining that the resolve of his forces is stronger now after the attack, a UNIFIL Press statement said.

"On 9 December, a UNIFIL vehicle traveling on a road at the southern outskirts of the city of Tyr was targeted by an explosion.

Five peacekeepers were injured. They were treated at the location and were later evacuated for further medical treatment.

We condemn this attack in the strongest terms. This vile and despicable act not only aims to cause harm to the peacekeepers but also to undermine the stability and peace that have been prevailing in the south.

In the aftermath of this attack, UNIFIL's determination and commitment to the mandate under UN Security Council resolution 1701 is even stronger. We will not be diverted from our tasks and we remain focused in our efforts to fulfill our mandate together with the Lebanese Armed Forces. At the same time, it is imperative that the perpetrators of this attack are identified and brought to justice.

UNIFIL's forensics and investigation teams were dispatched to the location and are working in close cooperation with their counterparts in the Lebanese Army to determine all the facts and circumstances surrounding the incident.

This is the third direct attack against UNIFIL this year. Two UNIFIL logistics convoys were targeted by road-side bombs on the coastal road near the city of Saida in May and July."

R.Z.

 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Siniora condemns attack on UNIFIL
 

Fri 9/12/2011 18:47

NNA - 09/12/2011 - Former Prime Minister Fouad Siniora condemned on Friday the terrorist attack against the UNIFIL contingent in Tyre. He explained that the action aimed to destabilize the security condition in Lebanon, particularly in the South which has generally been calm since the issuance of UN Security Council Resolution 1701 in 2006.

Separately, Siniora received at his office in Sadat Tower the Emirati Ambassador Youssof Ussaimi, with talks featuring high on recent developments at the local, regional and international scene.

A.M./P.BC.

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Politics - LF lashes out at attack on UNIFIL
 

Fri 9/12/2011 18:13


NNA - 9/12/2011 - A blast near a UNIFIL French patrol in east Tyre Friday morning drew sharp backlash of Lebanese Forces, who said the explosion targeted Lebanon's stability and security.

A statement by the LF press office echoed the party's strong belief that the presence of armed yet illegitimate groups hiding behind the Army-Resistance-People motto-in an indirect reference to Hezbollah- indeed paved the way for similar security incidents and provided cover, weapons, and necessary funding.


R.A.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Sleiman: targeting UNIFIL aims to re-stir terrorism
 

Fri 9/12/2011 17:25

NNA - 09/12/2011 - Lebanese President Michel Sleiman condemned the terrorist operation occurring early Friday against the UNIFIL French contingent in Tyre, considering it to imbue the aim of withdrawing said force from Lebanon and re-stirring terrorism across the country.

Sleiman condemnation came Friday after meeting with the Armenian President Serge Sarkissian at the Armenian Presidential Palace in Yerevan.

The Lebanese President assured that the International Community would not allow the recommencement of terrorism and that France would not yield to the pressures aiming to withdraw its peacekeeping troops from Lebanon. After all, he explained, France paid enough sacrifices for the sake of peace in Lebanon and the world.

Sleiman also affirmed that the Lebanese Security Forces were executing strict investigation into the cruel incident, for the purpose of catching hold of the culprits and preventing the occurrence of similar actions in the future. He said he already called Prime Minister Najib Mikati, Defense Minister Fayez Ghosn and Lebanese Army Chief General Jean Kahwaji, giving them necessary directions in this concern.

Sleiman pointed out the necessity for continuing efforts to find a fair and permanent solution to the Middle East Cause - with the Palestinian subject at the core of it - on the bases of international legitimacy, Madrid Conference reference and the Arab Peace Initiative.

Sarkissian, for his part, said Lebanon had a special role with respect to Armenia, as it [Lebanon] had throughout history the virtue of receiving Armenian citizens evacuated from their homeland after the Ottoman massacres.

A.M./P.BC.

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Politics - Safadi denounces attack on UNIFIL
 

Fri 9/12/2011 17:20

NNA - 9/12/2011 - Minister of Finance, Mohammad Safadi, on Friday sternly denounced an attack on the French peacekeeping contingent earlier this morning in Tyre.

A bomb went off early this morning near a UNIFIL patrol in Naba'a area located between Housh and Burj al Shamali towns east of Tyre, causing light injuries to four peacekeeping soldiers and a Lebanese civilian.

"These forces are present on the Lebanese territories to help the Lebanese Army prevail legitimate authority and anchor stability," said Safadi.

"Any attack on the UNIFIL is tantamount an attack on Lebanon's security," he added.



R.A.H.

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Politics - Iranian, Russian, Chinese diplomats review Mideast developments
 

Fri 9/12/2011 16:32

NNA - 9/12/2011 - Iranian ambassador to Lebanon, Ghazanfar Roknabadi, on Friday reviewed most recent developments in the Mideast region with his Russian and Chinese counterparts.

A statement by the Iranian embassy said Roknabadi had maintained that the US and Israeli schemes, aimed to target the Syrian regime, were doomed to flop.

For their part, Russian and Chinese ambassadors to Lebanon reiterated their countries' rejection of any foreign interference and pressure on other states, namely on Iran and Syria.



R.A.H.

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Politics - Hezbollah slams attack on UNIFIL
 

Fri 9/12/2011 16:15

NNA - 9/12/2011 - Hezbollah sternly condemned Friday the attack on a peacekeeping contingent in the South, saying it [the attack] targeted the security and stability of Lebanon in general and the South in particular.

A bomb went off early this morning near a UNIFIL patrol in Naba'a area located between Housh and Burj al Shamali towns east of Tyre, causing light injuries to four peacekeeping soldiers and a Lebanese civilian. The blast is believed to be targeting the French contingent operating within the UNIFIL command.

The party called, in a statement, the Lebanese security apparatuses to endeavor so as to curb such aggressions.



R.A.H.

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Politics - Iranian diplomat sounds alarm on US provocations
 

Fri 9/12/2011 16:10

NNA - 9/12/2011 - Iranian ambassador, Ghazanfar Roknabadi, on Friday said US provocations and aggressions were jeopardy to peace in the region and worldwide, at the backdrop of what Iran had termed as a US violation of its airspace.

Iran's military said Sunday it had shot down a US reconnaissance drone in eastern Iran, while a US official said there was no indication the aircraft had been gunned down. But Iran's state-run television broadcast a two-minute video Thursday of the drone as being inspected by military officials.

Speaking to journalists in the wake of his meeting today with House Speaker, Nabih Berri, in Ain-el-Tineh, Roknabadi said the incident showed that Iran's technology was growing more advanced than that of the US.

The diplomat added that Iran had dispatched official warrants in objection to the many violations it had detected in the past, stressing that the Americans were trying to prove their military presence in the region, incompliantly with international pacts and principles of peaceful relations among countries in the world.

Iran has announced several times in the past that it brought down US, Israeli, or British drones. But the incidents did not prompt high-profile retaliations.

Turning to Syria, the ambassador maintained that the situation in this nation was improving day by day, noting less stern western-made positions in this respect.

"The Islamic Republic of Iran upholds, just like the majority of Syrian citizens, claims of reforms under the auspices of President Bashar Assad," he said.

On the other hand, Speaker Berri met today at his residence in Ain-el-Tineh Sidon Jaafarite Mufti Sheikh Mohammad Osseiran.




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Politics - Charbel orders security for preventing local tension
 

Fri 9/12/2011 15:34

NNA - 9/1/011- Interior and Municipalities Minister Marwan Charbel ordered for taking strict security measures to prevent any transformation into tension at the Lebanese arena.

Charbel's order came Friday after condemning the explosion which occurred today 9:30 AM against the UNIFIL contingent in Tyre.

"Any attack on UNIFIL targets Lebanon and the Lebanese," said Charbel.

A.M/N.AF

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Daouk meets Lombardo, Tanase
 

Fri 9/12/2011 15:29

NNA - 09/12/2011- Information Minister Walid Daouk received on Friday at his office UNRWA's Director General in Lebanon Salvatore Lombardo, with talks featuring high on UNRWA's activities in the context of ameliorating the condition of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon.

Separately, Daouk received the Romanian Ambassador Daniel Tanase.
A.M./P.BC.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved
 


Politics - Ghosn meets with Abu Saeed
 

Fri 9/12/2011 15:25

NNA - 09/12/2011- Defense Minister Fayez Ghosn received on Friday at his office the Ambassador of the International Human Rights and the Deputy in the Parliament of International Security and Peace, Haitham Abou Saeed. Talks focused on the issue pertaining to arms smuggling from Lebanon into Syria.

Abu Saeed invited the Minister to a conference which will take place next year. The conference will be related to the future condition of human rights in the Middle East region.

A.M./P.BC.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved
 


Politics - Qassem Hashem condemns UNIFIL attack
 

Fri 9/12/2011 15:16

NNA - 9/12/2011 - Today's attack on the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon earned sharp rebuke from Qassem Hashem, Member of the Liberation and Development parliamentary bloc.

A bomb went off early this morning near a UNIFIL patrol in Naba'a area located between Housh and Burj al Shamali towns east of Tyre, causing light injuries to four peacekeeping soldiers and a Lebanese civilian. The blast is believed to be targeting the French contingent operating within the UNIFIL command.

Hashem said the explosion targeted stability in the South and served Israel.


R.A.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Amal movement: Attack against UNIFIL coward act
 

Fri 9/12/2011 15:16

NNA - 9/12/2011 Amal movement denounced Friday the attack held against UNIFIL patrol in Tyre.

The movement deemed such an act as "coward" and said it targeted Lebanon's security and stability.


L.W.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Mokheibir: Tyre explosion targets Lebanon's security
 

Fri 9/12/2011 14:46

NNA - 9/12/2011 MP Ghassan Mokheibir Friday stated that Tyre explosion targets Lebanon's security and stability.

Mokheibir uttered strong disapproval of the explosion against the UNIFIL French contingent patrol, calling herein on competent authorities to investigate the incident and reveal perpetrators' identity.

Also, the MP hoped a soon recovery for wounded and confirmed Lebanon's holding on to 1701.


L.W.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved
 


Politics - Qabalan for giving the laborers their merits
 

Fri 9/12/2011 14:43

NNA - 09/12/2011 - Deputy head of the Islamic Shiite Supreme Council, Sheikh Abdul Amir Qabalan, urged the Lebanese government to give the Lebanese laborers what they deserved of their rights.

Qabalan's demand came on Friday in the context of his weekly sermon.

Sheikh Qabalan addressed the Lebanese to unite together and cast off every sort of corruption and tension, because Lebanon is in dire need for the solidarity of its people so as to preserve local stability and security.
A.M>

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Politics - Rahi meets Hariri's advisor, utters will to meet former PM
 

Fri 9/12/2011 14:42

NNA - 9/12/2011 Maronite Patriarch Mar Beshara Rahi Friday conveyed willingness to meet with former Premier Saad Hariri, during his encounter with Hariri's advisor Dr. Daoud Sayegh.

Rahi deemed the meeting as necessary to guarantee efficient dialogue for Lebanon's sake especially within ongoing sturdy circumstances.

The Patriarch also met with the Boushrieh mosque Imam, Sheikh Mohammad Ali Hajj Al-Amili.
Talks touched on the Christian-Islamic joint activity aiming at reinforcing coexistence atmosphere.

Also, Rahi went over the latest up-to-dates during his meeting with MP Simon Abi Ramiya.


L.W.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Aoun meets French candidate Smida
 

Fri 9/12/2011 14:40

NNA - 9/12/2011 French parliamentary elections candidate, Patricia Smida, Friday visited MP Michel Aoun in Rabieh within her tour to meet with Lebanese senior officials.

Smida, who is of Lebanese origins, urged French residents as well as Lebanese people of French origins, to enroll their names in the French Consulate's electoral lists so as to practice their right to vote.

"I defend the non-payment tax cause which shall be imposed on French residing aboard," she said.

Besides, Aoun received former Deputy Moustafa Hussein.

In the wake of today's explosion that has targeted UNIFIL patrol, Aoun uttered stern rejection and called on those to hold any objection to the forces' presence in Lebanon to express their opinion publicly and through peaceful means.
L.W.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Charbel orders security for preventing local tension
 

Fri 9/12/2011 14:38

NNA - 9/1/011- Interior and Municipalities Minister Marwan Charbel ordered for taking strict security measures to prevent any transformation into tension at the Lebanese area.

Charbel's order came Friday after condemning the explosion which occurred today 9:3 AM against the UNIFIL contingent in Tyre.

"Any attack on UNIFIL targets Lebanon and the Lebanese," said Charbel.

A.M/N.AF

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Berri lambasts targeting UNIFIL, national security
 

Fri 9/12/2011 14:35

NNA - 9/12/2011 - Speaker of the House, Nabih Berri, on Friday termed the explosion which targeted a UNIFIL patrol today as "terrorist" and said it aimed at rendering Lebanon in general and the South in particular a perturbed and irking area.

A bomb went off early this morning near a UNIFIL patrol in Naba'a area located between Housh and Burj al Shamali towns east of Tyre, causing light injuries to four peacekeeping soldiers and a Lebanese civilian. The blast is believed to be targeting the French contingent operating within the UNIFIL command.

Berri reckoned that the explosion was part of a serial targeting the "international witness" tasked to confirm [Lebanon's] full implementation of UNSC resolution 1701.

"This explosion, in all its perspectives and upshots, indeed serves Israel," a statement by the Speaker read.

Berri called herein the Lebanese Army and security institutions to multiply efforts to uncover the identity of the authors of "the organized terrorist crimes."



R.A.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Qabbani condemns attack against UNIFIL
 

Fri 9/12/2011 13:46

NNA - 09/12/2011 - Mufti of the Lebanese Republic, Sheikh Muhammad Rachid Qabbani, condemned on Friday the criminal action against the UNIFIL contingent in Tyre which took place today at 09:30 AM.

Qabbani said the action aimed to destabilize the security situation in the country.
 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Mikati chairs broad security gathering, condemns UNIFIL explosion
 

Fri 9/12/2011 12:22
NNA - 9/12/2011 Prime Minister Najib Mikati Friday voiced stern disapproval of the explosion targeting the UNIFIL French contingent in Tyre.

The Lebanese Premier chaired an broad security gathering at the Grand Serail aimed at tackling Lebanese Borders' Control issue in presence of Ministers of Defense and Interior, Army Commander, General Security Director, ISF General Director, and other concerned officials.

"This attack does not solely target UNIFIL but it tampers with the Lebanese people's security," Mikati said and stressed the Lebanese people and government's solidarity with the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon.

Mikati also asserted that such attacks shall not affect UNIFIL's work nor shall it influence 1701 implementation.

L.W.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Houry: Syrian factor prevents cabinet collapse
 

Fri 9/12/2011 11:58


NNA - 9/12/2011 - "Future" bloc member Deputy Ammar Houry stressed that the basic element which is preventing the cabinet's collapse is the Syrian factor which is seeking to preserve it since it protects the regime's interests at this specific moment.

"Syrian supporter grants the current cabinet a limited space to move without exceeding the red lines", the MP added on Friday to Voice of Lebanon" radio.

Houry said that the contradictions that exist among the current cabinet were expected from most of the Lebanese, reminding of the way this cabinet was formed.

Houry stressed that the opposition stands by the demands of the Labor Union which supports livelihood circumstances, adding "Labors have the right to improve their livelihood situation".

A.A.M

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Politics - Labor Minister: real wage increase is "Reform and Change" target
 

Fri 9/12/2011 11:34

NNA - 9/12/2011- Labor Minister Charbel Nahhas said that State Shoura Council might nullify the new decision of wage increase just as it annulled the previous one because it carries the same flaws.

Speaking to "Voice of Lebanon" radio station, Nahhas reminded that the last wage increase was in 1996, pointing out that all wage increases since 1995 until now had been illegal.

Commenting on Hizbullah's educational committee support to the call for demonstration and strike, Nahhas considered that the step came within the frame of responding to popular remarks.

He pointed out that "Change and Reform" bloc would study all the cabinet's sessions before assembly to decide whether to take part in them or not, stressing that the bloc's target is currently fulfilling people's demand so as the wage increase would be real without any basic flaws. He added that wages should be under control and health coverage, funded by taxes, should be provided to all Lebanese.

Nahhas explained that this step came within the frame of the economic regime structural adjustment which would also create new work opportunities for the young Lebanese to prevent them from immigration.

Commenting on the increase of gasoline and fuel prices, Nahhas pointed out that studies are taking place to find a suitable formula to treat that issue.

L.Y.R/N.AF

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Aswad: Free Patriotic bloc is besieged
 

Fri 9/12/2011 10:37

NNA - 9/12/2011 - "Change and Reform" bloc member Deputy Ziad Aswad said that his bloc is besieged and some persons don't want it to succeed.

Commenting on the birth of a new quintuple alliance in face of FPM, the MP said "I don't think we have reached to this stage or Hizbullah is in confrontation with FPM".

Responding on Friday to "Voice of Lebanon"-Freedom and Dignity radio to a question whether his bloc will participate in Friday's cabinet session, the MP stressed "boycotting is not required and not a goal".

The MP pointed out that the solution which was approved in the cabinet session concerning wage increases bounced back on them with a ball of fire after the Labor Union refused it and considered it unfair, stressing that the solutions taken by the cabinet are repetitive and obsolete.

A.A.M
 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved

 

 


 


Politics - Feltman returns to U.S.
 

Fri 9/12/2011 10:34

NNA - 9/12/2011- United States (U.S.) Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Jeffrey Feltman left today (Friday) before noon Lebanon heading to U.S. via London.

Ambassador of the United States to Lebanon Maura Connelly bid him farewell at Rafic Hariri International Airport.

L.Y.R/N.AF

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Aoun: Lebanon disengaged from regional tensions
 

Fri 9/12/2011 10:32

NNA - 9/12/2011 - FPM head MP Michel Aoun asserted Friday Lebanon's disassociation from regional ongoing tensions.

Speaking over the phone, Aoun addressed Lebanese expatriates in Australia on the occasion of the Free Patriotic Movement annual celebration and made an overall review of the situation in Lebanon and Syria.

He said that the Lebanese internal policy has created harmony between society components, "a harmony we are seeking to preserve through the policy of non-interference in foreign countries' affairs."

"We call on you to constantly follow up on news in Lebanon and discern lies from truth," he said and shed light on media institutions' attempts to broadcast false information to prevent inter-Lebanese gathering which, in turn, might lead to settlement of Palestinians in Lebanon.

"He who has seized Palestinians' lands and identity has no concern over neither Lebanese nor Syrian people," Aoun remarked.


L.W.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Sleiman in Yerevan reiterates calls for dialogue
 

Thu 8/12/2011 21:28

NNA - 8/12/2011 President of the Republic General Michel Sleiman reiterated calls for dialogue and implementation of national dialogue conference decisions, stressing work for ameliorating democratic performance and resorting to legal institutions in resolving any stringent flaw away from violence.
President Sleiman was speaking during the first day of his official visit to Armenia, at the invitation of his Armenian counterpart Serge Serkisian, accompanied by First Lady Mrs. Wafaa Sleiman and an official delegation.
"We [Lebanon] proceed with efforts to boost our national resistant capabilities in the face of any threat or assault", Sleiman said, adding that efforts continue to pressure Israel to implement UN Resolution 1701 in all its clauses and restoring full sovereignty over all Lebanese lands.
Sleiman also disclosed that Lebanon is in the process of realizing new reforms, citing the examples of an impending endorsement of a new electoral law and administrative decentralization, amelioration of services' sector and oil and gas resources' exploration.
On his visit to Armenia, Sleiman said the visit aims at bolstering significant bilateral relations between the two countries and consecrating piers of future cooperation through the signature of an array of agreements of cooperation.
Sleiman also noted relentless Lebanese efforts to build up-to-date and modern frames of cooperation with the Lebanese Diaspora, including emigrants' voting right in the upcoming elections.
On the other hand, Sleiman and his accompanying delegation visited on Thursday afternoon Armenian Old Manuscript Institute (Matenaradan) in the Armenian capital Yerevan.
This evening, Sleiman and accompanying delegation attended a dinner banquet held in his honor by the Lebanese expatriate community in Armenia at "Golden Palace" Hotel, attended by accredited Arab and foreign diplomatic Corp there.
In his delivered word, Sleiman lauded Lebanese-Armenian relations deeply rooted in history, calling for bolstering these relations at the economic, cultural and touristic levels.
On the current incidents taking place in the Arab world, Sleiman hoped that these developments would move towards reforms and democracy based on modernization and preserving human rights and public liberties away from violence.
---------------L.Y

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - (Update) Feltman visits Rahi at Bkirki
 

Thu 8/12/2011 20:26

NNA - 8/12/2011 Maronite Patriarch Mar Bechara Boutros Rahi met Thursday at Bkirki with US Secretary of State Assistant for Middle Eastern Affairs Jaffrey Feltman.
US Ambassador to Lebanon Maura Connelly was present during the meeting.
Later, Ambassador Feltman met with Cardinal Mar Nasrallah Boutros Sfeir at Bkirki.
-------------L.Y

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Future: STL funding expresses Mikati's response to March 14 demands
 

Thu 8/12/2011 19:27

NNA - 08/12/2011 - Future Bloc said the government's paying the financial dues for the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) last week was a positive step that expressed Prime Minister Najib Mikati's response to March 14 demands as well as the Lebanese people's.

The Future's stance came Thursday in the context of its regular weekly meeting at the Sadat Tower in Beirut, under the chairmanship of Bloc Head Fouad Siniora.

The Future commented on what it termed as a militia behaviour by the status quo power in halting electricity generating at Al-Zahrani Power plant. The Future said that such chaos in performance would carry negative impact on the moral of citizens and distort the leverage of public institutions.

"The government, in its present condition, resembles a coalition of numerous governments controlled by the party of weapons and armed people that contributed to undermine the leverage of institutions," said the bloc.

----------------A.M.
 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Rahi meets with Feltman at Bkirki
 

Thu 8/12/2011 18:41

NNA - 8/12/2011 Maronite Patriarch Mar Bechara Boutros Rahi is currently meeting at Bkirki with US Secretary of State Assistant for Middle Eastern Affairs Jaffrey Feltman.
US Ambassador to Lebanon Maura Connelly is present during the meeting.
-------------L.Y

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Jumblatt, Feltman tackle latest developments
 

Thu 8/12/2011 18:34

NNA - 8/12/2011 Progressive Socialist Party (PSP) Head Walid Jumblatt met Thursday with US Secretary of State Assistant for Middle Eastern Affairs Jeffrey Feltman, where they tackled the latest political developments in Lebanon and the region, PSP Media Commission said in a statement.
Feltman arrived in Lebanon on Wednesday to meet with Lebanese officials.
US Ambassador to Lebanon Maura Connelly was also present during the meeting.
Jumblatt underlined the importance of internal Lebanese dialogue as a sole means to address standing divisive issues and extricating out of the current crisis. Jumblatt stressed the necessity of preserving stability and civil peace away from tension and strain.
-------------L.Y

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Layyoun signs with municipalities protocol for public libraries
 

Thu 8/12/2011 17:11

NNA - 08/12/2011 - Culture Minister Gaby Layyoun signed on Thursday a protocol of cooperation with 19 Lebanese municipalities for setting up public libraries across different Lebanese regions.

The protocol signing event came during a press conference for the minister at his office, in presence of the director general of Culture Ministry Omar Halablab and other dignitaries.

Layyoun gave a word during the event, highlighting the importance of reading in the growth of the future generation.
 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved



 

Politics - Mikati: crisis in region has no effect on Lebanon
 

Thu 8/12/2011 16:55


NNA - 08/12/2011 - Prime Minister Najib Mikati affirmed that the crisis in the Arab region would not negatively affect Lebanon, assuring that the country's stability was a priority with respect to the government.

Mikati's word came on Thursday in the context of a joint press conference with his Ukrainian counterpart Mikola Azarov. The conference came in the wake of Azarov's official visit to Mikati to discuss bilateral ties.

The Ukrainian Prime Minister, for his part, hailed Lebanon's success in preserving a good growth rate despite the world economic crisis, saying that such success was an indication that Lebanon was adopting wise policy in this concern.

The Ukrainian Prime Minister hoped that Lebanon would be that channel leading Ukraine to the Middle East region and Africa.

Separately, Mikati received at the Grand Serail deputy Prime Minister Samir Mokbel, with talks featuring high on the general situation.

Among the Grand Serail's visitors: Public Works and Transportation Minister Ghazi Aridi, a delegation of the International Monetary Fund and the Paraguayan Ambassador Hassan Daya.
 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved














 

Politics - Daouk underscores media freedom of expression
 

Thu 8/12/2011 16:20

NNA - 08/12/2011 - Information Minister Walid Daouk said the freedom of expression, which distinguished the Lebanese media, was the result of a long struggle that led during the Ottoman epoch to the martyrdom of prominent journalists.

�Accordingly, Daouk underscored the necessity of preserving, enhancing and safeguarding such freedom by all means so as to keep Lebanon the podium of the free and responsible expression, especially at the time that other countries were paying sacrifices for the purpose of achieving it.

Daouk's word came on Thursday in the context of a cultural seminar organized by Elysee School in Hazmieh on the challenges of modern media.
 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved







 

Politics - N. Gemayel for handing over accused of Hariri's murder for trial
 

Thu 8/12/2011 15:52

NNA - 08/12/2011 - Deputy Nadim Gemayel called upon those criticizing funding the Special Tribunal for Lebanon to haste to hand over the four Hizbullah members accused of being involved in the assassination of Martyr Rafic Hariri in 2005.

Gemayel's demand came in the context of a seminar he delivered on Thursday at Kataeb's office in Rmeil.

Gemayel warned of any tampering in regard to the protocol signed between Lebanon and the United Nations concerning the STL - probing the assassination of Hariri.

Separately, Gemayel visited Armenian Catholic Patriarch Narsis Bedros XIX at his Bishopric in Rmeil.
 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved






 

Politics - Bilateral military ties top talks between Qahwaji, Feltmen
 

Thu 8/12/2011 15:14

NNA - 08/12/2011 - Lebanese Army Chief General Jean Qahwaji received on Thursday at his office in Yarzeh Jeffrey Feltmen, with talks featuring high on enhancing bilateral military ties between Lebanon and the United States.

The meeting was attended by the U.S. Ambassador Maura Connelly.
 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


 

Politics - Rahi hands over media presidency to Matar
 

Thu 8/12/2011 14:02


NNA - 8/12/2011 - Maronite Patriarch, Bechara Boutros Rahi handed over to the Maronite Archbishop of Beirut Boulos Matar the presidency of the Bishop's media holding on this occasion a ceremony at Bkirki patriarchate in presence of religious figures and dignitaries.

Later, Patriarch Rahi respectively received former Ministers Wiaam Wahab and Ibrahim Shams Ed-Din with whom he tackled general situation.
D.K.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved



 

Politics - Safadi impels Congress to support Lebanon, urges for gearing up Lebanese army
 

Thu 8/12/2011 13:49

NNA - 8/12/2011 Finance Minister Mohammad Safadi impelled Thursday the U.S. Congress to politically support Lebanon.

During his visit to Washington and meeting with members of the Congress, Minister Safadi reiterated calls for gearing up the Lebanese army deeming this step as necessary to maintain stability and anchor state's power through its legitimate forces.

Safadi said Hezbollah's military role's regression is associated to the Lebanese army's ability to defend Lebanese territories and people and confront any possible aggression.
"This entails equipping the army with adequate weapons so it would become the sole security guarantee for Lebanon," he said.

Addressing Congress members, Safadi stressed the coalitionist aspect of the Lebanese government that has a reform and developmental program and has proven, more than once, to be competent to keep Lebanon's international obligations.

"Our government is not subject to orders from any country and has not been detained by Hezbollah which is practicing its role as any other party inside government," he remarked.

Congress members, in turn, pledged working on reinforcing supportive stance to economically back up Lebanon and gear up the army and all other legitimate forces.


L.W.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved

 
















 

Politics - Terro, UNDP delegation tackle developmental projects
 

Thu 8/12/2011 13:48

NNA - 8/12/2011 Displaced Minister Alaa Eddine Terro tackled Thursday developmental projects that ought to be conducted in Lebanese regions during his meeting with a delegation of the UNDP.

Terro also met with a delegation of Aaley region follow up committee with talks touching on the displaced return dossier.

L.W.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved
 



 

Politics - Berri tackles with Ukrainian MP two-sided commercial exchange
 

Thu 8/12/2011 13:41

NNA - 8/12/2011 - House Speaker Nabih Berri tackled Thursday with the Ukrainian Prime Minister, Mykola Azarov, accompanied by the Ukrainian Ambassador to Lebanon, Vladimir Koval, commercial exchange between the two countries announcing that trade has reached a ratio of USD one billion during the past nine months.

The Ukrainian delegation had arrived to Lebanon on Wednesday and so far met with Lebanese businessmen and governmental representatives. It had also held serious talks with the President of the Republic Michel Sleiman and House Speaker Nabih Berri.

In the wake of the meeting, Azarov shed light on the deep-rooted Lebanese-Ukrainian diplomatic ties, deeming special the relations between the two countries' people.

"We have tackled several projects of common interest, as to meet later with the Lebanese Prime Minister and some of Lebanon's businessmen who seek soliciting both countries' governments to adopt a visa-free system, establish a free trade zone (...) and execute a number of long-term projects for exporting food resources to Lebanon," the Prime Minister said.

Separately, Speaker Berri met at Ain El-Tineh residence with the US Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Jeffrey Feltman and the US ambassador to Lebanon Maura Connelly.

D.K.

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Politics - Rahi hands over media presidency to Matar
 

Thu 8/12/2011 14:02

NNA - 8/12/2011 - Maronite Patriarch, Bechara Boutros Rahi handed over to the Maronite Archbishop of Beirut Boulos Matar the presidency of the Bishop's media holding on this occasion a ceremony at Bkirki patriarchate in presence of religious figures and dignitaries.

Later, Patriarch Rahi respectively received former Ministers Wiaam Wahab and Ibrahim Shams Ed-Din with whom he tackled general situation.
D.K.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Safadi impels Congress to support Lebanon, urges for gearing up Lebanese army
 

Thu 8/12/2011 13:49
NNA - 8/12/2011 Finance Minister Mohammad Safadi impelled Thursday the U.S. Congress to politically support Lebanon.

During his visit to Washington and meeting with members of the Congress, Minister Safadi reiterated calls for gearing up the Lebanese army deeming this step as necessary to maintain stability and anchor state's power through its legitimate forces.

Safadi said Hezbollah's military role's regression is associated to the Lebanese army's ability to defend Lebanese territories and people and confront any possible aggression.
"This entails equipping the army with adequate weapons so it would become the sole security guarantee for Lebanon," he said.

Addressing Congress members, Safadi stressed the coalitionist aspect of the Lebanese government that has a reform and developmental program and has proven, more than once, to be competent to keep Lebanon's international obligations.

"Our government is not subject to orders from any country and has not been detained by Hezbollah which is practicing its role as any other party inside government," he remarked.

Congress members, in turn, pledged working on reinforcing supportive stance to economically back up Lebanon and gear up the army and all other legitimate forces.


L.W.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Terro, UNDP delegation tackle developmental projects
 

Thu 8/12/2011 13:48

NNA - 8/12/2011 Displaced Minister Alaa Eddine Terro tackled Thursday developmental projects that ought to be conducted in Lebanese regions during his meeting with a delegation of the UNDP.

Terro also met with a delegation of Aaley region follow up committee with talks touching on the displaced return dossier.

L.W.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Berri tackles with Ukrainian MP two-sided commercial exchange
 

Thu 8/12/2011 13:41

NNA - 8/12/2011 - House Speaker Nabih Berri tackled Thursday with the Ukrainian Prime Minister, Mykola Azarov, accompanied by the Ukrainian Ambassador to Lebanon, Vladimir Koval, commercial exchange between the two countries announcing that trade has reached a ratio of USD one billion during the past nine months.

The Ukrainian delegation had arrived to Lebanon on Wednesday and so far met with Lebanese businessmen and governmental representatives. It had also held serious talks with the President of the Republic Michel Sleiman and House Speaker Nabih Berri.

In the wake of the meeting, Azarov shed light on the deep-rooted Lebanese-Ukrainian diplomatic ties, deeming special the relations between the two countries' people.

"We have tackled several projects of common interest, as to meet later with the Lebanese Prime Minister and some of Lebanon's businessmen who seek soliciting both countries' governments to adopt a visa-free system, establish a free trade zone (...) and execute a number of long-term projects for exporting food resources to Lebanon," the Prime Minister said.

Separately, Speaker Berri met at Ain El-Tineh residence with the US Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Jeffrey Feltman and the US ambassador to Lebanon Maura Connelly.

D.K.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Safadi impels Congress to support Lebanon, urges for gearing up Lebanese army
 

Thu 8/12/2011 13:18

NNA - 8/7/2011 Finance Minister Mohammad Safadi impelled Thursday the U.S. Congress to politically support Lebanon.

During his visit to Washington and meeting with members of the Congress, Minister Safadi reiterated calls for gearing up the Lebanese army deeming this step as necessary to maintain stability and anchor state's power through its legitimate forces.

Safadi said Hezbollah's military role's regression is associated to the Lebanese army's ability to defend Lebanese territories and people and confront any possible aggression.
"This entails equipping the army with adequate weapons so it would become the sole security guarantee for Lebanon," he said.

Addressing Congress members, Safadi stressed the coalitionist aspect of the Lebanese government that has a reform and developmental program and has proven, more than once, to be competent to keep Lebanon's international obligations.

"Our government is not subject to orders from any country and has not been detained by Hezbollah which is practicing its role as any other party inside government," he remarked.

Congress members, in turn, pledged working on reinforcing supportive stance to economically back up Lebanon and gear up the army and all other legitimate forces.


L.W.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Abou Faour, Bakdash tackle wage increase
 

Thu 8/12/2011 12:51

NNA - 8/12/2011 - Social Affairs Minister Wael Abou Faour received Thursday the Deputy Head of the Lebanese Industrialists' Association Ziad Bakdash on top of a delegation of the association's board of directors, thanking him for approving the wage increase decree in yesterday's cabinet session.

Bakdash said the cabinet's decision was appropriate yet insufficient as providing subventions for gas oil and energy resources remains a must.

Separately, Abou Faour received his Emirati counterpart Mariam Muhammad Khalfan Al-Rumi accompanied by the UAE Ambassador to Lebanon Yussuf Ali Al-Osaimi.
D.K.
 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Berri meets Feltman
 

Thu 8/12/2011 12:37

NNA - 8/12/2011 - Speaker of the House Nabih Berri has been meeting since 12:15 pm at Ain el Tineh with U.S. assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs Jeffrey Feltman.
 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Sleiman meets Ukrainian Prime Minister and heads to Armenia
 

Thu 8/12/2011 12:34

NNA - 8/12/2011 - President Michel Sleiman met on Thursday before noon with Ukrainian Prime Minister Micolas Azarof and discussed bilateral ties between both countries and necessity to boost and activate cooperation on the economic level through investments.

Also, discussions focused on the situation in the region, where both sides stressed the necessity of democracy.

Sleiman thanked Ukraine for its contribution in the UNIFIL forces working in south Lebanon, pointing out to the necessity of bilateral cooperation in serving peace issues in the region and the world.

Sleiman sent his regards to the Ukrainian President and invited him to visit Lebanon, while Ukrainian PM also conveyed Sleiman an invitation to visit Ukraine.

The media office of President Michel Sleiman said that President Michel Sleiman and his wife left Beirut on Thursday noon heading to Armenia on an official three day visit accompanied by an official delegation.

President Michel Sleiman will hold a summit with his Armenian counterpart and will meet Armenia top officials in addition he will attend signing understanding memos in different fields.

A.A.M

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - (corrected) Khoreis: we reject Feltman's instructions
 

Thu 8/12/2011 12:30

NNA - 8/12/2011 - Deputy Ali Khoreis rebuffed Thursday the instructions and suggestions of the US Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, Jeffrey Feltman.

"We are all aware of the American-Israeli projects harbored for the region, and aimed at fragmenting and dividing states into statelets," he said.

The MP noted that the US administration is constantly protecting the Zionistic enemy before the Security Council and the United Nations, despite the fact that the whole world is witnessing the endless Israeli aggressions against human beings.

Khoreis said today's priority must be to reach a consent over the electoral law and the administrative appointments as these two topics bear no more procrastination.
D.K.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Khoreis: we reject Feltman's instructions
 

Thu 8/12/2011 12:17

NNA - 8/12/2011 - Deputy Ali Khoreis rebuffed Wednesday the instructions and suggestions of the US Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, Jeffrey Feltman.

"We are all aware of the American-Israeli projects harbored for the region, and aimed at fragmenting and dividing states into statelets," he said.

The MP noted that the US administration is constantly protecting the Zionistic enemy before the Security Council and the United Nations, despite the fact that the whole world is witnessing the endless Israeli aggressions against human beings.

Khoreis said today's priority must be to reach a consent over the electoral law and the administrative appointments as these two topics bear no more procrastination.
D.K.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Zahra: Change and Reform Ministers fail to support Nahhas
 

Thu 8/12/2011 12:11

NNA - 8/12/2011 - MP Antoine Zahra criticized Thursday Change and Reform bloc members for giving up on Minister Charbel Nahhas in his salaries' adjustment project.

Lebanese Forces member told Al-Sharek radio that no one is capable of keeping up with General Michel Aoun in his "authoritative and unrealistic project.

Citing evidence of his statements, Zahra said when Aon threatened to resign from Cabinet he hoped to have the support of 10 Ministers. however, Sleiman Franjieh and Talal Erslan voiced unpreparedness to boycott the session.

"Ability to respond to General Aoun is questionable especially when he began, along with Sayyed Nasrollah, after the STL funding was adopted, to obtain compensations for funding," he said.

MP did not fail to utter criticism to Syrian President Bashar Assad, saying that the problem in Syria lies in power decentralization.
"Assad does not own Syria as he does not have power on all Syrian people," Zahra said.


L.W.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Habib: Aoun is embarrassed before his supporters
 

Thu 8/12/2011 11:51

NNA - 8/12/2011 - Deputy Khouder Habib stressed that Deputy Michel Aoun is embarrassed before his supporters because every time he threatens to withdraw from the cabinet he suddenly back down.

The MP added that the majority insisted to keep the cabinet for reasons that are not related to the internal Lebanese, pointing out "what happened on Wednesday proves that there are no common points between the cabinet's parties".

On the other hand, the MP commented on Thursday to "Free Lebanon" radio on the interview of President Bahar Assad on Wednesday with ABC network, saying that "the Syrian leadership is confused due to the demonstrations that are taking place every day".

Habib called on the Syrian leadership to implement the Arab League's initiative.

A.A.M

NNA 2011 All rights reserved

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 


Politics - Fatfat: Aoun's fate in cabinet in Hizbullah and Assad's hand
 

Thu 8/12/2011 11:27

NNA - 8/12/2011 - Deputy Ahmad Fatfat stressed that Deputy Michel Aoun's fate in the cabinet is in the hand of Hizbullah and President Bashar Assad.

"Aoun is either playing the role of the deceived husband or is holding public maneuvering to maintain his popularity in a stage he is forced to present concessions", Fatfat said on Thursday to "Voice of Lebanon" -Freedom and Dignity radio.

Commenting on U.S. assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs Jeffrey Feltman's visit to Lebanon and Speaker of the House Nabih Berri setting a date to receive him, the MP said "Berri settled a date to meet Feltman for political communication and this shows that Hizbullah if forced to make concession in light of the situation in the region".

The MP pointed out that Prime Minister Najib Mikati's confirmation on Wednesday that there is no disagreement between him and Hizbullah, proves that Hizbullah agreed previously on STL funding because Syria wanted this.

A.A.M

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - N. Gemayel: more difficult issues than STL funding await cabinet
 

Thu 8/12/2011 11:07

NNA - 8/12/2011- Member of Parliament (MP)Nadim Gemayel said that the current cabinet won't last for long because there are more pending issues awaiting it than the Special Tribunal of Lebanon (STL) funding.

Speaking to "Voice of Lebanon" radio station, Gemayel said the cabinet is composed of different components , pointing out that "it is many ministries in one ministry, and the problem is what brings the parties of this cabinet together."

He added that the parties of the cabinet would try their best to preserve it because they would not be able to have a similar one if it were brought down.

Gemayel considered that "if the Prime Minister of the current cabinet were of March 14 forces, it would have been brought down long time ago,"
pointing out that the parties of this cabinet preferred funding the STL rather than bringing it down.

Gemayel said that they were aware that General Michel Aoun's threats would reach nowhere.

Talking about his visit to France, Gemayel said," we are taking part in the European People Party Conference in Marsillia, and we expect to have meetings today (Thursday) with countries' Presidents to see where the European countries' stand from Lebanon, in light of the 'Arab spring' that the region is witnessing."

L.Y.R/N.AF

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Hajjar: Approach of wage increases should happened in different way
 

Thu 8/12/2011 10:44

NNA - 8/12/2011 - Future bloc member Mohamad Hajjar criticized the cabinet's approach concerning wage increases, adding that it should have happened in different way.

He pointed out that increasing wages without looking at the overall economic situation might lead to economic recession.

"We are with wages increase but not in this manner", the MP added on Thursday to "Voice of Lebanon" radio.

Hajjar said that the current cabinet did not fulfill its entire duties on all aspects, "neither on the livelihood nor on the political aspects due to the contradictions among its parties".

A.A.M

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Charbel Nahhas: Our bloc refuses to be false witness in Cabinet
 

Thu 8/12/2011 10:41

NNA - 8/12/2011 - Labor Minister Charbel Nahhas told "Sawt al Mada" on Thursday that the Change and Reform bloc refuses to become a false witness in the Cabinet, stressing that there were major differences between his proposal to increase the salaries and the one which was approved by most of the ministers.

The minister argues that the new salary package endorsed by Cabinet is far below the expectation which was raised in his proposal and thus the Lebanese missed a great opportunity to enjoy full health care coverage.

"But we will continue our political path in an attempt to try to change the existing economic pattern," Nahhas said.

The minister insisted that the new salary package has seriously undermined the interest of the people.

He added that from now on the Change and Reform bloc will assess the best way to deal with any file which is submitted to the Cabinet.

Nahhas stressed that there has been a traditional habit in dealing with various files for the past 25 years and that his bloc was never part of this pattern and therefore refuses to be a false witness.

Asked about his proposal to slap taxes on real estate profits, Nahhas said this tax means that anyone who has money and make a profit from real estate transaction will soon realize that taxes on properties will rise and in return the prices will fall accordingly.

"This will allow the Lebanese youths to buy apartments and houses."

O.H

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - (UPDATED) Cabinet endorses salary increase plan
 

Wed 7/12/2011 21:56

NNA - 7/12/2011 - The Council of Ministers endorsed on Wednesday the newly proposed salary increase project law after Labor Minister Charbel Nahhas's salary increase plan failed to meet with GLC demands, NNA correspondent said.

The Council of Ministers convened in session at Baabda palace today presided by President of the Republic Michel Sleiman.

The adopted plan suggests the increase of 150,000 LP to the minimum wage and 275,000 LP to wages above 1000,000 LP.

Minister of Information Walid Daouk confirmed following the session the cabinet's endorsement of the salary increase plan.

He also said that the cabinet endorsed a decision to provide the Ministry of Higher Learning and Education 17 billion LP worth of treasury advance, covering the years 2007-2008. One billion and 37 million LP treasury advance has also been approved for the interest of the Ministry of Culture. Another treasury advance of 11 billion and 39 million Lebanese pounds has also been endorsed for the benefit of the Interior and Municipalities Ministry to cover the expenses of the General Security General Directorate.

Minister Daouk also indicated that Prime Minister Najib Mikati has set December 9 a date for the cabinet to convene at the Grand Serail and carry on discussions.
R.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Cabinet endorses salary increase plan
 

Wed 7/12/2011 20:38

NNA - 7/12/2011 - The Council of Ministers endorsed on Wednesday the newly proposed salary increase project law after Labor Minister Charbel Nahhas's salary increase plan failed to meet with GLC demands, NNA correspondent said.
R.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Assistant Secretary Jeffrey Feltman visits Lebanon
 

Wed 7/12/2011 19:22

NNA - 5/12/2011 - Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Jeffrey Feltman arrived in Lebanon on Wednesday and met with senior officials to discuss the political and security situation in Lebanon, developments in Syria, and other regional issues.

Ambassador Feltman and U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon Maura Connelly met with Prime Minister Najib Mikati and delivered a letter from U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton welcoming Lebanon's action to fund the Special Tribunal for Lebanon. He noted the importance of Lebanon's continued cooperation with the Tribunal and of Lebanon upholding its international obligations under United Nations Security Council Resolutions 1559 and 1701.

He renewed the United States' commitment to a stable, sovereign and independent Lebanon. Ambassador Feltman underscored the U.S. Administration's support to strengthening Lebanon and Lebanon's institutions, including the Lebanese Armed Forces, recognizing its importance in serving as Lebanon's sole legitimate defense force, securing Lebanon's borders and defending the sovereignty and independence of the state.

Ambassador Feltman discussed regional developments with the Prime Minister, consulting with him on a range of issues, including the situation in Syria. Ambassador Feltman shared the grave concerns of the United States for the people of Syria and our desire to see the Syrian government end its brutality against them immediately. He highlighted U.S. concerns that developments in Syria not contribute to instability in Lebanon or in other countries in the region. US Assistant Secretary of State Jeffrey Feltman Visits Lebanon

Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Jeffrey Feltman arrived in Lebanon today and met with senior officials to discuss the political and security situation in Lebanon, developments in Syria, and other regional issues.

Ambassador Feltman and U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon Maura Connelly met with Prime Minister Najib Mikati and delivered a letter from U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton welcoming Lebanon's action to fund the Special Tribunal for Lebanon. He noted the importance of Lebanon's continued cooperation with the Tribunal and of Lebanon upholding its international obligations under United Nations Security Council Resolutions 1559 and 1701.

He renewed the United States' commitment to a stable, sovereign and independent Lebanon. Ambassador Feltman underscored the U.S. Administration's support to strengthening Lebanon and Lebanon's institutions, including the Lebanese Armed Forces, recognizing its importance in serving as Lebanon's sole legitimate defense force, securing Lebanon's borders and defending the sovereignty and independence of the state.

Ambassador Feltman discussed regional developments with the Prime Minister, consulting with him on a range of issues, including the situation in Syria. Ambassador Feltman shared the grave concerns of the United States for the people of Syria and our desire to see the Syrian government end its brutality against them immediately. He highlighted U.S. concerns that developments in Syria not contribute to instability in Lebanon or in other countries in the region.
 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Lebanon's challenges political reforms, civil peace, and stability: Sleiman
 

Wed 7/12/2011 19:08

NNA - 7/12/2011 President of the Republic General Michel Sleiman said that prime challenges facing Lebanon nowadays lie in fortifying the nation's civil peace, preserving stability and realizing political reforms.
President Sleiman's words came in an interview he accorded to Armenian Television, on the eve of his departure to Yerevan, upon an official visit to Armenia at the invitation of his Armenian Counterpart Serge Serkisian.
"Challenges on the domestic scene also lie in reforming economic, administrative and judiciary system", Sleiman said, outlining Lebanon's challenges at the international and regional levels as well.
On the international level, Sleiman said that Lebanon's challenges lie in keeping abreast with new globalization climate and confrontation of terrorism and fanaticism.
On the regional level, Lebanon's challenges are based on following up on democratic transformations taking place in the Arab region, facing Israeli occupation and the question of peace in the Middle East, Sleiman noted.
Sleiman also saluted the great role played by the Armenian sect in Lebanon in the various political, social, media, cultural and economic spheres.
Sleiman also anticipated great outcome of his visit to the Armenian capital, saying that bilateral Lebanese-Armenian relations deeply anchor in history dating back to the Phoenician times.
"We [Lebanon] look forward to bolstering and developing these relations through the signature of new protocols and agreements", Sleiman said, looking forward to political support exchange between the two countries.
----------------L.Y

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Ukrainian PM arrives in Beirut
 

Wed 7/12/2011 18:50

NNA - 7/12/2011 - Ukrainian Prime Minister, Mikalo Azarov, arrived Wednesday in Beirut, where he is scheduled to engage in talks with Lebanese officials.

Deputy Prime Minister, Samir Moqbel, representing Premier Najib Mikati, and Ukrainian ambassador to Lebanon, Vladimir Koval, received the visiting PM at Beirut International Airport.


R.A.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Cabinet meets in session at Baabda
 

Wed 7/12/2011 17:48

NNA - 7/12/2011 The Cabinet meets in a regular session at Baabda Presidential Palace, presided over by President Michel Sleiman, in presence of Prime Minister Najib Mikati and Cabinet ministers.
The Cabinet looks into 123 items on its agenda in addition to other stringent issues in need of adequate decisions.
Speaking to media representatives prior to Cabinet session, Public Health Minister Ali Hassan Khalil said he shall raise the issue of supporting diesel with the approach of the winter season and the purchasing of olive oil products.
On the other hand, "Change and Reform" Bloc ministers held a meeting at one of the Palace's General Directorate's bureaus, to coordinate stance prior to Cabinet session.
The Cabinet session was preceded by a closed meeting between President Sleiman and Premier Mikati where they tackled the general situation.
 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved






 

Politics - Feltman from Grand Serail: STL funding is positive mark by Lebanon
 

Wed 7/12/2011 17:43

NNA - 007/12/2011 - Jeffrey Feltmen said on Wednesday Lebanon's funding the Special Tribunal for Lebanon was a positive signal that indicated its [Lebanon's] commitment to international obligations, like the UN Security Council Resolution 1701 and others.

Feltman's words came after visiting at the Grand Serail Prime Minister Najib Mikati. Feltman highlighted the "international consensus" regarding the several countries which met over finding peaceful ways to press on Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime to turn down its war against the Syrian public.

It is to note that EU Ambassador Angelina Eichhorst met yesterday Tuesday with Mikati, according to a statement by the EU Commission.

The EU welcomed Lebanon's paying the Special Tribunal for Lebanon's financial dues.

The statement added that the EU was looking forward to deepening relation with Lebanon, for the purpose of accomplishing a positive change concerning daily life matters of citizens.
 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics -(corrected) Inauguration of 35th conference of Arab police, security chiefs
 

Wed 7/12/2011 17:05

NNA - 7/12/2011 - The 35th conference of Arab police and security chiefs kicked off Wednesday at Le Royal Hotel, in presence of Minister of Interior and Municipalities Marwan Charbel representing Lebanese President Michel Sleiman, Internal Security Forces Chief, Major General Ashraf Rifi, and a panel of Arab and Lebanese personalities.

Speaking on the President's behalf, Minister Charbel said hosting this conference in Lebanon, amid the unrest sweeping neighboring nations, mirrored the country's immunity and the support of the Arab countries for Lebanon.

"Lebanon made a huge step forward on the level of the instructions voiced during the former 34th conference, as it [Lebanon] scored an accomplishment in the field of fighting human trafficking," he said.

He also heaped praise on the professionalism of the Lebanese security forces, namely with respect to serial crimes and fighting terrorism and espionage.

The Minister did not fail to call Arab police and security chiefs to join efforts and develop cooperation so as to face present challenges.

Jordan, UAE, Tunisia, KSA, Algeria, Sudan, Iraq, Oman Sultanate, Palestine, Qatar, Kuwait, Mauritania, Morocco, and Egypt were among participants in today's conference.



R.A.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved















 

Politics - Daoouk condemns attack on Orthodox Bishopric
 

Wed 7/12/2011 16:42

NNA - 07/12/2011 - Information Minister Walid Daouk condemned on Wednesday the recent theft attack against the Greek-Orthodox Bishopric in Ashrafieh.

Daouk's condemnation came in the wake of his visit to Metropolitan Elias Audi at the bishopric in Ashrafieh.

The Minister said he discussed with the host local and regional developments as well as media affairs.

Separately, Metropolitan Audi received the Greek Ambassador Catherine Bora on a protocol visit, and he later on met with the Attorney Michel Tueini.
 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved





 

Politics - inauguration of 35th conference of Arab police, security chiefs
 

Wed 7/12/2011 16:13

NNA - 7/12/2011 - The 35th conference of Arab police and security chiefs kicked off Wednesday at Le Royal Hotel, in presence of Minister of Interior and Municipalities Marwan Charbel representing Lebanese President Michel Sleiman, Internal Security Forces Chief, Major General Ashraf Rifi, and a panel of Arab and Lebanese personalities.

Speaking on the President's behalf, Minister Charbel said hosting this conference in Lebanon, amid the unrest sweeping neighboring nations, mirrored the country's immunity and the support of the Arab countries for Lebanon.

"Lebanon made a huge step forward on the level of the instructions voiced during the former 34th conference, as it [Lebanon] scored an accomplishment in the field of fighting human trafficking," he said.

He also heaped praise on the professionalism of the Lebanese security forces, namely with respect to serial crimes and fighting terrorism and espionage.

The Minister did not fail to call Arab police and security chiefs to join efforts and develop cooperation so as to face present challenges.

Jordan, UAE, Tunisia, KSA, Algeria, Sudan, Iraq, Oman Sultanate, Palestine, Qatar, Kuwait, Mauritania, Morocco, and Egypt were among participants in today's conference.



R.A.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved















 

Politics - Sleiman meets Mikati prior to cabinet session
 

Wed 7/12/2011 16:00

NNA 07/12/2011 - President of the Lebanese Republic, General Michel Sleiman, met on Wednesday at Baabda Palace with Prime Minister Najib Mikati over recent developments at the local and regional scene. The meeting came prior to the cabinet session scheduled to take place today.
 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Kahwaji, Ibrahim discuss judicial affairs
 

Wed 7/12/2011 15:40

NNA - 07/12/2011 - Lebanese Army Commander, General Jean Kahwaji, met over judicial affairs with Financial General Prosecutor, Judge Ali Ibrahim.

The meeting was held on Wednesday at Kahwaji's office in Yarzeh in presence of Judges Toni Lattouf, Dani Chebli and Ghassan Mohti.
 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Erslan heaps praise on Berri's initiatives
 

Wed 7/12/2011 15:16

NNA - 7/12/2011 MP Talal Erslan uttered support Wednesday to House Speaker Nabih Berri over the latter's national initiatives.

The Lebanese Democratic Party head deemed such initiatives as a constitutional and legal guarantee to keep institutions' work on track, during his visit to Berri today at Ain-El-Tineh.

Asked about a possible new dialogue initiative, Erslan said the hindrances country could no longer linger over Lebanon due to the absence of dialogue.

"Boycotting dialogue sessions is unjustified," he said.

On the topic of Sayyed Nasrollah's call for handling false witnesses' dossier, Erslan said leaving this matter unsolved was disgraceful "especially when we are all aware of political vengeance STL was used for."


L.W.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - FPM ministers to attend today's cabinet session, says Aoun
 

Wed 7/12/2011 15:14

NNA - 7/12/2011 - MP Michel Aoun on Wednesday announced that the Free Patriotic Movement's ministers would attend today's cabinet session, in an effort to pass a law on wages adjustment, put forth by Labor Minister, Charbel Nahas.

Aoun's decision today is expected to be the stepping-stone of a better government performance, two weeks after FPM ministers boycotted a cabinet session at Baabda palace in protest at what they term as the government's poor performance since its formation in June. Their backlash was mainly at selected items on the agenda including 2012 draft budgets for ministries, a draft project by the Defense Minister to arm the military and other development and investment projects.



R.A.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - March 14 attacks Hizbullah, Amal over Zahrani power "piracy"
 

Wed 7/12/2011 15:05

NNA - 07/12/2011 - March 14 attacked what they termed as "piracy" practiced by Hizbullah and Amal Movement against Zahrani power plant, which led last week to stoppage in the generation of electricity.
March 14 Movement's attack came on Wednesday in the context of its regular weekly meeting at its headquarters in Ashrafieh, partaken by a number of March 14 deputies.
The Movement said the stoppage caused citizens in the region lot of harms, deeming "Hizbullah's" and "Amal's" action as militia aiming at striking the state's logic and taking hold of public institutions.
Accordingly, the movement urged Energy and Water Minister, Gibran Bassil, who denounced the stoppage, to take necessary procedures against those who caused the action, or else, according to the movement, it would be better for the minister to resign from his post.
Turning to the Syrian crisis affair, the movement called upon the Arab States League and the international community to haste to adopt procedures that liberate the Syrian public from the oppressive regime of President Bashar Assad.
Eventually, March 14 called for attending a mass service for late Gebran Tweini in commemoration of his martyrdom, on Sunday (12:00 p.m.) at Greek-Orthodox Saint Georges Church, Nejmeh Square, Ashrafieh.

A.M./P.BC.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - N.Gemayel hails Lebanon's pioneering regional role
 

Wed 7/12/2011 14:40

NNA - 7/12/2011 MP Nadim Gemayel Wednesday extolled the pioneering role of Lebanon in the region to create an open democratic system.

Representing his country during the European People's Party Congress held in Marseille, France, the MP put emphasis on the importance of enriching cultural exchange with Europe so as to eliminate emigration to Europe.

"My duty as Member of Parliament is to work for eliminating emigration," he said.

Gemayel said if Arab revolutions manage to create democratic systems, the number of emigrants shall no doubt decrease.
He then drew attention to cooperation between countries on both sides of the Mediterranean for it promotes the return of expatriates to the fold.

Also, Gemayel said Levantine Christians and Muslims ought to gather around common ground and avoid fundamentalist stances.


L.W.
 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Safadi: U.S. administration should help Lebanon
 

Wed 7/12/2011 14:18

NNA - 7/12/2011 - Finance Minister Mohammed Safadi held an extended meeting in Washington with Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, Elizabeth Dibble. During the meeting, Safadi told Dibble that it is essential that the United States help Lebanon politically and economically and provide the Lebanese Army with the equipment needed to insure security at this disturbed stage in the region.

Safadi stressed that the Lebanese people was committed to their freedom and would like to enhance democracy in Lebanon, pointing out that "the current cabinet is determined to succeed in accomplishing its mission."

In her turn, Dibble said that the U.S. Administration had no intention to stop providing Lebanon with aids, pointing out that most of the officials in the administration as well as in congress wanted to support Lebanon, especially that the general atmosphere had changed now after the decisions that were taken by the Lebanese cabinet.

Separately, Safadi discussed with Dibble the significant changes that are taking place in the Arab countries, mainly in Egypt and Syria and the effect of that on the situation in Lebanon.

L.Y.R/N.AF

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Sleiman Bound to Armenia
 

Wed 7/12/2011 13:53

NNA - 7/12/2011 Lebanese President Michel Sleiman is scheduled to visit Armenia heading a parliamentary and ministerial delegation.

Accompanied with his wife, the President shall meet with his Armenian counterpart as well as other senior officials during this two-day visit.

Besdides, Sleiman convened Wednesday with Youth and Sports Minister Faysal Karami with whom he engaged in talks concerning most recent developments.

Sleiman also received a delegation of the International Association of Lions Clubs presided by Wing-Kun.

The delegation briefed Sleiman on the associations' activities and services on the local scene.


L.W.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Maronite bishops' extol Lebanon's triumph over STL issue
 

Wed 7/12/2011 13:40

NNA - 7/12/2011 Maronite Bishops Wednesday hailed Lebanon's overcoming to the Special Tribunal for Lebanon funding crisis.

Following their gathering, Bishops said the funding kicked out STL spectrum of tension with the international community as it eliminated Lebanon's power crisis.
Bishops have also supported the right of people to decide their fate, and to choose their adequate system of governance and expressed concern over the security situation in Syria, fearing it might degenerate into more violence.

In their statement, Maronite bishops reiterated support to Arab brothers by committing to national pact stipulations and not throughout transferring tensions and schisms inside Lebanese ground.


L.W.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Wehb�: Nasrallah's speech lost credibility
 

Wed 7/12/2011 13:28

NNA - 7/12/2011- Member of Parliament Amin Wehb� said, in comment on Hizbullah Secretary General Al-Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah's speech on Ashoura's memorial on Tuesday, that the language of accusing citizens and political forces of treason had been consumed and lost credibility. He pointed out that the culture of the Arab and the Lebanese people had significantly exceeded that.

Speaking to "Radio Orient" radio station, Wehb� said, "with sorrow, I heard Al-Sayyed Nasrallah congratulates and blesses the Tunisian and Libyan people's revolutions on their victory ..... as well as, the Egyptian, Yemeni and Bahraini peoples, but when he talked about Syria he acted as if the Syrian people doesn't have the right to enjoy freedom."

Commenting on Syrian President's words in which he denied his responsibility regarding violence and ownership of Syria, Wehb� said, "that's true, he surely doesn't own Syria and we believe in that because Syria is owned by the Syrian people....."

Wehb� added "if he (the Syrian President) said that he is not responsible, then he can't shoulder the responsibility of his people and that of the leadership his country....Accordingly, he should do what he must when he became unable of protecting his people from the suppressing and killing machine..."

Responding to a question, Wehb� said that March 14 forces insist on a political, democratic, peaceful, confrontation and that they would not cave to violence.

He added that they (March 14 forces) commit to their main program and cause to provide the Lebanese with an independent state which enjoys sovereignty, pointing out that they insist on reaching that objective through dialogue.

L.Y.R/N.AF

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Kabbara: Zahrani issue unveils lack of authority
 

Wed 7/12/2011 12:43

NNA - 7/12/2011 - MP Mohammad Kabbara said Wednesday that obscurity resulting from Zahrani plant issue has shed light on the lack of Lebanese governance and authority.

Kabbara said in a statement that Lebanese government is incapable of protecting its citizens and, besides Zahrani issue, it has proved to be incapable of ensuring proper telecommunications for its people.
"Zahrani and Alfa telecom company issues revealed corruption transactions government members are responsible for," he said.


L.W.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved

 

 


Politics - Nasrallah's appearance to lift his public's morals
 

Wed 7/12/2011 12:36

NNA - 7/12/2011 - Member of Parliament Ahmed Fatfat told "Future News" that the speech of Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah has torpedoed the entire dialogue when he categorically rejected any discussion on arms.

"He (Nasrallah) felt the need to boost the morale of his supporters after the funding for the Special Tribunal for Lebanon was secured and for this reason he decided to appear personally among the public and this was seen as a publicity stunt," Fatfat added.

He stressed that Nasrallah's comments on the developments in the Arab world and particularly Syria has proved beyond any shadow of doubt that he would fight along the side of Syrian President Bashar Assad and his regime.

"He (Nasrallah) is accusing the Syrian opposition of treason and this is an intervention in the Syrian affairs," the MP argued.

O.H

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Feltman arrives to Beirut
 

Wed 7/12/2011 12:25

NNA - 7/12/2011 - U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for the near East Jeffrey Feltman arrived on Wednesday at 12:15 am to Rafik Hariri International Airport coming from Amman.

U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon Maura Connelly received him on the airport.

A.A.M

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Mansour urges monitoring borders with Syria
 

Wed 7/12/2011 11:56

NNA - 7/12/2011 - Foreign and Expatriates Minister Adnan Mansour stressed on Wednesday while meeting with Syrian Ambassador to Lebanon Ali Abdel Karim Ali at the ministry the necessity to monitor Lebanese-Syrian borders and prevent weapons smuggling.

Discussions also focused on bilateral ties between both countries.

Ali said after the meeting "Syria assures all people that it is heading towards reform steps next week".

The Ambassador did not respond when asked about Arab League's reaction to Syria's acceptance to the protocol project.

Mansour later met with Arab-Italian friendship center delegation and discussed the center's economic and humanitarian projects in the Arab world, particularly in Lebanon.

A.A.M

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - W. Khoury: Positive approach towards attending cabinet's session
 

Wed 7/12/2011 11:44

NNA - 7/12/2011-Member of Parliament (MP) Walid Khoury said that they did not finalize yet the issue of attending the cabinet's session today (Wednesday). However, he added that their approach towards this (matter) is positive.

Speaking to "Voice of Lebanon -Voice of Freedom and Dignity", the MP mentioned that citizens' issues, mainly the wages increase, represent Change and Reform bloc demands which it had worked for.

Khoury hoped that "Prime Minister Najib Mikati would respond to citizens' concerns."

L.Y.R/N.AF

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Nicolas Nahhas urges to discuss issues on common ground
 

Wed 7/12/2011 10:57

NNA - 7/12/2011 - Economy Minister Nicolas Nahhas called on all sides to discuss issues on common ground because pressure is useless.

The minister stressed that Wednesday's cabinet session still exists in case quorum is complete.

Nahhas pointed out that funding STL is a conviction for people and all sides, adding that "Prime Minister Najib Mikati took the decision and funded tribunal because of his conviction and for the interest of Lebanon".

"Lebanon's interest is not subject to bargaining and could not be so", the minister stressed.

A.A.M

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - De Freij: Government quarrels not born yesterday
 

Wed 7/12/2011 10:06

NNA - 7/12/2011 - MP Nabil De Freij said Wednesday that quarrels between government components were not born yesterday but they have been ongoing ever since the government was formed.

"Government lacks a clear and unified economic vision as two contradictory schools prevail; the first belongs to Njaib Mikati and Nicolas Nahhas whereas the second goes to Charbel Nahhas and Hezbollah," the MP told Voice of Lebanon.

Also on the economic level, De Freij presumed that economic bodies shall reject Minister Nahhas's project.

"If wage increase is ever adopted, the Lebanese pound's purchasing power shall decrease," he warned.

L.W.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Awar: It's time to abandon appointment distribution
 

Wed 7/12/2011 10:03

NNA - 7/12/2011 - Member of Parliament Fadi al Awar told Voice of Lebanon that the time has come to abandon the tradition of distributing the government administrative positions by political parties and blocs.

He added that other ministers from the Change and Reform bloc many join the ministers of MP Michel Aoun if the latter decided to boycott the cabinet session today.

"State Minister Marwan Kahyereldin expressed willingness to take part in today's session but the final decision on participation will be taken today," the MP explained.

He admitted the core of differences within the Cabinet lies in file of administrative appointments.

"We have a duty to start making all the appointments because this issue will activate all the remaining files and most notably the file of the false witnesses," Awar said.

But the MP warned that if Prime Minister Najib Mikati refused to appoint the head of the higher judicial council then this would reflect negatively on the false witnesses file.

"I think the time has come to put an end to allocating the administrative appointments (by politicians). What is needed now is to serve the interest of the Lebanese," he said.

O.H

NNA 2011 All rights reserved
 


Politics - Maronite bishops' monthly meeting starts
 

Wed 7/12/2011 09:48

NNA - 7/12/2011 - Maronite Bishops Council monthly meeting convened on Wednesday at Bkirki chaired by Patriarch Beshara Rai to discuss national and church affairs.

A.A.M

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Zahra: It's time to boycott cabinet
 

Wed 7/12/2011 09:45

NNA - 7/12/2011 - "Lebanese Forces" bloc member Deputy Antoine Zahra said that it is time for March 14 to start thinking of boycotting the cabinet.

The MP added that the common point between Hizbullah Secretary General Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah and the position of Change and Reform head Deputy Michel Aoun is undermining the citizens' minds.

Zahra stressed on Wednesday to "Free Lebanon" radio that after the funding of STL in Martyr Rafik Hariri's assassination it is clear through Sayyed Nasrallah's speech that there are demands of compensations for funding after they were not able to stop it.

The MP confirmed that "the Syrian regime told the majority to accept funding in order to stay in power".

"Lebanese Syrian borders are not monitored and not under control and are subject to daily violations from the Syrian army", Zahra stressed.

Commenting on Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah's speech concerning his party's attachment to weapons, the MP said, "no other issue but the weapons would be discussed in the dialogue table".

A.A.M

NNA 2011 All rights reserved

 

 

 

 

 


 


Politics - Jumblatt returns to Beirut
 

Tue 6/12/2011 21:42

NNA - 6/12/2011 - National Struggle Front Head, MP Walid Jumblatt, returned to Beirut Tuesday, following a visit to Erbil in Iraq.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Aoun: Decision to partake in cabinet session to be taken Wednesday
 

Tue 6/12/2011 21:39

NNA - 6/12/2011 - Change and Reform Parliamentary Bloc Head, MP Michel Aoun, stated Tuesday that the government's situation is complicated and static, engulfed within a great number of obstacles facing it. He added that the decision to partake in the cabinet session scheduled for Wednesday has not been taken yet, since the manner in which demands by the Bloc have been approached is incorrect, Aoun noted. He considered it unacceptable herein to approve of certain developmental projects of benefit to the Lebanese society, on one hand, and then venture into placing obstacles in the path of executing said projects, on the other hand!
Aoun's words came following the weekly meeting by the Change and Reform Bloc Tuesday. He indicated that the decision whether or not to attend Wednesday's cabinet session will be taken tomorrow. He added that the Bloc has neither decided on whether to resign from, or boycott, the cabinet, since there are several measures to be taken prior to such a decision.
Aoun went on to stress that the Free Patriotic Trend actually derives its authority from its wide representation at the popular level. He added that the country's leadership cannot be handed-over to those lacking the proper representation nor the prerogatives to administer the state's affairs. He also voiced total rejection of any attempt to cover-up violations. Furthermore, Aoun refused any accusation against his Bloc as targeting any sect in the country.
R.Sh.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Al-Rai meets with a number of delegations
 

Tue 6/12/2011 20:06

NNA - 6/12/2011 - Maronite Patriarch Bshara Butros Al-Rai met Tuesday with a delegation of Beirut philanthropic social gathering members, who came to raise a number of social and humanitarian issues. They praised the role played by Patriarch Al-Rai in boosting social work in Lebanon.
Al-Rai also met Tuesday evening with Parliament Council Inspector General, Abdel-Raouf Hijazi, who relayed to him the greetings of House Speaker, Nabih Berry.
Head of the Catholic Bishopric Council's legal committee for family matters, Archimandrite Charbel Hakim, also called on the Patriarch Tuesday, briefing him on the work of the special committee involved in following-up on various matters with committees concerned at the House of Parliament.
R.Sh.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Feltman arrives in Beirut Wednesday noon
 

Tue 6/12/2011 19:15

NNA - 6/12/2011 - American Secretary of State's Aid for Far East Affairs, Jeffery Feltman, is expected to arrive in Beirut Wednesday noon, coming from the Jordanian Capital, Amman.
R.Sh.
 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Mikati/Daouk inspecting Arab Book Fair
 

Tue 6/12/2011 17:30

NNA - 6/12/2011 - Lebanese PM Najeeb Mikati and Information minister Waleed Daouk, inspected Arab Book Fair pavilions at Biel/Downtown Beirut today.

They were met by head of Book Fair Arab Cultural Club-organizers Fadi Tameem, who briefed them over activities undertaken by the 55th Arab International Book Fair due to last till December 15.

Mikati and Daouk reportedly enquired about latest publications by various participating publishing firms.
G.G.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Yazbeck extolling party rockets on Achoura
 

Tue 6/12/2011 16:04

NNA - 6/12/2011- Special Khaminaii Representative to Lebanon and Senior Hizbullah cleric , Mohammad Yazbeck extolled the "beauty of rockets in Hizbullah possession" saying they were in his blood life and raison d'�tre.

Speaking at a Baalbeck Achoura parade with tens of thousands marching in full Hizbullah paraphernalia of flags and banners, Cleric Yazbeck exclaimed as to how the trio of party, army and people could be so beautifully united and geared to Jihad on such a highly significant religious occasion .

Invited to the event were lading Hizbullah clerics and officials, Party and Amal MPs , local municipal heads and a few Christian dignitaries from the Baalbeck area , Marchers took from the Khawla mausoleum to Rass Al-Ain with full priors at the death of Hussein with cleric Yazbeck making his speech.

He urged his flock to learn the lessons of Hussein in order to fight oppression in quest of dignity .

He reiterated party resistance to "global arrogance " led by the US .

Yazbeck paid tribute to slam Hizbullah leaders at the hands of Israel , Abbas Moussawi and Ragheb Harb.

He echoed Hassan Nasrallah when he added that his party took initiative in 1982
The senior cleric felt sorry for not fitting Israel and America before 1982 because party divinely inspired man could have head scored an early victory for the Lebanese and Arabs .

He vowed to liberate the hall of Palestine by fitting on the side of Moujahedeen there in order to prevent the implantation of refugees in Lebanon .

He added that blood sacrifices were stronger than UN vetoes. Yazbech beseeched the ALMIGHTY ONE to preserve and protect the Syrian regime for its backing of its party .

Well favoring regime negotiating with the opposition, Yazbeck rejected calls for International intervention in Syria .

He ended that Zilzal, Raad and Khaibar rockets deter Israel from attacking Lebanon calling for rearming of the Lebanese military.

G.G/N.AF

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Nasrallah gives speech on Ashoura Day
 

Tue 6/12/2011 14:27

NNA - 6/12/2011- Scores of thousands of Hizbullah supporters gathered in the Raya stadium in southern Beirut to hear Hizbullah Leader Hassan Nasrallah speaking on the tenth of Moharram or Achoura.

Nasrallah eventually, and to the surprise of cheering supporters, made a brief appearance in person only to address them later via video link on a giant screen.

Nasrallah devoted his brief appearance to speak about the religious significance of the martyrdom of Imam Hussein at the hands of the Umayyads on the tenth of Moharram in Karbala twelve centuries ago.

He thanked and saluted his supporters for their loyalty and offered condolences to the House of Hussein. The Hizbullah Chief vowed to continue on the path of the Prophet, Imam Hussein and Khaminaii till the end of time.

Politically speaking, Nasrallah perceived in the US-Israeli project the real threat to Lebanon, Arabs and Muslims regardless of who might come to the White House; he launched a virulent attack on the US double standards calling the Americans usurpers.

He accused them of acting deceptively on Human Rights issues since they backed the worst Arab dictators. Nasrallah qualified the Koranic text as perfectly applying to the definition of a devilish America. He went as far as calling the Obama Administration purely "Satanic" in character, and exposed the hypocritical character of Obama who simply let down all dictators.

To make his point, Nasrallah quoted in length Obama's address of support before the Jewish lobby.The senior cleric added that the CIA under Obama turned into a Mossad subcontractor.

He went as far as saying that the United States itself occupies Jerusalem and tortured Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank. So for Nasrallah, America did not only occupy Arab lands but usurped Arab oil.

He proclaimed America's project for a new Middle East still alive and kicking through concocted strife, (tribal and regional) in order to maintain its control of the region.

He reiterated Khamenai's injunction "Fatwa" to respect the dignity of other religious confessions and stressed Jerusalem as the core issue for all Arabs and Muslims. Nasrallah added that the Israelis use to their advantage current unrest in the Arab world to deal a blow to Jerusalem. Again he stressed that the Palestine question is part of his party's integral religious beliefs.

Nasrallah devoted the second part of his speech to speak about the Arab Spring in Tunisia, Libya, Yemen, Bahrain and Egypt. He expressed hope for Islamists of those countries to live up to their peoples' expectations. With regards to Egypt, he hoped that new changes in that country would bring about serious challenges to Camp David.

He warned against what he termed mainstream media blackout on the victory of the Iraqi people over the Americans and brought to attention that resistance and steadfastness cost the US a high price with the US leaving the country utterly defeated. He urged supportive media to highlight this major Iraqi victory over the Americans.

With reference to Syria, Nasrallah decided to adopt an outright pro-regime stance after waiting for a while. He proclaimed full support for what he termed as "anti-corruption regime drive" blaming opposition bent on destroying Syria and accused the Americans of striving to make- up for their losses in Iraq.

On the Syrian National Council headed by Bourhan Ghalioun, Nasrallah accused him of irreligion and quoted him as saying that the Golan could be liberated through diplomatic means only. He then shifted to attack Syrian Islamists bent on marching against him here in Lebanon. He added that Syrian oppositionists targeted the Assad regime in order to secure its surrender to the US and Israel. The Hizbullah leader also accused the Syrian opposition of being Israeli American /stooges. In the event of International navies attacking us or the Syrians, Nasrallah issued a stern warning to destroy all of those ships amassed offshore.
On Lebanon, he linked the country integrally to its surroundings while insisting on what he termed as maintaining Lebanese stability. He denied any Hizbullah taking of any Syrian wounded as hostages in order to hand them over to the regime, and chose to ignore this issue all together. He reiterated full backing to Aounist claims on Mikati and decided to reactivate so -called false witnesses who caused the prosecution of the four security chiefs.

Criticizing the Lebanese oppositionists' attitude on false witnesses, Nasrallah reiterated upholding the trio of party, Army and people.

In his final warning, Nasrallah vowed to maintain party arsenal of weaponry fully intact despite media campaign by the opposition. "With the increase of our arms," he said, "our self confidence grows by the day." He called Israelis and Lebanese oppositionists "devils engaging in deception," and added that the only weapons that need to be organized or discussed are those small fire arms in possession of ordinary people.

He added a note that Raad and Zilzal rockets with a range beyond Tel-Aviv would be kept and increased. The senior religious leader concluded that his party decided to take the initiative back in 1982 in order to restore Lebanese pride and dignity never to back off or retreat.

He stressed that he is nearly following in the path of the Imams and that tens of thousands of loyalists are ready to be martyred. "We shall surprise them all if and when attacked because things have changed beyond recognition now. We shall have victory drawn from your sacrifice and blood... O dear Imam, Labaika Ya Hussein."

G.G/N.AF

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Hamdan from Rabieh: Mikati endorses corruption
 

Tue 6/12/2011 14:10

NNA - 06/12/2011 Head of Change and Reform Bloc MP Michel Aoun met Tuesday with Morabitoun delegation headed by Colonel Mustafa Hamdan who accused Premier Najib Mikati of protecting the crooked.

Hamdan spent four years in jail on allegations of involvement in the assassination of PM Rafik Hariri in 2005. However, he was released due to lack of sufficient evidence.

"The most dangerous thing facing General Aoun today is putting a sectarian stigma on administrative assignments," said the Colonel, "and I have heard statements by PM Mikati whereby he adopted a number of corrupt people."

In regional issues, Hamdan considered Syria the fortress upon which the US and other Western powers would crash and fall.

Other visitors to Rabieh today were a delegation of the command council of Al Tanzeem.

R.Z.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Aamilite Association celebrates Ashura
 

Tue 6/12/2011 13:46

NNA - 06/12/2011 The Aamilite Charitable Islamic Association celebrated Ashura in attendance of Minister of Exterior and Expatriates Adnan Mansour.

The Minister represented President Michel Sleiman and Premier Najib Mikati in the event. A host of religious figures also attended the celebration Tuesday morning at Aamliyah High school in Rass Nabeh, Beirut.

R.Z.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Hmayed astonished at Syrian opposition
 

Tue 6/12/2011 13:29

NNA - 06/12/2011 Amal Movement MP Ayoub Hmayed expressed surprise at the actions of Syrian opposition, accusing them of going along with the American-Israeli plan.

The MPs speech took place in southern village of Deir Zahrani on Tuesday, marking the last day of Ashura.

"[The Syrian opposition] is presenting its credentials to [the west]."

In domestic issues, Hmayed defended the military institution against those who were attacking it. "Do they want to turn Lebanon into public property and a place torn by strife?"

R.Z.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Rahi meets visitors in Bkirky
 

Tue 6/12/2011 12:20

NNA - 06/12/2011 Maronite Patriarch Beshara Rahi received a host of guests at Bkirky Tuesday.

Among these visitors were former Minister Mohssen Daloul, Bar Association Chairman Nouhad Jaber, MP Nabil Nicholas and ambassador of Romania.

R.Z.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Qabalan advises leaders to do like Hussein
 

Tue 6/12/2011 12:16

NNA - 06/12/2011 Vice President of Higher Islamic Shiite Council invited Tuesday all leaders to follow in the footsteps of Imam Hussein.

Sheikh Abed al Amir Qabalan addressed a host of social, political and religious figures who gathered at the council for tenth day of Mouharram, which marks last day of Ashura.

"Stay away from hatred and selfishness...be good in your treatment of each other and be open to the other."

R.Z.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Houry shames cabinet for Zahrani catastrophe
 

Tue 6/12/2011 12:00


NNA - 06/12/2011 MP Aamar Houry voiced outrage Tuesday to Future News TV on the shameful incident of Zahrani, and deemed it as friendly fire among associates attempting to split country into shares.

Amal Movement with the aid of Hezbollah demanded the shutdown of Zahrani electricity plant in south Lebanon, plunging the country into an abyss of darkness. This led to dispute with Water and Energy Minister Gibran Bassil of the Aounist bloc, a current ally in March 8 Camp.

"They are one team who has disputed over things not mentioned in media," explained the Future Bloc MP. "The real farce is when [Bassil] said he asked the help of security forces, but no one came. This means that the logic of the statelet is far stronger than that of the state."

"The government should have held an emergency meeting over the Zahrani scandal because it is deplorable to leave Lebanon in the dark."

R.Z.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Nasrallah makes first public appearance since 2008
 

Tue 6/12/2011 11:43

NNA - 06/12/2011 Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah made an appearance to a crowd of his supporters on Ashura Day at Rayah Stadium in Beirut's southern suburb for the first time since 2008.

He entered the stadium as his bodyguards cleared the way for him to reach the stage.

"I wanted to be among you for several minutes and say to those seeking to intimidate us that we are the followers of Imam Hussein," he told his audience before exiting the stage to address them via video link.

R.Z.
 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - A. Gemayel heads to France
 

Tue 6/12/2011 11:33

NNA - 06/12/2011 Head of Kataeb Party Amine Gemayel left Beirut Tuesday bound for Marseille to partake in conference of the European People's Party.

Heads and representatives of 75 parties from 39 countries are expected to attend the conference, along with Heads of State and governments, ministers and deputies.

R.Z.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Nasrallah arrive to Rayah stadium in Dahiyeh
 

Tue 6/12/2011 11:13

NNA - 06/12/2011 Hezbollah Secretary General, Hassan Nasrallah, arrived to Rayah stadium in Beirut southern suburb of Dahiyeh where he is scheduled to give a speech on tenth of Muharram.

R.Z.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Kenaan defends Bassil, describes his speech as conscientious
 

Tue 6/12/2011 11:11

NNA - 06/12/2011 MP Ibrahim Kenaan said in a press interview Tuesday that Change and Reform Bloc would always condemn any transgression of law and rights, voicing support to fellow bloc Minister Gibran Bassil.

Energy Minister Gibran Bassil faced public embarrassment when Zahrani electricity plant was forced shut by members of his allies of Amal Movement with the blessings of Hezbollah. In a public speech, Bassil refused to have an "electricity square," in reference to the security square of Hezbollah, stating that the country has had enough of these "squares."

"The speech of Gibran Bassil was responsible, and there should be this kind of cry against any breach of law," said Kenaan.

"We must mend any defect," the MP added that law must run its course and hold accountable those who broke it.

R.Z.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


\Politics - Moussa: Cabinet problems solved
 

Tue 6/12/2011 10:48

NNA - 06/12/2011 MP Michel Moussa said Tuesday to Voice of Lebanon radio that major challenges facing the cabinet were resolved calmly among members, asserting that the situation would not lead to the resignation of Aounist ministers of the Free Patriotic Movement Bloc (FPM).

Power cut-off at Zahrani plant in south Lebanon morphed into a dispute between allies of March 8 Camp. Amal Movement and Hezbollah forced the Zahrani shut, putting Energy Minister Gibran Bassil in a very uncomfortable situation.

Moussa denied any tension between allies. "There may be disputes or misunderstandings in certain things, but these issues are usually quickly solved and things go back on track."

R.Z.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Fatfat: Only Nasrallah and Assad can dissolve cabinet
 

Tue 6/12/2011 10:38

NNA - 06/12/2011 Future Bloc MP Ahmad Fatfat asserted during a radio interview Tuesday that only Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah and Syrian President Bashar Assad can bring down the government.

The MP, though optimistic about a solution for the cabinet crisis, predicted such a solution to come at the expense of the treasury and transparency in dealing with issues. He contended that PM Najib Mikati would give concessions to the ministers of the Free Patriotic Movement.

"There is no decision to topple the government, and a resignation is not in the hands of General Michel Aoun or PM Najib Mikati, but in the hands of those who made this cabinet," Fatfat said.

R.Z.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Adams, Defense Minister confer over developments
 

Mon 5/12/2011 21:12

NNA - 5/12/2011 - The general situation in Lebanon and the region, as well as means of boosting-up relations between Canada and Lebanon had been the center of deliberations on Monday between National Defense Minister, Fayez Ghosn, and the Canadian Ambassador to Lebanon, Hillary Adams.

Adams visited today Ghosn's ministerial office in the company of a military attach�. Talks reportedly focused on the situation in South Lebanon and ongoing cooperation between the Lebanese Army and UNIFIL.

Both sides also discussed the Defense Ministry's plans to beef-up the Lebanese Army's potentials and capabilities.
R.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Kataeb convenes over local, regional developments
 

Mon 5/12/2011 20:48

NNA - 5/12/2011 - Most recent developments at the local and regional scenes featured high Monday on Kataeb's meeting.

Kataeb Political Bureau and Kataeb's Central Council held their regular meeting today presided by Kataeb Leader Amine Gemayel.
R.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Sleiman, Mikati meet over developments, cabinet session
 

Mon 5/12/2011 19:35

NNA - 5/12/2011 - President of the Republic Michel Sleiman on Monday met with Prime Minister Najib Mikati over local developments. Both men also discussed the works agenda of next Wednesday's cabinet session.
R.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Christians mainstay to Lebanon's stability, says Qabalan
 

Mon 5/12/2011 19:33

NNA - 5/12/2011 - Vice head of the Shiite Supreme Council, Sheikh Abdul Amir Qabalan, on Monday said the presence of Christians in the East was necessary and important, stressing they [Christians] were a paramount mainstay to Lebanon's stability.

Qabalan today met with Head of Special Envoy of the French Prime Minister for Christian Affairs in East, Andre Gauteiron, over relations between Muslims and Christians in the East in general, and in Lebanon in particular.

Both men also engaged in most recent political situation in Lebanon and the broader Arab region.



R.A.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Mikati receives an invitation to visit France
 

Mon 5/12/2011 19:11

NNA - 5/12/2011 Prime Minister Najib Mikati received Monday an official invitation to visit France from his French counterpart Francois Fillon.
French Ambassador to Lebanon Donie Pietton handed the invitation letter to Premier Mikati during a visit to the Grand Serail Monday afternoon.
Pietton said on emerging that the date of the visit shall be set later.
Pietton indicated that French President Nicholas Sarkouzi will meet with Premier Mikati during the visit to felicitate him on the adopted decision to pay Lebanon's share of Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) funding.
Pietton also disclosed that talks will dwell on an array of bilateral dossiers between Lebanon and France, and will be a chance to underline friendship ties between the two countries.
On the other hand, Mikati met with Akkar Mufti Ousama Rifai.
---------------L.Y

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - STL Registrar answers questions live on Twitter Wednesday
 

Mon 5/12/2011 18:47

NNA - 5/12/2011 In a press release by Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL), it said "STL Registrar, Herman von Hebel, will be answering questions from Lebanese citizens and the general public on Wednesday, December 7, from 3 pm to 5 pm Beirut local Time [2 to 4 pm Central European time]."
Release added "Questions directed to the Registrar should contain the hashtag #STLRegistrar. The Registrar is in effect the Chief Executive of the tribunal and is responsible for all aspects of its administration including the budget, fundraising, relations with states and court management. His responsibilities also include oversight of the victim participation unit, witness protection and detention facilities. He will only be able to answer questions which relate to his responsibilities as Registrar."
"This is an initiative to interact with the people of Lebanon and marks the official launch of the STL Twitter account, which has been operative from 1 November 2011", release concluded.
***************

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Nadim Gemayel heads to Marseille
 

Mon 5/12/2011 18:12


NNA - 5/12/2011 Deputy Nadim Gemayel left Beirut on Monday heading to the French city Marseille, to partake in the Conference by European People Party.
European People Party includes 75 parties from 39 states, whose members include a number of heads of states, governments, ministers and deputies.
Gemayel will partake at the sidelines of the Conference in the works of "Youth Conference and Arab Spring Activists" organized by European Center for Studies, a statement by Gemayel Media Bureau said.
----------------L.Y

NNA 2011 All rights reserved



 

Politics - Wahhab after meeting Mansour: Lebanon the first harmed by blockade on Syria
 

Mon 5/12/2011 17:57

NNA - 5/12/2011 Foreign and Expatriates Minister Adnan Mansour met on Monday at Villa Boustros with former Minister Weam Wehhab where they boarded the latest on the local arena.
Speaking in the name of the majority camp, Wahhab said that the Majority is not concerned in any Arab League measure against Syria or any measure attempting to drag Lebanon into a confrontation with it.
"We [Majority] reject any measure against Syria since most of the Lebanese will be harmed by this issue", Wahhab said, considering Lebanon as the first one harmed by blockade measures on Syria.
On the other hand, Mansour met with former Minister Joseph Al-Hashem.
---------------L.Y

NNA 2011 All rights reserved





 

Politics - Sahnawi tackles report on Justice Ministry's second floor
 

Mon 5/12/2011 17:40

NNA - 05/12/2011 - Telecommunication Minister Nicholas Sahnawi held Monday at his office a press conference related to the results of inspections carried out on the second floor of the Justice Ministry headquarters in Adlieh / Beirut.

It is to note that a professional committee has been formed to investigate into the issue pertaining to the Chinese communication system which OGERO refused to hand over to the Telecommunication Ministry last May.

The committee detected in its report a number of contraventions on the administrative and legal levels and would deal with them in accordance with the law, said the minister.
A.M.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved





 

Politics - Kahwaji tackles military cooperation with Canadian Ambassador
 

Mon 5/12/2011 17:29

NNA - 05/12/2011 - Lebanese Army Commander, General Jean Kahwaji, met over military cooperation and the general situation with Canadian Ambassador to Lebanon, Hilary Childs-Adams.

The meeting was held on Monday at Kahwaji's office in Yarzeh.
 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved



 

Politics - Russia reckons on Arab initiative towards Syria, says diplomat
 

Mon 5/12/2011 17:26


NNA - 5/12/2011 - Russian ambassador to Lebanon, Alexandre Zasypkin, on Monday said Russia was endeavoring to ensure an agreement over the implementation of the Arab League's initiative towards Syria, including the dispatch of observers and the cease of violence from both sides, in reference to the regime forces on one hand, and the armed opposition on the other.

Speaking to journalists in the wake of his meeting with head of the Lebanese Kataeb Party, Amine Gemayel, the diplomat said foreign parties were asked to remain objective and unbiased, away from fueling tensions.

"Unilateral sanctions cannot mitigate the crisis, and we underline the necessity of a comprehensive national dialogue, with no prior conditions," he added.

"We believe that the decisions recently adopted by the Human Rights Committee are unilateral, politicized, and insinuating a possibility of force usage," he said.

"But it seems that they did not notice the recent measures by the Syrian regime," he reminded.

On the developments in Lebanon, Zasypkin said the country had confirmed its holding onto international obligations, through the funding of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, a UN-backed court probing the 2005 assassination of statesman Rafik Hariri.

For his part, Gemayel called Lebanese leaders to intensify efforts so as to proof the internal domestic scene and constitutional institutions, and to reach reconciliation between the state and the citizen.



R.A.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved





















 

Politics - Watkins from Berri's: for Lebanon to preserve stability
 

Mon 5/12/2011 16:01

NNA - 05/11/2011 - United Nations Special Coordinator for Lebanon ad Interim Robert Watkins said it was much important for Lebanon to make all efforts to preserve stability in the country.

Watkins's remark came on Monday in the wake of his visit to Speaker of the House Nabih Berri at the latter's residence in Ain Tineh.

Watkins said the visit was an opportunity to speak about the general situation in the Arab region as well as the specific situation in Lebanon.

He thanked Berri's efforts in paying last week the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, probing the assassination of Martyr Rafic Hariri and related crimes, its financial dues.

Among Ain Tineh's visitors: a delegation of the African Continental Council headed by the chairman of said council, Najib Zahra; the Paraguayan Ambassador to Lebanon Hassan Dayya.

In another development, Berri cabled the Iraqi Prime Minister Noury Maleki, congratulating him on his safety from the assassination attempt.

A.M./P.BC.
 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved

 

 

 


 

 

 


Politics - Fletcher from Grand Serail: perturbed about stability in Lebanon
 

Mon 5/12/2011 15:07

NNA - 05/11/2011 - The British Ambassador to Lebanon Tom Fletcher said he was perturbed about stability in Lebanon, especially during that difficult time which was witnessing a case of unrest in the region.

Fletcher's stance came on Monday in the wake of his visit to Prime Minister Najib Mikati at the Grand Serail.

Fletcher said he personally expressed to Mikati his welcome to the Lebanese government's payment of the financial dues for the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, probing the assassination of Marty Rafic Hariri and related crimes.

"It is important to take such decision [paying the STL dues] because it is means of supporting stability," said Fletcher.

Separately, Mikati received at the Grand Serail the Syrian Ambassador Ali Abdul Karim Ali, who stressed upon the necessity of well controlling the borders between both countries so as to prevent any sort of arms smuggling or security unrest.

Afterwards, the Iranian Ambassador Ghazanfar Roknabadi met with the Premier. The guest conveyed Iran's support for the Syrian public's demands for administrative reforms in Syria under the command of President Bashar Assad.

Among the Grand Serail's visitors: Deputy Sleiman Franjieh; a delegation of the Maronite General Council headed by former Minister Wadih Khazen; and others.
In another development, Premier Mikati presided over the first meeting for the National Council for Fighting Drugs that had been partaken by Deputy Prime Minister Samir Mokbil; Justice Minister Shakib Cortbawi; Interior and Municipalities Minister Marwan Charbel; Information Minister Walid Daouk; Public Health Minister Ali Hassan Khalil; Education and Higher Learning Minister Hassan Diab; and the Secretary General of said council Mirvat Itani.

 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Daouq meets M. Rahhal, Beiruti delegation
 

Mon 5/12/2011 14:53

NNA - 5/12/2011 - Minister of Information, Walid Daouq, on Monday took up most recent developments with former Minister Mohammad Rahhal, who visited him at his office in the Ministry.

He later met with a delegation of Beirut families' gathering committee, headed by Walid Al-Khatib, over the committee's activities and goals.

Al-Khatib told journalists following the meeting that the committee was en route to putting forth a magazine, which earned Daouq's full support.


R.A.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Daouq meets M. Rahhal, Beiruti delegation
 

Mon 5/12/2011 14:53


NNA - 5/12/2011 - Minister of Information, Walid Daouq, on Monday took up most recent developments with former Minister Mohammad Rahhal, who visited him at his office in the Ministry.

He later met with a delegation of Beirut families' gathering committee, headed by Walid Al-Khatib, over the committee's activities and goals.

Al-Khatib told journalists following the meeting that the committee was en route to putting forth a magazine, which earned Daouq's full support.


R.A.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Sleiman finalizes visit program to Armenia
 

Mon 5/12/2011 14:43

NNA - 5/12/2011 - President of the Republic, Michel Sleiman, on Monday chaired a meeting on the program of his three-day state visit to Armenia Thursday.

Sleiman and the accompanying official parliamentary and ministerial delegation are scheduled to ink a pile of two-pronged agreements as well as to engage in parleys with the Armenian side.

Separately, the President met today at Baabda palace with Minister of Industry, Vreij Sabounjian, over relevant ministerial affairs.

He later broached the current political situation on the domestic scene with MPs Elie Marouni and Abdullatif Zein.

Sleiman also met with former Interior Minister Ziad Baroud over most recent developments.



R.A.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Rahi hashes out about Christians situation in Mideast
 

Mon 5/12/2011 13:59


NNA - 5/12/2011 Maronite Patriarch Al-Rahi took up Monday the situation of Levantine Christians during his meeting with the Lebanese-French friendship commission Senator Adrian Gotiron.

Both men also went over all available means and possibilities to bolster and develop Christians' living conditions.

Gotiron extolled Rahi's stances and said they had drew attention to problems and difficulties Christians encounter in the Mideast.

Patriarch Rahi convened later on with MP Ghassan Mokheibir with whom he engaged in talks concerning major recent up-to-dates.

Also among Bkerki visitors today were former Ministers, Leyla Solh Hmadeh and Khalil Herawi.


L.W.

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Politics - Gharios says STL is politicized
 

Mon 5/12/2011 13:36

NNA - 5/12/2011 MP Naji Gharios depicted Monday the Special Tribunal for Lebanon as being politicized and said his bloc members shall not cede their stances herein.

Gharios represented Change and Reform bloc head during the FPM Baabda committee annual dinner.

Achieving government's important tasks begin once Policy Statement is implemented and sectarian speech is eliminated, Gharios said addressing Prime Minister Mikati.

Mikati has said earlier that folding the page of the Tribunal represents a step forward on the path of government's works filled with important milestones.

Concluding his word the MP said his bloc won't be idle if the government won't prioritize citizens' needs on its agenda.


L.W.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Lebanon presents complaint against Israel
 

Mon 5/12/2011 13:00

NNA - 5/12/2011- Expatriates and Foreign Ministry presented through Lebanon's permanent commission in New York a complaint against Israel on the back ground that the enemy fired on 29/11/2011 a number of missiles toward the Lebanese territories.

The complaint stated that the missiles fell in the vicinity between Aita Al-Chaab and Rmeish villages.

The complaint mentioned that this breach violates Lebanese sovereignty, international law and the Charter of the United Nations. It also threatens International peace and security.
L.Y.R/N.AF

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Marouni: Bassil became minister of electricity outage
 

Mon 5/12/2011 12:32

NNA - 5/12/2011 - Member of Parliament Elie Marouni told "Al Sharq radio" that Energy and Water Minister Jebran Bassil has turned into a minister of electricity outage after his failure to secure more power to the Lebanese despite his promises.

Alluding to the incident in Zahrani power plant where employees seized and shut down electricity for almost three days, the MP said Bassil is fully responsible for the severe electricity cuts all over the country.

"Technical problems usually last for two hours or more as a result of storms or unforeseen events. But when transformers are dismantled and moved from their location leading to power cuts on the citizens then this should be the sole responsibility of Bassil who became minister of outage," Marouni said.

The MP said that the silence and indifference of citizens in general has led to this situation and called on the Lebanese to take matters into their own hands.

"The citizens are not rebelling against injustice, corruption and bribery which are rampant among certain politicians. Some of these officials have massed great wealth at the expense of the livelihood of the Lebanese citizens," Marouni argued.

He stressed that any government which does not emerge from the will of the people will be above questioning from the public.

The MP accused the ministers at the Cabinet of grabbing the biggest stake of benefits and without giving any consideration to the welfare of the citizens.

Marouni also blasted the government for failing to address the social and economic needs of the citizens amid soaring prices of commodities.

He wondered about the fate of the government promises to subsidize the prices of heat oil.

O.H

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Daouk discusses media affairs with Baalbecki
 

Mon 5/12/2011 11:29

NNA - 5/12/2011 - Information Minister Walid Daouk discussed media affairs on Monday morning at his office in the ministry with head of Press Syndicate Mohamad Baalbecki.

A.A.M

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Jumblatt holds discussions with officials in Kurdistan
 

Mon 5/12/2011 11:18

NNA - 5/12/2010 - Head of National Struggle Front Deputy Walid Jumblatt met on Sunday in Kurdistan province-Iraq with head of the province Masoud el Barazani and discussed bilateral ties which connect Socialist party and Kurdistan Democratic Party.

Discussions also focused on bilateral ties between Lebanon, in addition to the current political developments in the region.

A.A.M

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Youssef condemns Zahrani's incident
 

Mon 5/12/2011 10:57

NNA - 5/12/2011- "Future" parliamentary bloc member Deputy Ghazi Youssef condemned the incident that took place in Zahrani energy plant and resulted in depriving people from having electricity, considering it a militia act.

The MP pointed to the presence of two problems concerning the Zahrani energy plant. The first is between the plant and its employees who are affiliated politically with certain parties; and the second is supplying electricity to certain villages known for their affiliation to some politicians.

It is worth noting that the employees of Zahrani energy plant in South Lebanon stopped working and closed the plant causing 40% decrease in the supply of electricity provided to Lebanon in general.

Speaking to "Voice of Lebanon- voice of freedom and dignity" radio station, Youssef complained that "Energy Minister did not take any action nor gave any comment on what has happened and neither did Labor Minister."

Youssef emphasized that the state institutions are working according to agreement between political parties rather than according to law.

L.Y.R/N.AF

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Jarrah: Differences within cabinet leaves it in predicament
 

Mon 5/12/2011 10:47

NNA - 5/12/2011 - Deputy Jammal Jarrah stressed that differences among the cabinet's sides will put it before other predicaments.

Jarrah said that this cabinet did not achieve lots of files even if it overcame tribunal funding of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri's assassination.

"Differences will prevent the cabinet from achieving appointments, electricity or false witnesses file", the MP stressed on Monday to "Voice of Lebanon" radio.

Commenting on the possibility of resuming dialogue table, he said "it is possible to hold cabinet sessions at any time if all sides agree to start with the pending issue which is weapons file", pointing out that suggesting other files do not lead to any result at the end.

The MP called on all sides to refrain from inflaming sectarian tension in Lebanon and to keep distance from the Syrian file and not to involve in it.

A.A.M

NNA 2011 All rights reserved









 

Politics - Abboud: Bloc's participation in cabinet depends on consultations
 

Mon 5/12/2011 10:40

NNA - 5/12/2011 - Tourism Minister Fadi Abboud told Voice of Lebanon on Monday that the Change and Reform bloc has not decided yet to take part in Wednesday's Cabinet session but suggested that consultations will be held in few hours to determine the course of action the bloc will take.

"We have a feeling that what is taking place inside the Cabinet aims at torturing the ministers of the Change and Reform bloc deliberately," the minister explained, adding that his ministry has sent dozens of requests to the Cabinet for approval but they all ended in the drawers.

He asked when the Cabinet will hold a special session to discuss the demands of the Tourism Ministry.

Abboud said the issue of Zahrani power plant is purely political and will be handled in a political manner.

The minister raised questions about the political motives behind the incident at Zahrani plant.

O.H

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Politics - Alain Aoun: No decision yet to participate in Wednesday's session
 

Mon 5/12/2011 10:13

NNA - 5/12/2011 - Change and Reform Parliamentary bloc member deputy Alain Aoun told Voice of Lebanon that the ministers of the bloc have not decided yet to take part in the Cabinet session on Wednesday.

"Discussions are focusing on ways how to deal with this government at this stage. We are not too satisfied by the overall performance of the government," Aoun told the radio.

He argued that the next few hours are very crucial, noting that the bloc is still awaiting for answers to its demands.

"We expect MP Michel Aoun to take a decision on whether or not to take part in the session tomorrow."

Commenting on the strike that occurred at Zahrani electricity plant which led to partial blackout in most of the country, Aoun said that the concerned minister will hold a press conference today to explain the reasons behind the crisis, stressing at the same time that it is unacceptable to disrupt all public facilities regardless of the reasons.

O.H

NNA 2011 All rights reserved










 

Politics - Fneish: Lebanon's interest is to side with Syria
 

Mon 5/12/2011 09:06

NNA - 5/11/2011 - Minister of Administrative Development Mohammed Fneish said Lebanon has a vested interest to back Syria in its current crisis.

Speaking during an Ashoura occasion in Nabatyeh, the minister said irrespective of the voices reverberating in Lebanon, the country has an interest to back the Syrian leadership and people at this critical moment.

"We must overcome this crisis so that Syria can remain strong, resolute and steadfast in the face of Western schemes," Fneish said.

He warned some factions in Lebanon against meddling in the Syrian affairs and to stop inciting troubles in this country because this attitude is not serving the interest of the Lebanese.

The minister argued that some factions in the country are taking part in an overall plan to besiege Syria.

Fneish insisted that the main goal of the resistance is to confront U.S. and Israelis plots against Lebanon.

O.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - Raad: Conspiracies all around us

NNA - 5/11/2011 - Loyalty to Resistance parliamentary bloc member deputy Mohammed Raad said conspiracies are emerging all around Lebanon, adding that one of the main purposes of this scheme is to target the resistance.

"They are targeting us because we are (fighting for a just cause) and because we knew the path of victory over the enemy," Raad said during an Ashoura meeting organize by Hezbollah in Nabatyeh.

He argued that all these countries are mobilizing the public opinion and massing troops in order to "target us."

The MP stressed that Iran is in the axis of states that are taking the side of powers opposing the countries trying to dominate the resistance.

He reminded that the resistance has foiled a U.S. backed Israeli war against Lebanon in July 2006 war.

"This (war) was a global war against the resistance and this war was spearheaded by the Israelis. But we managed to defeat this scheme against us," Raad said.

The MP commented on the downing of a U.S. spy drone over Iran.

He warned that Iran would not hesitate to strike Israel with missiles if Tehran came under any attack in the future.

O.H

NNA 2011 All rights reserved

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