Politics - Kahwaji itinerant visitors today
 

Thu 19/01/2012 20:10

NNA - 19/01/2012 - Army Commander General Jean Kahwaji on Thursday met with UN Special Coordinator ad interim for Lebanon, Robert Watkins.

Later on, Kahwaji met with MPs Khaled Zahraman and Kassem Abdul-Aziz.

Lastly, the Army Chief discussed the general situation with Syriac Committee Head Habib Ephrem.
R.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Bassil responds to sectarian campaigns tackling oil facilities' appointments
 

Thu 19/01/2012 18:56

NNA - 19/1/2012 - Energy and Water Minister, Gebran Bassil, responded in a press conference held Thursday at the Ministry to the campaign launched against him regarding the latest appointments at Tripoli-Zahrani oil facilities.

The Minister said these campaigns started to take a political and sectarian dimension.

"We refuse to remain silent over facts' distortion and injustice vis-a-vis part of the Lebanese," he said, reminding of the secterian-based appointments which took place many years earlier, amid political poles' total silence.

The Minister made it clear that all rumors saying the appointments at Tripoli-Zahrani oil facilities ruled out the Sunnite community are far from truth and require a detailed explanation.

He reminded that, between years 2000 and 2007, 61 people were appointed, among whom 55 Muslims and 6 Christians, a fact that indicates obvious imparity.

"We only did what we had to do. (...) the promotions result was equal, 48 Christians and 48 Muslims chosen as per the pre-set standards and qualifications," he noted.

Accordingly, Bassil declared that his political camp is here to repair all the state administration's disarrays and reestablish balance at all levels.

When asked about the wage adjustment issue, Bassil affirmed that Minister Nahas had exerted all efforts needed so as to provide to the workers the wage increase they need, but it was unfortunately rejected.

"Minister Nahas has set right 15 years of legal violations towards the workers' rights over wage issue; a fact for which we should be thankful," he concluded.

Separately, Bassil received Malaysian, Dutch and Brazilian ambassadors to Lebanon.
D.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Ashrafieh MPs venture into building disaster, launch first development hotline
 

Thu 19/01/2012 18:48

NNA - 19/1/2012 - The deadly collapse of a seven-story building in Ashrafieh prompted the locality's MPs, namely the Free Decision bloc, to meet on Thursday to venture into a primary evaluation of the five-day-old disaster.

MP Michel Pharaon, who hosted the meeting at his office, maintained that the building's owner bore the related legal responsibility.

"Nonetheless, this does not exempt the state from accountability," he told a news conference following the meeting, attended by MPs Jean Oghassapian, Nadim Gemayel, and Serge Tersarkissian, as well as representatives of MP Nayla Tueini, Beirut Municipality, Saifi, Ashrafieh, and Rmeil mayors, and Head of Ashrafieh Merchants Association.

Pharaon, who went down in the annals of time only to rake up a series of last years' painful assassinations and explosions, did not fail to shine light on the current "unsound" juncture in Lebanon, amid simmering quandaries over general principles like justice, security, and weapons.

As linking the collapse-during which 27 were killed, 12 injured, and substantial material damages caused-to an array of stumbling development-related dossiers, the bloc today launched a first-time hotline (03-910000) to receive complaints of Ashrafieh, Saifi, and Rmeil locals.

Echoing Pharaon, MP Gemayel termed the collapse and its upshots as a social disaster especially that around 150 people were evacuated from the building adjacent to the collapsed one, also endangered.

He revealed the formation of an engineers and experts committee, which inspected the premises, neighboring the modicums of rubble, and delivered a primary report as yet undisclosed.

Gemayel also vowed that the bloc would be bearing the expenses of rehabilitating the menaced building.



R.A.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Franjieh in Bkerki
 

Thu 19/01/2012 18:45

NNA - 19/1/2012 - Maronite Patriarch Mar Bechara Boutros Rahi is currently meeting with Head of Marada Movement, MP Sleiman Franjieh, accompanied by former Minister Youssef Saade.

A.B.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Berri follows up on Imam Sadr case, financial, political affairs
 

Thu 19/01/2012 17:29

NNA - 19/1/2012 - Speaker of the House, Nabih Berri, on Thursday met with the official committee tasked to follow up on Imam Moussa Sadr case, who went missing in 1978 with his comrades in Libya, where they had been in an effort to end the Lebanese Civil War.

The committee, comprising Foreign Minister Adnan Mansour, Imam's son Sayyed Sadreddine Sadr, Haytham Jomaa, and Judge Hassan Chami, informed the Speaker of their latest visit to Libya and the outcomes of their talks with the Libyan part.

Berri later met with former Minister Jean Obeid over the current general situation.

Former Minister Abdullah Farhat had also been to Ain-el-Tineh today for a meeting with Berri over an impending meeting for independent personalities in Harissa tomorrow (Friday).

Speaking to reporters following the meeting, Farhat shone light on the underway efforts concocted to sow seeds of sectarian strife in the region.

"The other paramount item is dialogue; it is necessary to quote Speaker Berri, Maronite Patriarch, and the Lebanese President as saying that dialogue is obligatory on all levels," he added.

Berri also received this afternoon Head of Budget and Finance parliamentary commission, MP Ibrahim Kanaan.

Talks reportedly featured high on the current general situation particularly on the economic and financial levels.



R.A.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved



















 

Politics - Daher: derailing Qlaiaat airport's reopening serves foreign agendas
 

Thu 19/01/2012 16:55

NNA - 19/1/2012 - Deputy Khaled Daher confirmed Thursday that the hindrances derailing the reopening of the Qlaiaat airport serves foreign agendas.

"Each hindrance is a stance against national interest. A stance which weakens Lebanon and reduces its people's resources for sectarian and political objectives, at the expense of the state," he said.

Separately, he estimated that the government's initiative to provide remunerations for the damaged families in Achrafieh was a good sign, hoping that Akkar and Arsal victims be treated equally.

He said, in this regard, that if the Lebanese state truly had the power to make its own decisions, it would have expulsed the Syrian Ambassador after the Syrian aggressions against Lebanese inhabitants of Wadi Khaled.
D.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Layyoun: Mutual Aid Fund for artists approved
 

Thu 19/01/2012 16:53

NNA - 19/01/2012 - Culture Minister Gaby Layyoun announced on Thursday approving the project related to setting up a Mutual Aid Fund for artists.

Layyoun said that the services provided by this fund would generally focus on hospitalization, noting that said fund was independent and would cooperate with the Culture Ministry. The fund would provide a social support for artists, said Layyoun.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Lebanese products exportation tops Mansour-Sabounjian talks
 

Thu 19/01/2012 16:35

NNA - 19/1/2012 - Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Industry, respectively Adnan Mansour and Vreij Sabounjian, on Thursday dwelt on the means to bolster cooperation between their ministries on the level of coordination among diplomatic missions residing abroad, in an effort to facilitate Lebanese products exportation.

Separately, Minister Mansour extolled Russia's position vis-a-vis Syria during his meeting with Russian ambassador to Lebanon, Alexandre Zasypkin, in Villa Boustros today.

"Foreign interference in Syrian affairs only leads to more internal complications and impedes the reform process," he said.

"Solution resides in holding dialogue, [deemed] the sole mean for Syria to exit the crisis and for the Syrian command to take decisive positions on the level of reforms," he corroborated.

Zasypkin, for his part, maintained that the continuity of Arab monitors work indeed paved the way for a loophole for crisis in Syria, under the patronage of the Arab League, with no foreign interference whatsoever.

"We will exert major efforts to encourage Syrian authorities to adopt firm measures in favor of bringing their obligations into effect," he said.

He eventually called all parties, including the opposition, to take part effectively in a wide and all-inclusive national dialogue.



R.A.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Badr discusses with Mikati financing power projects
 

Thu 19/01/2012 16:01

NNA - 19/1/2012 - A delegation of the Kuwaiti Fund for Arab Economic Development headed by the director general of said fund Abdul Wahab Badr visited on Thursday the Grand Serail and discussed with Prime Minister Najib Mikati financing projects related to the power sector in Lebanon.
Head of the Construction and Development Council Nabil Jisr attended the meeting, which generally focused on the fund's projects in Lebanon and the recent launching of Litani project at the Grand Serail.

Separately, a delegation of the Lebanese Franchise Association headed by Charles Arbid visited Mikati and related to him the association's activities in the country, notably the second round of Lebanese Franchise international conference scheduled to be held in Beirut on May 23, 24.
A.B/A.M

NNA 2012 All rights reserved

 








 

Politics - Aoun takes up developments, situation with itinerant visitors
 

Thu 19/01/2012 15:55

NNA - 19/1/2012 - Member of Parliament Michel Aoun on Thursday met with Head of Al-Waad Party, Joe Hobeika, over an array of most recent developments in Lebanon and the broader Arab region.

"Talks mainly focused on the disintegration project to arrive to the region; unity and solidarity among the Lebanese are required," said the visitor, son of the late Elie Hobeika.

Newly appointed Greek ambassador to Lebanon, Catherina Bora, had also been to Rabieh today for a meeting over the current general situation on both the local and regional arenas.


R.A.H./A.B.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Geagea meets Future bloc
 

Thu 19/01/2012 15:33

NNA - 19/01/2012 - Lebanese Forces Leader Samir Geagea is currently holding talks with a visiting delegation from the Future Parliamentary Bloc.
R.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Sleiman promotes Arabism protecting regional causes
 

Thu 19/01/2012 15:25

NNA - 19/05/2012 - President of the Republic Michel Sleiman on Thursday pushed the countries of the region to rally around Arabism, deeming it the sole protector of Arab causes, with the Palestinian cause at the forefront.
In a meeting with the Lebanese Editor's Syndicate Council at Baabda Presidential Palace, the President said that the Lebanese democratic system was what protected Lebanon thus far from regional ramifications.
"I hope 2012 will prove to be a good year at the government's performance level," gauging the cabinet's last year performance as good.

Sleiman also reiterated the importance of preserving inter-Lebanese dialogue to safeguard Lebanon from regional political tremors.

The President later held Litani River project related talks with the Kuwaiti fund General Director, Abdul Wahab Bader.

Lebanese Army Commander, Jean Kahwaji, also held his share of talks with the President over security developments in Lebanon. Kahwaji also briefed the President on the latest stages of boosting the Lebanese Army gear and capabilities.
R.H.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved












 

Politics - Ogassapian accuses government of being "all against country"
 

Thu 19/01/2012 15:16


NNA - 19/1/2012 - Future bloc member, Deputy Jean Ogassapian said the government works in no way for the country's interest. He accused it of being "all against the country" and never "all for the country" as claimed.

Ogassapian told the Future News TV station that the current government had failed at all levels.

He regretted the fact that Ministers within the government were passing deals at the expense of the people's interests, putting in their hands the citizens' destiny.

Accordingly, the MP noted that the decision making power is now in the hands of Hezbollah's Secretary General, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah.

"Aoun left his political, strategic and security decisions at the disposal of Sayyed Nasrallah, to earn, in return, some personal gains," he criticized.

He saw that the coup d'etat was basically aimed at overthrowing the government of former Premier Saad Hariri in a bid to bring back Syrian blood to the Lebanese governments.

"Their project failed due to the Syrian unrest, turning Mikati into a cultural interface to the cabinet," he added.
D.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Media ties top talks between Daouk, Husseini
 

Thu 19/01/2012 15:09

NNA - 19/01/2012 - Information Minister Walid Daouk discussed with Iranian Culture Minister Muhammad Ali Husseini bilateral ties on the media level, notably Iran's support for official media institutions in Lebanon.

Daouk received on Thursday at his office Husseini with talks generally focusing on activating the mechanism of cooperation between both countries. The meeting took place in presence of National News Agency director Laure Sleiman Saab, Information Ministry's director Hassan Falha, Information Minister's advisor Andrew Qassas and Studies Department director Khodr Majid.
A.M.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved





 

Politics - Jaber praises Security Forces, Army's role
 

Thu 19/01/2012 14:12


NNA - 19/1/2012 - Deputy Yassin Jaber praised Thursday the efforts exerted by the Security Forces and the Military Institution in preserving stability and security in Nabatyeh as well as all over the country.
D.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Rahi tackles Islamic-Christian dialogue with Muslim scholars
 

Thu 19/01/2012 14:03

NNA - 19/1/2012 - Maronite Patriarch, Bechara Boutros Rahi, met Thursday with a religious delegation headed by scholar Sayyed Ali Fadlallah with talks featuring high on means to reactivate Islamic-Christian dialogue.

Sayyed Fadlallah said this dialogue was a must, especially amid the region's current circumstances.

He confirmed that contacts between the two religions must be constant, not only at the level of religious figures and leaderships but also at the level of charitable institutions, schools and universities.

The scholar called also for applying the concepts of citizenship and conviviality so as to face the region's forthcoming stage.

The meeting was also an occasion to tackled developments at the local scene.

Later on, Rahi received a delegation of Muslim scholars' assembly in Lebanon, headed by Judge Sheikh Ahmed Al-Zein, with talks touching on general situation.

The delegation confirmed to Rahi that the region's conflicts are neither sectarian nor confessional. "They are sheer political," they assured.

The moral chaos prevailing these days over media resources was also a topic of discussion between Rahi and the visiting delegation.

Separately, Rahi met with the Minister of Displaced, Alaa Al-Din Terro, who briefed him on the displaced dossier overall and the reconciliations accomplished at this level.

Eventually, the Patriarch held a meeting with the former Minister Leila Solh Hamada and lawyer Joseph Abou Sharaf, with whom he discussed general situation.
D.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Fatfat: Hizbullah against development in north
 

Thu 19/01/2012 13:03


NNA - 19/1/2012 - Deputy Ahmad Fatfat said that Hizbullah is against development in the north and seeks to keep it in a destitute situation.

"Hizbullah is against development in the north region", the MP told Voice of Lebanon, accusing the party of "exercising dangerous policy.

The MP said that the re-opening of Rene Mouawad airport is developmental in the first degree since it creates job opportunities and a free zone for commerce.

Responding to a question if the army refused to re-open it due to security reasons, he stressed that "the final decision goes to the cabinet", stressing his respect to the military institution.

The MP said that Hizbullah is controlling all of Lebanon and not only Rafik Hariri Airport.

A.A.M

NNA 2012 All rights reserved









 

Politics - No schism within cabinet or reform bloc, says Manjian
 

Thu 19/01/2012 13:00

NNA - 19/01/2012 - State Minister Panos Manjian ruled out on Thursday any existing schism neither within the Lebanese cabinet, nor within the Reform and Change Parliamentary bloc.

Speaking to the Voice of Lebanon radio, Manjian affirmed that cabinet members fully agreed on all major and strategic headlines."Everything else is mere details," he argued.

Touching on Wednesday's cabinet session which finally passed a wage hike plan, despite Labor Minister Charbel Nahhas's reservations, the State Minister asserted that Nahhas would not refrain from his duties as Labor Minister.

"Prime Minister Najib Mikati asked Nahhas to sign the new wage decree, and to place transportation and education allowances within legal frames," he said.

However, Manjian expressed hope that all workers would eventually attain their rights to the fullest.
R.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved








 

Politics - Syria to trounce foreign schemes, says Syria's Ambassador
 

Thu 19/01/2012 12:27

NNA - 19/01/2012 - Syria will robustly overcome its crisis, the Syrian Ambassador to Lebanon said on Thursday, asserting that his country will conquer foreign schemes and conspiracies tailored for its destruction.

Ambassador Ali Khalil had been on a visit to Former Prime Minister Salim Hoss for talks over most recent developments.

"Reforms led by President Bashar Assad and plans to combat terrorism are parallel and continuous," he said.

As for latest stances by the team of Arab monitors in Syria, Khalil said they were an outright translation to things taking place on the ground. "This is what Syria is looking for," he said, affirming that all what Syria wished for was the attainment of justice and parity.
R.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Hajjar: Cabinet is full of contradictions
 

Thu 19/01/2012 12:02

NNA - 19/1/2012 - Member of Parliament Mohammed Hajjar told "Al Sharq Radio" that this Cabinet is riddled with contrasts and the only thing common between these ministers is the desire to reach power and seize the country through the formation of a government.

"This Cabinet has turned the issue of wages into some kind of a tragedy instead of a solution for a big number of Lebanese," Hajjar said, adding that Labor Minister Charbel Nahhas has tried to exploit the issue of wage increase to muster popular support.

But the MP, nevertheless, praised the decision to increase wages after four months of debate.

Hajjar also commented on Nahhas plan to add the transportation allowance to the basic salary.

"Incorporating the transportation allowance with the basic salary is against law 36 which was issued in 1967 and this law sets the prerogatives to determine the ratio of the cost of living and minimum wage."

Hajjar also slammed MP Ibrahim Kanaan who attacked Future bloc for boycotting the budget and finance parliamentary committee meeting which planned to discuss the World Bank report on the state of the public finances.

"The Finance Ministry has the right to rely on private institutions to develop the systems and enhance transparency," the MP argued, adding that the ministry has hired the services of Oracle Company to assess all the reports issued by this ministry.

He denied a World Bank report that the former finance ministers and officials have entered into the computer systems and tampered with the accounts.

Hajjar also rejected the accusations of MP Nawaf Mousawi that former Prime Minister Fouad Siniora has deliberately delayed the execution of the Litany project, reminding that Siniora was the one who paved the way for the implementation of this project.

O.H

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Politics - De Freij: Nahhas failed due to his stubbornness
 

Thu 19/01/2012 10:30
NNA - 19/1/2012 - "Future" bloc member Deputy Nabil De Freij said that Labor Minister Charbel Nahhas is not a political victim but he failed due to his stubbornness.

The MP praised the cabinet for approving wage increases decree.

"We are waiting for the translation of the decree which was approved on Wednesday and ways to send it to the parliament", the MP stressed on Thursday to "Voice of Lebanon"-Freedom and dignity radio.

Commenting on Deputy Walid Jumblatt's criticism of former Prime Minister Saad Haririr that he rejected political dialogue unless Hizbullah hands over its weapons to the state, the MP said that "MP is inconsistent in his policy but we should see the circumstances of his actions", stressing that March 14 did not refuse dialogue, but wanted to start from where they have reached before, which meant from Hizbullah's illegal weapons article.

Concerning February 14 rally the MP said "there will be a mass gathering similar to last year", adding that the rally would be held indoor.

A.A.M

NNA 2012 All rights reserved

 

 

 


 


Politics - Merehbi defends re-opening of an airport in Akkar
 

Thu 19/01/2012 09:45

NNA - 19/1/2012 - Future Parliamentary bloc member MP Mouen al Merehbi said re-operating Rene Mouawad airport is seen as an oil wealth for Akkar, stressing the need to continue the struggle to operate this airport and form a committee to combat deprivation and negligence in this area.

The MP hailed the decision of Prime Minister Najib Mikati and Public Works and Transportation Minister Ghazi Aridi's decision to prepare a report on the re-opening of the airport.

But Merehbi noticed that some Lebanese quarters were not too eager to reopen the airport and this will deprive the area from 20,000 jobs.

He argued that opening the airport in Akkar would ease the pressure on Rafik Hariri International Airport which receives millions of passengers each year.

The MP also favors turning the airport to receive charter and cargo flights or make flights to neighboring countries.

O.H

NNA 2012 All rights reserved









 

Politics - (UPDATE)Cabinet endorses wage hike with 675,000 LP minimum pay
 

Wed 18/01/2012 22:58

NNA - 18/01/2012 - The Council of Ministers endorsed on Wednesday a wage hike plan, settling to the agreement reached by the General Labor Confederation and Economic Committees last December, raising the minimum wage to 675,000 LP.

This increase, on which Labor Minister Charbel Nahhas expressed reservations, suggests a 100% increase on the first bracket (400000L.L.) and a 9% increase on the second bracket (between 400000L.L. and 1500000L.L.), provided that the increase is not under the amount of 375,000 LP.

"The transportation allowance was the main point of dispute, since Minister Charbel Nahhas had previously insisted to include it as a fixed part of monthly wages," NNA reporter said, confirming that Nahhas's plan failed in a vote over this issue. "19 ministers voted against Nahhas's plan, whereas only 10 voted for it."

Following the cabinet session, which took place at the Grand Serail, Information Minister Walid Daouk said that Minister Nahhas had been tasked with the development of a bill allowing the government to fix the amount of transportation and schooling allowances. "Meanwhile, these allowances will remain unchanged," he said.

At another level, the Government decided to allocate an advance to the High Relief Committee to pay compensations for those who incurred losses during the Israeli aggression of July, 2006, or by the storms of 2010 and 2011, and by various security incidents. Other amounts have also been allocated to the Construction and Development Council and the Ministry of Telecommunications.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Alain Aoun deprecates disaster prone negligence
 

Wed 18/01/2012 22:29

NNA - 18/01/2012 - Reform and Change Parliamentary bloc MP Alain Aoun slammed on Wednesday the different faces of inertia which wind up claiming people's live in disasters similar to the collapse of a building in Achrafieh which left behind scores of deaths and injuries.

Aoun, who expressed his condolences to the families of fallen victims, urged all municipalities in Lebanon to sweep unsafe buildings.

"We await the results of the survey to identify the causes of this incident before addressing the parties involved in it," he said in an interview with "Free Lebanon" radio.

Moreover, he called for the formation of an effective committee capable of managing disastrous situations, to avoid accompanying chaos.

Whilst wishing that commitments to reform were genuine and not simply a reaction sparked by the catastrophe, the MP hoped concerened sides would come up with a speedy solution Jal-El-Dib Bridge, which is now a public danger.

Furthermore, Aoun also discussed the World Bank report on the state Department of Finance. "The report is fully objective, far from politicization," he reckoned.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Alain Marsaud continues elections tour in Lebanon
 

Wed 18/01/2012 21:59

NNA - 18/01/2012 - The UMP candidate of the 2012 parliamentary elections, French candidate Alain Marsaud, met on Wednesday with President of the Lebanese Republic, General Michel Sleiman, Prime Minister Najib Mikati, House Speaker Nabih Berri represented by MP Abdellatif Zein, and political leaders including Kataeb Party Leader Amin Gemayel, Free Patriotic Movement Leader MP General Michel Aoun, former Prime Minister Fouad Siniora, MP Mohammad Raad, MP Bahia Hariri, Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea and MP Walid Jumblatt. He also met with Maronite Patriarch Boutros Bechara Rahi at Bkerke.

The French diplomat is currently on a visit to Lebanon to continue his campaign, in the company of Deputy Fabienne Blineau-Abiramia and UMP team members.

These visits allowed the candidate to explain the new role of French people residing overseas, particularly in Lebanon.

During a lecture to hundreds of students at the Lebanese-French University DESD near Tripoli, Marsaud displayed his fight favoring the preservation of Francophone, in presence of Dr. Mohammad Salhab.

He also held French language and culture related talks with intellectuals and academics such as Franco-Lebanese Father Selim Abou, Rector Emeritus of St. Joseph University, Dr. Karam Khali, and Hardan Jarjoura, Dean of the Faculty of Arts at LSU.

During his tour to South Lebanon, Marsaud greeted his countrymen in UNIFIL based in Naqoura.
R.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved

 

 

 

 




 


Politics - Rahi receives newly appointed Ministers, Copt Church delegation
 

Wed 18/01/2012 21:16

NNA - 18/01/2011 - The newly appointed bishops, Mounir Kheirallah, Michel Aoun, and Elias Sleiman, had an audience on Wednesday with Maronite Patriarch, Mar Bechara Boutros Rahi, with whom they shared the "divine sacrifice".

The delegation thanked the Rahi and the church synod for their trust. In turn, Rahi felicitated the three bishops, wishing them luck in their new task.

Earlier, Rahi met with a delegation from the Orthodox Copt Church which thanked him for patronizing the week of prayers for the unity of churches.
R.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved




 

Politics - Jumblatt bound for Doha
 

Wed 18/01/2012 20:56


NNA - 18/01/2012 - National Struggle Front Leader, MP Walid Jumblatt, left Beirut on Wednesday evening bound for Doha, aboard a private jet.
R.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Cabinet endorses wage hike with 675,000 LP minimum pay
 

Wed 18/01/2012 20:52

NNA - 18/01/2011 - The Council of Ministers endorsed on Wednesday a wage increase plan, raising the minimum wage to 675,000 LP. But Labor Minister, Charbel Nahhas, expressed reservation over the matter, NNA correspondent said.

The newly endorsed plan is based on the first agreement which had been sponsored by Prime Minister Najib Mikati. It also complies with Baabda agreement.

"The transportation allowance was the main point of dispute since Minister Charbel Nahhas had previously insisted to include it as a fixed part of monthly wages," NNA reporter said, confirming that Nahhas's plan failed in a vote over this issue. "19 ministers voted against Nahhas's plan, whereas only 10 voted for it."
R.H.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - I will return to Lebanon, Hariri tweets
 

Wed 18/01/2012 20:18

NNA - 18/1/2012 - I will return to Lebanon, former Prime Minister Saad Hariri told his followers on Twitter Wednesday.

He saw that the other camp's "campaign" against March 14 forces proved these forces to be at the core of the Arab Spring, uttering, in reference to the Mikati-led government, "nothing lasts [forever]."

On the Syrian dossier, Hariri highlighted the necessity that the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) advocates Qatar's initiative to dispatch Arab forces to Syria.

In another development, he did not fail to deplore Ahsrafieh building disaster.

R.A.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Iranian Minister tours South Lebanon
 

Wed 18/01/2012 20:01

NNA - 18/01/2012 - The Culture Minister of Iran visited "Iran's Garden" at Maroun Al-Ras, Khyam Detention Camp, and Fatmeh Gate, within the frame of a tour he began to South Lebanon on Wednesday morning.

The Iranian Minister, Mohammad Ali Hosseini, currently on a visit to Lebanon, took part in a conference titled "Muslims and Christians amid an atmosphere of major change" organized by the Iranian Cultural Consultancy in Lebanon and the Arab Muslim-Christian dialogue which winded-up work sessions at Coral Beach Hotel today.

"The U.S. is tampering with Syria," Hosseini said during his visit to Fatmeh Gate.

"Syria and Lebanon are trapped in the same bunker facing Israel and the U.S.," he added, hoping that the Syrian people would help make Assad's reform plans a success.

During the dinner banquet thrown by Hezbollah in the Iranian Diplomat's honor, Hezbollah Executive Council Deputy Head, Nabil Kawouk, spoke highly of Iran's iron fist facing foreign plots and designs.

"Never shall we forget Iran's sacrifices and support to the Resistance and Lebanon. Iran ought to be more than honored with the mere fact that it is Israel's foe," he said.
R.H.


 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Qahwaji: Our aim is to preserve civil peace
 

Wed 18/01/2012 19:17

NNA - 18/1/2012 Army Commander General Jean Qahwaji stressed the Army's keenness on preserving national civil peace and sparing Lebanon the repercussions of what is currently taking place outside frontiers.
General Qahwaji's stance came during his meeting on Wednesday noon at his Yarzeh office with Arab and foreign Military Attaches' League and representatives of UN Truce Supervision Organization and UNIFIL in Lebanon.
"The Army has undertaken further security measures along Lebanese-Syrian borders, in a bid to protect local population and control smuggling and infiltration operations in both directions," the General said, stressing the Army's undeviating vigilance in confronting terrorism in all its sorts and forms.
General Qahwaji lauded the role of UNIFIL in consecrating security and stability along the southern borders, commending UNIFIL Command's notable performance either at the level of cooperation with the Army in implementing UN Resolution 1701 or its positive interaction with local population.
--------------L.Y

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Geagea meets Marsaud, LF students' delegation
 

Wed 18/01/2012 18:13


NNA - 18/1/2012 - Lebanese Forces leader, Samir Geagea, on Wednesday met with French candidate to the legislative elections, Alain Marsaud, over the current situation on the Lebanese, French, Syrian and international scenes.

Geagea later met with a delegation of LF students departments.

R.A.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Berri: Lebanon can cast off strife and be place for dialogue
 

Wed 18/01/2012 18:09

NNA - 18/01/2012 - House Speaker Nabih Berri said Lebanon can play the role of casting off strife in the Middle East region and be instead a place for dialogue.

Speaker Berri's words came on Wednesday in the context of his meeting with the Honorary Consul Joseph Habeis.

Berri explained that the region was witnessing a big conspiracy or a critical operation known as "New Middle East" project, saying that ethnic, confessional and sectarian factors have been pumped into the local scene to serve said conspiracy.

However, Berri assured that Lebanon has disassociated itself from evil and "Godwilling not any sectarian strife would succeed in the country."

Turning to the Fuel issue, Berri disclosed the big availability of gas and oil throughout the Lebanese coastline, hoping that executive operations would be carried out to approve laws and decrees in this concern.
"We adhere to every single drop of oil in the country and we won't allow Israel to do with Lebanon the same as it did with Gaza," Berri wrapped up.

Separately, Berri received a number of deputies in the context of the Wednesday Meeting at the House of Parliament.

He also met with ministers Ali Hassan Khalil and Alaeddine Terro.

A.M./P.BC.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Sleiman, former MPs tackle developments
 

Wed 18/01/2012 18:05

NNA - 18/1/2012 - President of the Republic, Michel Sleiman, on Wednesday took up most recent developments on the local domestic scene, with former Deputies Michel Khoury, Mahmoud Tobbo, and Ismail Sukariah, at Baabda palace.

R.A.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Iranian Cultural consul's Muslim-Christian summit winds up
 

Wed 18/01/2012 17:38

NNA - 18/1/2012 - A conference titled "Muslims and Christians amid an atmosphere of major change" organized by the Iranian Cultural Consultancy in Lebanon and the Arab Muslim-Christian dialogue, on Wednesday winded up its work sessions at Coral Beach Hotel, with Iranian ambassador Ghazanfar Roknabadi lecturing on "the role of religions and spiritual culture in anchoring civil peace and throwing off sectarian strife."

In his intervention, the diplomat highlighted the role of media and the necessity to diffuse the culture of citizenship and fight racism and sectarian strife.

"The US and Israel are behind the deterioration of ties between Muslims on one hand and between Muslims and Christians on the other," he noted.

"We must endeavor so as to avert strife through reforms within our societies, as well as through fostering the culture of love, in order that we, Christians and Muslims, would be able to meet our civilization and values," he concluded.



R.A.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Hezbollah denies shelling Zabadani
 

Wed 18/01/2012 17:30

NNA - 18/1/2012 Hezbollah categorically denied accusations leveled against it of shelling Zabadani locality in Syria, saying these accusations are merely groundless, ridiculous and comical.
Hezbollah's denial came in a statement it issued on Wednesday, after certain sides of the Syrian opposition and specific Arab media institutions and internet websites insisted on accusing Hezbollah of shelling the area of Zabadani with katyusha rockets.
The Party considered these accusations as falling within the framework of orchestrated incitement attempts against the Party by these sides since few months.
-----------------L.Y

NNA 2012 All rights reserved



 

Politics - March 14 call to determine responsibilities in Ashrafieh building disaster
 

Wed 18/01/2012 16:59

NNA - 18/1/2012 - The deadly collapse of a seven-story building in Ashrafieh late Sunday drew stern deprecation of March 14 forces, who urged the government Wednesday to provide housing and compensations for pained families.

March 14 General Secretariat met today in its Wednesday periodic meeting in Ashrafieh and underscored the obligation to determine responsibilities with respect to the building disaster.

In a related development, the cabinet agreed Monday to grant 30 million LBP to the families of the fallen victims. Besides, the cabinet duly formed an investigation committee, under the chairmanship of Interior and Municipalities Minister Marwan Charbel, to look into the reasons behind the disastrous collapse.

March 14 did not fail today to turn to Syria, whereas a closing statement issued in the wake of the meeting echoed the forces' strong belief that "the Syrian revolution" had entered a new stage after President Bashar Assad's latest speech, which they reckoned as "avowing the continuity of bloody repression against unarmed civilians."

"This revolution and its repercussions on the Lebanese reality compel the Lebanese parties to be concerned with maintaining civil peace and coexistence," the statement read.

The forces were also keen to call on Hezbollah to find the adequate loophole to its long-simmering illegitimate weapons issue.

On the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, Nawfal Daou told reporters following the meeting that STL mandate's renewal requires the approval of the Lebanese government.



R.A.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Gemayel meets Matar, utters regret over building's collapse
 

Wed 18/01/2012 15:38

NNA - 18/1/2012 - Beirut Maronite Bishops Head, Boulos Matar, met Wednesday with the Kataeb party Head, former President Amin Gemayel who expressed regret and sorrow over the building collapse incident which killed and injured many.
Gemayel offered condolences to the victims' families and wished speedy recovery to the wounded.

He said "we should learn from that catastrophe and try to avoid its reoccurrence in the future." He accordingly reminded of the project submitted, years back, by his son Pierre Gemayel before his martyrdom. The project was aimed at preventing catastrophes and natural disasters.

"It is about time for the parliament to study this project seriously. If it had seen the light earlier, we would've avoided such tragedies," Gemayel argued.

In this regard, Gemayel assured that Beirut Maronite and Orthodox bishoprics will do the best they can to ease the pain and lessen the burden upon the aggrieved families' shoulders.

D.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved









 

Politics - Audi receives De Freij, Fadlallah
 

Wed 18/01/2012 15:38

NNA - 18/01/2012 - Beirut Greek-Orthodox Metropolitan Elias Audi received on Wednesday at Greek-Orthodox Bishopric in Ashrafieh Future Bloc Deputy Nabil De Freij. Both discussed the bad situation of buildings especially after the catastrophic collapse of Ashrafieh building on Sunday.

The Deputy stressed upon the necessity for Lebanese to strictly adhere to laws and regulations instead of disregarding them. He, accordingly, highlighted the carelessness in constructing buildings without safety procedures, licenses or engineering.

Separately, Aridi received Scholar Ali Fadlallah and discussed with him national affairs.

A.M./P.BC.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved

 








 

Politics - Nasrallah meets Iranian Culture Minister
 

Wed 18/01/2012 15:27

NNA - 18/1/2012 - Hezbollah Secretary General, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, on Wednesday received Iranian Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance, Seyed Mohammad Hosseini and the accompanying delegation, in presence of Iran's ambassador to Lebanon, Ghazanfar Roknabadi, and a number of the Party's officials.

"Talks featured high on the general political and cultural situation in Lebanon and the region," a closing statement by Hezbollah's press office indicated.



R.A.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Zahle Catholic Archbishop visits Aoun
 

Wed 18/01/2012 15:22

NNA - 18/1/2012 - Head of the Change and Reform Bloc, MP Michel Aoun, on Wednesday met with Zahle and Ferzol Greek Catholic Archbishop, Issam Darwiche, over an array of affairs related to Bekaa region.

The Archbishop, who visited Aoun today at his residence in Rabieh accompanied with a delegation of Fathers and nuns, said, in the wake of the meeting, that Christians, being an integral part of both the Lebanese and Arab entities, were not endangered.

Today's meeting also touched on a spectrum of developments and affairs relevant to Lebanon and the broader Arab region.


R.A.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Ali from Grand Serail: for more Lebanese determination to control Syrian Lebanese borders
 

Wed 18/01/2012 15:04

NNA - 18/01/2012 - Syria's Ambassador to Lebanon, Ali Abdul Karim Ali, said there must be more determination on the Lebanese side to control the Lebanese Syrian borders and prevent any penetration of saboteurs into Syria.

Ali's words came Wednesday upon his meeting with Prime Minister Najib Mikati and discussing with him bilateral ties from all facets.

Separately, Mikati received UN Special Coordinator to Lebanon, Robert Watkins, who appreciated the honorable way by which Lebanon received UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon last week.

Amongst Grand Serail's visitors: a delegation of the international campaign for releasing the captive George Abdullah; a delegation of Orkoub Municipalities Union; former Minister Elias Skaff and Muhammad Youssof Beydoun; and others.

A.M./P.BC.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved










 

Politics - Anne-Marie to her final resting place
 

Wed 18/01/2012 15:04

NNA - 18/1/2012 - The funeral of the young girl Anne-Marie Abdel Karim held at Notre Dame Church, Achrafieh came to an end.

The girl's body was carried to her final resting place at Mar Meter church amid fireworks, ringing bells and shedding tears.

D.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Sleiman highlights Lebanon's economic strength
 

Wed 18/01/2012 15:00

NNA - 18/1/2012 The Lebanese President Michel Sleiman Wednesday drew attention to Lebanon's triumph over world economic crisis and Arab spring repercussions.

During his encounter with the Diplomatic corps members in Lebanon, Sleiman said we ought to reinforce our internal arena and improve our practice of democracy so that Lebanon would be the democracy pioneer.

The Leba
nese president accentuated the necessity of government's works mainly regarding electoral law and administrative decentralization, noting the need to adopt oil and gas exploration law considering what this law bears of economic positive repercussions.

At another level, Sleiman received at Baabda palace today former Ministers Talal Merehbi, Ibrahim Dedeyan, and Fayez Shukr.
Talks touched on the domestic most recent up-to-dates.


L.W.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved
 












 

Politics - Qadiri interrogates government on Aarsal issue
 

Wed 18/01/2012 14:23


NNA - 18/1/2012 Future bloc member Ziad Qadiri Wednesday presented a request to question the government about the Aarsal town issue, in a press conference at the Parliament in presence of Prime Minister Najib Mikati and Minister of Defense Fayez Ghosn.

The latter has declared earlier about arms smuggling operations and infiltration of al-Qaeda members on border crossings of Bekaa region, Aarsal.

Divulging a series of contradictions in Lebanese officials' declarations on Aarsal issue, the MP interrogated Mikati about measures adopted regarding cooperation between ministers to evaluate Defense Minister's statements.

Qadiri has then asked about steps government had taken to protect Lebanese-Syrian borders, especially in Aarsal, so as to prevent from foreign forces or event terrorist organizations' aggressions.

In his press conference, the MP hoped House Speaker Nabih Berri would call for a gathering at the Parliament to set the date for a parliamentary questions and answers' session.

L.W.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved

 

Politics - Loyalty to the Resistance warns against using Lebanon to serve U.S.-Israeli schemes
 

Wed 18/01/2012 13:20

NNA - 18/1/2012 Loyalty to the Resistance bloc Wednesday called for facing attempts aiming at using Lebanon to serve U.S.-Israeli plots.

"During Arab region changes and their positive or negative effects on Lebanon, the national logic invites us to be attached to the choices which serve the interests of our country and preserve its unity, stability and security," the statement said.

The bloc also said that managing public affairs and answering people's needs require a speed up to the government's administrative appointments as to the approbation of salaries' adjustment law and settlement of all pending judicial, financial, and administrative dossiers.


L.W.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Zahraman urges to take measures to re-open Rene Moawad's Airport
 

Wed 18/01/2012 12:37


NNA - 18/1/2012 - Deputy Khaled Zahraman called on the Lebanese cabinet to take quick and decisive measures to re-open Rene Moawad's Airport.

"We Akkar citizens, ask the Lebanese cabinet to take measures and re-open imminently Rene Moawad's Airport", the MP urged.

He added in Wednesday's statement that the De facto forces uncovered their intentions and answered the questions of Akkar's citizens who demanded the re-opening of said airport which has become a Lebanese need before it was a developmental need to this deprived region.

The MP wondered how the De facto forces said the re-opening of the airport might manipulate stability and all the maritime, land and air ports are under their control.

A.A.M

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Hout doubts Nahas' intentions
 

Wed 18/01/2012 12:18

NNA - 18/1/2012 - Deputy Imad Al-Hout doubts the intentions of the Labor Minister, Charbel Nahas, regarding the wage increase decree which has been refuted by the Shura Council three times in a row.

Hout told the Orient radio station Wednesday that this fact insinuates Nahas' intention to delay the ratification of the wage adjustment decree, so as to achieve a political victory at the expense of the people's interests.

The Deputy said the best way to settle this subject is by legalizing the agreement between the economic boards and the General Labor Confederation.

Separately, MP Hout regretted the building collapse disaster in Ashrafieh, saying it draws attention to the absence of a national disaster management committee to deal with such catastrophes.

Hout praised in this regard all efforts exerted by the rescue units.

As for the latest diplomatic activity in Lebanon, MP Hout said it was aimed at sending to the international community a message that says "Lebanon still draws an international concern, hence an immunity against being dragged into the Syrian crisis."
D.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Kanaan calls for World Bank report follow up
 

Wed 18/01/2012 11:52

NNA - 18/1/2012 MP Ibrahim Kanaan Wednesday affirmed having called on the Finance Ministry to hand him the World Bank Experts' report.

Head of the Finance and Budget Commission told Sawt-El-Mada radio that this report was purely technical for it had analyzed an existing situation without giving any political opinion, not even a general stance.

The MP also said he had sent a letter to Finance Minister, Mohammad Safadi, concerning this issue on December 22, 2011.

"It is necessary that this issue be followed up by the Finance and Budget Commission to establish a true reform, to determine responsibilities, and to put an end to quarrels," Kanaan said and noted that Finance Ministry had already begun applying practical steps with the imposition of accountability restraints so as to cease illegal interferences in accounting process.


A new World Bank report lays out recommendations for reforming the financial sector in the Middle East region. It argues that, while this sector has been resilient to the global financial crisis and the subsequent political shocks of the Arab spring, it has failed to provide broad, sound and equitable access to finance.

With recent turmoil in the region and deep-seated frustration among the large youth population, this failure might have been a factor in these outcomes.
The report notes that lack of access to finance is due to weaknesses in financial infrastructure, insufficient competition in the banking sector. It recognizes that the structure of MENA's banking systems is evolving in the right direction, but levels of competition are still weak.

It goes on to describe MENA's financial sectors as dominated by large, well-capitalized banks, but largely undiversified and uncompetitive. With very high loan concentration ratios, banks focus on providing loans to large and well-connected enterprises and industrial groups. Add to that, essential non-banking financial institutions such as insurance companies, mutual and pension funds, leasing, and factoring, are under developed with few exceptions.
The report recommends that efforts to develop a new growth agenda for the region must include a significant component of financial sector reforms. It points out the importance of implementing a comprehensive and integrated agenda for both improving access and preserving stability.


On the topic of Jal-El-Dib bridge, the MP said this matter ought to be solved soon, either through dismantling the bridge or at least by banning traffic over it.

As for the salaries' adjustment issue, Kanaan said Minister Nahas is scheduled to present two options before the Cabinet, with the first to include his proposal bearing the legal guarantee, and the second to include agreement between laborers and economic bodies.

"Giving laborers their right means to go for the first choice for the second one ought to be gradual," he remarked, uttering willingness to carry out with his bloc's reform path.


L.W.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Houry: Extending for STL will take place
 

Wed 18/01/2012 11:15

NNA - 18/1/2012 - Deputy Ammar Houry stressed that extending the tribunal's protocol will take place and is out of any discussion since it is under chapter seven.

"The only point which can be discussed concerning STL is the deadline of this extension", the MP said on Wednesday to "Voice of Lebanon"-Freedom and Dignity radio.

On the other hand, the MP pointed out that the dialogue's schedule was complete except for one article which is the arsenal of Hizbullah.

"If some people are talking about something else on the agenda, then they are talking about another dialogue which we are not aware of", the MP said.

A.A.M

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Manjian urges cabinet to dismantle Jal El-Dib Bridge
 

Wed 18/01/2012 11:05

NNA - 18/1/2012 - State Minister Panos Manjian confirmed Wednesday that no specific mechanism is thus far determined by the cabinet so as to manage disasters.

The Minister made these remarks in his talk show with the Voice of Lebanon - Voice of Dignity and Freedom radio station, calling on the cabinet to dismantle Jal El-Dib Bridge as it threatens public safety, based on engineers and technical committees' reports.

Separately, the Minister confirmed that reciprocal accusations between political poles were derailing the administrative appointments process.
D.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Sleiman convenes with Iranian Minister of Culture, French candidate
 

Tue 17/01/2012 21:17

NNA - 17/01/2012 President of the Republic convened Tuesday with Iranian Minister of Culture at Baabda Palace, whereby the latter revealed his country's intentions to fortify cultural relations with Lebanon; the President also had an audience with French parliamentary candidate.

Minister Sayyed Mohammad Housseiny headed a delegation while on an official visit to Lebanon to sign numerous cooperation agreements. Iran planned to hold an Iranian cultural-artistic week in Lebanon, and hoped for a similar Lebanese week in the Persian state.

In other news, President Michel Sleiman met with MPs Nabil De Freige and Emile Rahme.

Among Baabda visitors for today was Alain Marceau, candidate for the French parliamentary elections, department of French expatriates in the Middle East and North Africa.

Marceau explained the recent amendment to the French constitution, allowing French expatriates to be full membership MPs in parliament.

R.Z.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Aoun denounces privatization of electricity, demands removal of bridge
 

Tue 17/01/2012 20:36

NNA - 17/01/2012 Change and Reform Bloc censured in its weekly meeting Tuesday those attempting to exploit the electricity dispute for personal gain, and offered condolences for the victims of a collapsed building in Achrafieh while demanding the immediate removal of Jal-Dib Bridge.

27 people were killed when a building collapsed in Achrafieh-Beirut. The cabinet formed a commission headed by Interior Minister Marwan Charbel to inquire into this catastrophe and submit a report on collapse-prone buildings across Lebanon. Similarly, numerous complaints were made about the metal bridge on Jal-Dib highway, north of Beirut, demanding its removal before another disaster hits.

MP Michel Aoun, head of Change and Reform Bloc, stipulated that those responsible for the collapsed building be held accountable. He also demanded the removal of the bridge due to cracks eating away at its foundations. "There is official and popular accord that the bridge must be removed. And those responsible for the issue should be held accountable should any problem arise over it."

Focusing on the issue of privatizing electricity in Lebanon, Aoun accused certain sides of attempting to privatize the sector as they did with the mobile telecommunications sector. He denounced it as an attempt to ruin the country and drive public administrations into bankruptcy.

"These administrations must remain under the control of the state," Aoun asserted.
R.Z.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Future Bloc: Hezbollah's stances harmful, cabinet must apply safety in construction
 

Tue 17/01/2012 19:27

NNA - 17/01/2012 Weekly meeting of Future Parliamentary Bloc concluded Tuesday afternoon with a call for government and municipalities to take serious measures to ensure construction safety and revise rent law, and warned that Hezbollah's statements concerning country's politics are grave.

A catastrophe befell the country when a building collapsed in Achrafieh-Beirut on Sunday killing 27 of its residents and seriously injuring 12 others. On that same day, a conference, sponsored by The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA), was held in the country under the title of Reform and Transition to Democracy, attended by numerous national and international high ranking officials, including United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, who was blatantly unwelcomed by Hezbollah.

Future parliamentarians observed a minute of silence, in the Central House, for the souls of those who fell victim of faulty construction. "We need to look seriously and objectively into the reasons behind this disaster," said MP Aamar Houry after the meeting, blaming obsolete rent laws and lack of proper governmental and municipal monitoring for the collapse.

The Bloc lauded the cabinet's effort to compensate for the victims in Achrafieh, and demanded that it does the same for the people of Wady Khaled and Aarsal.

Commenting on the ESCWA conference, the Bloc denounced Hezbollah's unconstructive attitude towards the UN, particularly Ban Ki-moon. "This is another negative point in [Hezbollah's] record." Houry added that this stance bears harmful repercussions on the country as a whole.

Conferees also alluded to the situation in Syria, which seemed to continue to spiral out of control. "The regime decided to press on with oppression and murder...and so, the Bloc renews its call on the Arab League and its monitors in Syrian cities to live up to their nationalistic and humanitarian responsibilities and take stern stances to protect Syria and its people."

R.Z.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - (Addition) Elati emphasizes Spain's commitment to help Lebanon militarily
 

Tue 17/01/2012 19:12

NNA - 17/1/2012 - Spanish Defense Minister Pedro Morinos Elati stressed obviously his country's commitment to help Lebanon on the military level, as means to bolster friendship between both countries.

Elati's stressing remark came from the Grand Serail upon his meeting with Prime Minister Najib Mikati and reviewing with him bilateral ties. The meeting was attended by Lebanon's Defense Minister Fayez Ghosn and the Spanish Ambassador Juan Carlos Gafo.

Elati conveyed to the host the Spanish government's consensus as regarding providing assistance to Lebanon via the Spanish participation, within UNIFIL, in the peacekeeping mission in the South.

Elati added he would extend to Spain's Prime Minister Mikati's invitation for his counterpart to visit Lebanon.

Separately, Premier Mikati received at the Grand Serail the French Ambassador to Lebanon, Denis Peitton, who said he tackled with the host the latter's upcoming visit to Paris on February.

Pietton regretted Sunday's incident of building collapse in Beirut, offering family victims his condolences and wishing the injured speedy recovery.
Amongst Grand Serail's visitors, Head of Gas Stations Owners Syndicate, Sami Brax and State Minister for Developmental Affairs, Muhammad Fneish.
A.M/A.B

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - (Addition) Elati emphasizes Spain's commitment to help Lebanon militarily
 

Tue 17/01/2012 19:12

NNA - 17/1/2012 - Spanish Defense Minister Pedro Morinos Elati stressed obviously his country's commitment to help Lebanon on the military level, as means to bolster friendship between both countries.

Elati's stressing remark came from the Grand Serail upon his meeting with Prime Minister Najib Mikati and reviewing with him bilateral ties. The meeting was attended by Lebanon's Defense Minister Fayez Ghosn and the Spanish Ambassador Juan Carlos Gafo.

Elati conveyed to the host the Spanish government's consensus as regarding providing assistance to Lebanon via the Spanish participation, within UNIFIL, in the peacekeeping mission in the South.

Elati added he would extend to Spain's Prime Minister Mikati's invitation for his counterpart to visit Lebanon.

Separately, Premier Mikati received at the Grand Serail the French Ambassador to Lebanon, Denis Peitton, who said he tackled with the host the latter's upcoming visit to Paris on February.

Pietton regretted Sunday's incident of building collapse in Beirut, offering family victims his condolences and wishing the injured speedy recovery.
Amongst Grand Serail's visitors, Head of Gas Stations Owners Syndicate, Sami Brax and State Minister for Developmental Affairs, Muhammad Fneish.
A.M/A.B

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Eulati winds up visit to Beirut
 

Tue 17/01/2012 19:02

NNA - 17/01/2012 - Spanish Defense Minister Pedro Morenos Eulati winded up his visit to Lebanon on Tuesday, heading to Spain on board a private jet.
R.K

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Siniora partakes in Litani Project launching
 

Tue 17/01/2012 18:40

NNA - 17/01/2012 - Future Bloc Head Fouad Siniora participated on Tuesday at the Grand Serail in the launching event of Litani Project.

Siniora congratulated all the Lebanese on the accomplishment of such project, highly estimating the Kuwaiti and Arab funds which showed great contributions in this concern.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Charbel to NNA: No reason for fear regarding Jal-Dib Bridge
 

Tue 17/01/2012 18:35

NNA - 17/01/2012 - Interior and Municipalities Minister Marwan Charbel assured the Lebanese citizens that the condition of Jal-Dib Bridge is not bad, saying that there is no reason for worry or fear in this regards. He stressed that the Interior Ministry has taken all requisite preventive measures on said bridge.

Minister Charbel was speaking in an interview he accorded to National News Agency (NNA) on Tuesday, following news saying that the bridge is sustaining its last days.

"We banned trucks from crossing the bridge," Charbel told NNA, disclosing that engineers from the Construction and Development Council have been dispatched to the bridge to thoroughly inspect and put forward a report on its present conditions.

Charbel underlined that the decision has been taken to remove the bridge as quickly as possible, in order to avert the occurrence of any catastrophe and facilitate traffic movement.

"We undertook the requisite contacts with the Construction and Development Council and Public Works Minister Ghazi Aridi," Charbel said, disclosing that Minister Aridi recommended forbidding trucks' passage on said bridge and reducing pressure on it by banning extra loads.
-----------------L.Y

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Elati emphasizes Spain's commitment to help Lebanon militarily
 

Tue 17/01/2012 16:40

NNA - 17/1/2012 - Spanish Defense Minister Pedro Morinos Elati stressed obviously his country's commitment to help Lebanon on the military level, as means to bolster friendship between both countries.

Elati's stressing remark came from the Grand Serail upon his meeting with Prime Minister Najib Mikati and reviewing with him bilateral ties. The meeting was attended by Lebanon's Defense Minister Fayez Ghosn and the Spanish Ambassador Juan Carlos Gafo.

Elati conveyed to the host the Spanish government's consensus as regarding providing assistance to Lebanon via the Spanish participation, within UNIFIL, in the peacekeeping mission in the South.

Elati added he would extend to Spain's Prime Minister Mikati's invitation for his counterpart to visit Lebanon.

Amongst Grand Serail's visitors, Head of Gas Stations Owners Syndicate, Sami Brax and State Minister for Developmental Affairs, Muhammad Fneish.
A.M/A.B

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Hassan, Ozyildise meet
 

Tue 17/01/2012 16:27

NNA - 17/1/2012 - Druze Sheikh Akl, Naim Hassan, received Tuesday the Turkish Ambassador to Lebanon, Inan Ozyildise, with talks featuring high on Lebanese and regional developments.

Ozyildise conveyed to Hassan the regards of the Turkish Foreign Minister, Amhet Davutoglu, and his apology for having not been able to visit him during his presence in Beirut.

Ozyildise said "Davutoglu appreciates the important role played by the Sheikh Akl as a religious reference for Druze in Lebanon, the country of conviviality."

Sheikh Hassan, for his part, saluted the role of Turkey in the Islamic world, calling on Turkish authorities to unite with the Arab and Islamic countries so as to protect the region and keep its people safe.

Separately, Sheikh Hassan uttered regret over the building collapse in Achrafieh, fassouh, offering heartfelt condolences to the victims' families.
D.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Hassan, Ozyildise meet
 

Tue 17/01/2012 16:27

NNA - 17/1/2012 - Druze Sheikh Akl, Naim Hassan, received Tuesday the Turkish Ambassador to Lebanon, Inan Ozyildise, with talks featuring high on Lebanese and regional developments.

Ozyildise conveyed to Hassan the regards of the Turkish Foreign Minister, Amhet Davutoglu, and his apology for having not been able to visit him during his presence in Beirut.

Ozyildise said "Davutoglu appreciates the important role played by the Sheikh Akl as a religious reference for Druze in Lebanon, the country of conviviality."

Sheikh Hassan, for his part, saluted the role of Turkey in the Islamic world, calling on Turkish authorities to unite with the Arab and Islamic countries so as to protect the region and keep its people safe.

Separately, Sheikh Hassan uttered regret over the building collapse in Achrafieh, fassouh, offering heartfelt condolences to the victims' families.
D.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Karameh meets Tanase, follows up sports activities
 

Tue 17/01/2012 15:52


NNA - 17/1/2012 - Youth and Sports Minister Faysal Karameh received Tuesday at his ministerial office the Romanian Ambassador to Lebanon, Daniel Tanase, with whom he discussed means of boosting bilateral cooperation at the sports level.

Also, Minister Karameh met with the Director General of Vocational and Technical Education, Ahmed Diab, with talks featuring high on sports activities.
D.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved



 

Politics - Aridi denies sabotage of Ethiopian aircraft in line with technical report
 

Tue 17/01/2012 15:41

Ethiopian Airlines rebuke Lebanese report

NNA - Minister of Public Works and Transportation Ghazi Aridi blamed the pilot and crew of the Ethiopian airliner which crashed last year off Khaldeh shore near Beirut airport for the incident which claimed scores of lives, whilst the final Lebanese report on the crash drew the Ethiopian side's downright confutation.

Aridi's argument came in line with the issuance of the technical report on the Ethiopian plane crash, which according to Lebanese sides, was the result of a default in the control and navigation system, as the pilot apparently panicked and steered the plane towards the eye of the storm.

"The pilot and his crew had been in active service for 51 consecutive days without taking any break or rest," Aridi said as speaking at a press conference at Rafik Hariri International Airport, vehemently denying any sabotage act of the plane.

A document presenting an update on the progress of the technical investigation as of 31st July 2011, has been issued today with filled in with information previously presented to the Minister of Public Works and Transportation on the 29th of January 2011.

"The report has been prepared on the basis of the information gathered during the investigation, which is not yet complete, and analysis work done on some aircraft components to verify consistency with recorded data; therefore, some of the points covered may evolve with time," the report read.

Affirming that the Lebanese authorities would take into consideration the Ethiopian report on the accident, Aridi said, "The truth lies in the Lebanese report which reveals that the pilot holds full responsibility for the plane crash."

But the technical report, in accordance with Annex 13 to the Convention on International Civil Aviation (of which Lebanon is a signatory, and with the Lebanese Air Regulations LAR) said that the investigation had not been conducted so as to apportion blame, nor to assess individual or collective responsibility.

"The sole objective of this investigation is to establish the cause(s) of the accident, draw lessons from what happened and come with appropriate recommendations that may help to prevent future accidents. Consequently, nothing in the presentation of this report or the points that are raised herein should be interpreted as an indication of the orientation or conclusions of the investigation. Furthermore, the use of this report for any purpose other than for the prevention of future accidents could lead to erroneous interpretations," the report said.

In turn, the Ethiopian Airliner rebuked the Lebanese report, saying it was absolutely biased and merely based on assumptions, totally disregarding tangible facts and givens.

"Thunder, a terrorist act (...), must be behind the explosion which broke the plane into pieces," Mr. Desta Zero, the Ethiopian Aviation Operations Chief, said in a statement.

As for the International Investigations Committee's report, it said that a Technical Review meeting on the analysis phase will start immediately, and the final draft report should be ready for review by all participating States by September 10th.

In accordance to ICAO requirements, participating States shall then have 60 days to comment on the final report, which should then be submitted to H.E. the Lebanese Minister of Public Works and Transportation and released to the public
R.H.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - U.S. Embassy: U.S. Ambassador meets with MP Michel Aoun
 

Tue 17/01/2012 14:51

NNA - 17/01/2011 - U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon Maura Connelly met with Free Patriotic Movement leader MP Michel Aoun today at his private offices in Rabieh. The Ambassador and General Aoun discussed the political and security situation in Lebanon and the current situation in Syria.

Ambassador Connelly expressed the United States' deep concern that the Syrian regime continues its violent oppression of the Syrian people, despite the presence of the Arab League monitoring mission. She underscored U.S. concerns that developments in Syria not contribute to instability in Lebanon.

Noting that the Lebanese Parliament is currently considering legislation related to domestic abuse, Ambassador Connelly raised the U.S. expectation that the Government of Lebanon will support the rights of women, including those related to domestic abuse, affirming that human rights are inherent and are neither bestowed nor earned.

She renewed the commitment of the United States to a stable, sovereign and independent Lebanon.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Launching Litani Project ceremony at Grand Serail
 

Tue 17/01/2012 14:42


NNA - 17/1/2012 - A ceremony was held Tuesday at the Grand Serail for launching Litani project, with Prime Minister Najib Mikati and House Speaker Nabih Berri attending and giving words during the event.

Mikati said that such accomplishment [Litani Project launching] could not be provided safety except by reinforcing stability, without which Lebanon would be unable to face big challenges.

Berri, for his part, described the accomplishment as one of Lebanon's victorious phases against Israel. He, accordignly, thanked the Reconstruction and Development Council, the Kuwaiti Fund as well as contractors that contributed to reach the accomplishment.

A.M/A.B

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Cortbawi, Abou Saiid tackle regional unrest
 

Tue 17/01/2012 14:28


NNA - 17/1/2012 - International Human Rights Organization's Ambassador, member of the international parliament for security and peace, Haytham Abou Saiid, met Tuesday morning with the Lebanese Justice Minister, Shakib Cortbawi, whereby they tackled regional unrest.

Both men shed light on the Syrian developments and the organization's stance at this level, particularly its support for the reforms carried out by some Arab countries to end the bloodshed.

Abou Saiid listed the fears of some international sides from exploiting human suffering to tolerate suspicious plots.

Minister Cortbawi called in this regard for participating in the international conference for human rights and world peace to be held in Beirut by the end of this month.
D.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Raad warns of sensitivity of security condition
 

Tue 17/01/2012 14:09

NNA - 17/1/2012 - Deputy Muhammad Raad warned Tuesday of the sensitivity of the local security situation, especially after the decision of opening Qlayaat airport, as foreign members have been planned to enter the country for unrest operations.

Raad's warning remark came from Yarzeh upon his meeting with the former Lebanese President Emil Lahoud for discussing overall developments at the local and regional scenes.

Raad offered his condolences to family victims after the collapse of the residential building at Sioufi area of Ashrafieh on Sunday, hoping speedy recovery for the injured persons.

A.M/A.B

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Salam: Building's tumbling mirrors national collapse
 

Tue 17/01/2012 13:49

NNA - 17/1/2012 - Deputy Tammam Salam said the building's collapse in Ashrafieh, Fassouh reflects a general state of collapse at different national levels, affecting people's lives with accumulated negligence and paralysis.

"This basically emanates from sterility in carrying out public affairs due to political conflicts between different leaderships who usually set their priorities based on personal calculations, at the expense of the public interest," he said in his statement Tuesday.

The Deputy noted that it became urgent to form a national dialogue committee to address public affairs and eradicate corruption from the country's institutions.
D.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Sleiman: Proceeding with efforts in favor of defensive strategy and dialogue
 

Tue 17/01/2012 13:37

NNA - 17/1/2012 The Lebanese President Michel Sleiman Tuesday avowed he shall proceed with endeavors to pull off dialogue, protect the Lebanese, and reach an agreement regarding defensive strategy.

Speaking before the Diplomatic Corps members in Baabda, Sleiman said the Lebanese were capable of having logic and dialogue principles predominate.

The President has also affirmed that Lebanon, emanating from the Arab region's interest, seeks the success of the Arab League initiative regarding Syria, noting that Arab region's changes necessitate multiplication of endeavors to have an answer for the Middle-East matter arise, on the basis of international resolutions and Arab initiative.

"Lebanon is closely following up on the issue of escalating tension in the Gulf region, a thing which endangers security and peace," he added.

Sleiman pushed for diplomatic dialogue so as to reinforce stability in the region.

At greater length, he announced the adoption of several measures aiming at a better protection to the UNIFIL, and expressed in that respect his admiration to the former UNIFIL commander, Alberto Asarta Cuevas, as well as to the forces' efforts in preserving Lebanon's southern security.

Within this frame, he hailed the international financial support in dismantling Lebanese territories and handling problems caused by the Israeli enemy in 2006.

President Sleiman has then called on the international community to respect pledges toward UNRWA and exert efforts in favor of Palestinians for this is "an international responsibility."

"Lebanon refuses Palestinian refugees' naturalization based on their right to return to their homeland," he corroborated.


On the economic level, Sleiman uttered Lebanon's attachment to its rights in exploring oil and gas resources.

"We are prepared to bring in offers and launch gas pits' exploration," he remarked.

Concluding his word, Sleiman said Lebanon was capable of preserving stability and attract investment.
"Government was capable of applying its Cabinet Policy Statement items," he affirmed.

Papal Nuncio Gabriel Cacchia, in turn, asserted the need to "respect international resolutions and to recognize the Palestinian state so as to reach a comprehensive and just solution in the region."

"Lebanon has always rejected violence, yet, terrorism proceeds with its ominous aspect in many countries. Last year was distinguished by the absence of dialogue in primary matters, and to apply dialogue we are in need of justice," he remarked.

Papal Nuncio also underscored the importance of UN secretary General's visit to Lebanon in light of Lebanon's crucial role inside international community.
L.W.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - (UPDATED) Aoun discusses Expatriates situation with German Maronite Union delegation
 

Tue 17/01/2012 12:58

NNA - 17/1/2012 - "Change and Reform" bloc head Deputy Michel Aoun met on Tuesday before noon at his Rabyeh residence with a delegation from the German Maronite Union.

The delegation discussed the expatriates' situation and particularly the forthcoming elections.

Separately, Aoun met with Sports and Youth Minister Faysal Karami and discussed the cabinet's performance, particularly the proposed files amid the prevailing atmosphere in Lebanon and the Arab countries.

A.A.M

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Ogassapian offers condolences to victims families, lashes out on government
 

Tue 17/01/2012 12:48

NNA - 17/1/2012 - Parliament member Jean Ogassapian described the collapse of the building in Ashrafieh as a human disaster, offering condolences to the families of the victims and wishing fast recovery to the wounded.

Ogassapian said these remarks in his talk show with the Orient radio station whereby he noted that the concerned security apparatuses and institutions fulfilled their duties and did the best they could in their rescue mission.

"The gap lies in the absence of a special committee that bears the responsibility of facing such catastrophes," he indicated.

The MP reminded that Siniora's government had set up a project, back in 2006, to form a disaster management committee. He accordingly hoped the current government would study this project and approve it.

Ogassapian deemed as "financial" the measures adopted by the government to face the repercussions of this disaster by providing remunerations and hospitalization to the damaged.

He noticed that a huge number of buildings did not meet the necessary architectural standards of general safety, assuring that Beirut Deputies were fully aware of this dangerous matter and therefore deemed necessary the conduction of immediate statistics on all endangered buildings.

"This procedure does not only include old buildings, but also the newly built ones," he declared.

The Deputy made it clear that institutions which give random permits for buildings' construction are the one primary responsible for this collapse.

The rent law had also been a subject of criticism by the Deputy who obviously believes "it is unjust."

Separately, Ogassapian commented on "the failure of the so-called one-sided cabinet, three times in a row, to ratify the wage increase project."

"This indicates that the government is cracked and incoherent," said the MP who lashed out on its impotence to address the people's livelihood conditions, solve the economic crisis and create job opportunities.
D.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Aoun discusses Expatriates situation with German Maronite Union delegation
 

Tue 17/01/2012 12:47

NNA - 17/1/2012 - "Change and Reform" bloc head Deputy Michel Aoun met on Tuesday before noon at his Rabyeh residence with a delegation from the German Maronite Union.

The delegation discussed the expatriates' situation and particularly the forhcoming elections.

A.A.M

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Hasan Khalil discusses health conditions with Western Bekaa MPS
 

Tue 17/01/2012 12:42

NNA 17/1/2012 - Health Minister Ali Hasan Khalil discussed on Tuesday at the ministry the health situation of the Western Bekaa region with deputies Jammal Jarrah, Ziad Kaderi and Amine Wehbe.

Jarrah said after the meeting, "we discussed the medical situation in Western Bekaa where the government and private hospitals need aid", adding that the minister showed concern and support to this issue.

A.A.M

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Politics - Fatfat: Ending illegal arms is fundamental
 

Tue 17/01/2012 12:34

NNA - 17/1/2012 - Deputy Ahmad Fatfat stressed that the major battle is the end of illegal weapons.

The MP stressed that March 14 does not want to disarm Hizbullah and throw the weapons in the sea but to put them at the disposal of the Lebanese army to protect Lebanon.

"For this reason we suggest this issue as a basic article on dialogue table", the MP said.

Fatfat remarks came in a meeting held at the residence of Beirut Community head Mohamad Amine Daouk where they tackled developments on the Lebanese scene, in presence of Beirut dignitaries.

Fatfat spoke about the Syrian crisis, stressing that "the decision at the end is in the hand of the Syrian people", pointing out to their right in democracy and freedom.

"Our interest as Lebanese is to have democratic regime in Syria", Fatfat stressed.

The MP said that "it is our right to support Syrian positions and stand with Syrian refugees", refusing to use Lebanese territories for security issues against Syrian territories.

The MP called on the concerned sides to recognize Lebanon's sovereignty and independence, demarcate Lebanese- Syrian borders and cooperate between both countries.

Fatfat commented on the cabinet's situation, saying that its two political references are President Bashar Assad and Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah.

The MP said that this cabinet embroiled itself in Syria's incidents when it refused the Arab League's decisions and when Defense Minister Fayez Ghosn said that there were Al-Qaeda members in Lebanon paving the way for the Syrian regime to intervene in Lebanon's affairs.

"We insist to question Ghosn at the parliament to uncover the truth and know the motives behind the accusations of the existence of Al-Qaeda members", the MP said.

Concerning wage increase issue, Fatfat said that this is the first time private sector and GLC agree on a certain policy concerning wage increase, but instead Labor Minister Charbel Nahhas and for political ideological reasons came up with a different solution.

A.A.M

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Habib says building tumbling catastrophe
 

Tue 17/01/2012 11:46

NNA - 17/1/2012 MP Khodr Habib Tuesday depicted the Asharfieh building collapse as a disaster.

Habib said the issue was due to a technical and architectural failure and that concerned sides should have adopted protective measures so as to prevent such a "humanitarian quake."

The MP, speaking to Sawt-El-Mada radio, offered sincere condolences to fallen victims' families.

"Lebanon bears numerous laws and the Parliament is doing a good job, however, the problem lies in applying these laws," he remarked.

He also said the Works' Parliamentary Commission shall act when government fails to fulfill its obligation regarding sent recommendations within electricity or other humanitarian sectors.


L.W.

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Politics - Aridi denies sabotage of doomed Ethiopian aircraft
 

Tue 17/01/2012 11:44

NNA - Minister of Public Works and Transportation Ghazi Aridi blamed the pilot and crew of the Ethiopian airliner which crashed last year near Beirut airport for the incident which claimed many lives.

Speaking at a press conference at Rafik Hariri International Airport, the minister said the pilot and his crew have been in active service for 51 consecutive days without taking any break or rest.

Aridi based his argument on the technical report on the Ethiopian plane crash which was the result of a default in the control and navigation system and the pilot apparently panicked and steered the plane towards the eye of the storm.

He added that the Lebanese authorities will take into consideration the Ethiopian report on the accident.

"The truth lies in the Lebanese report which reveals that the pilot holds full responsibility for the plane crash."

The minister vehemently denied any sabotage act of the plane.

O.H

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Politics - Charbel: Rubble operations removal ended
 

Tue 17/01/2012 11:06

NNA - 17/1/2012 - Interior and Municipalities Minister Marwan Charbel announced that rubble operations removal of the collapsed building in Ashrafieh-Fassouh ended.

The minister pointed out that the final death toll reached 27 and 12 wounded.

Charbel said on Tuesday to "Voice of Lebanon"-Freedom and Dignity radio "no missing under the wreckage", adding that those who are considered missing are foreigners and do not possess residential permits, "for this reason they did not inform us fearing to take measures against them" the minister stressed.

The minister said that the cabinet discussed in Monday's session the issue of Disaster Management Committee, hoping to reach solutions.

A.A.M

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Politics - De Freij: Implementation of laws limit catastrophes
 

Tue 17/01/2012 10:25

NNA - 17/1/2012 - Deputy Nabil De Freij stressed that the only way to limit catastrophes in Lebanon is through implementing laws.

The MP added that what we are witnessing today is the result of problems accumulated from previous years, adding "there are many of doomed buildings in different regions".

De Freij remarks to "Voice of Lebanon" radio on Tuesday came following the collapse of the building in Ashrafieh which resulted in the death of 27 and the injury of 12.

The MP raised questions about the inspection of new buildings and whether the material used in the construction meets good standards, adding that "all construction works should be in line with Libnor measurements".

The MP finally said that the problem in Lebanon is not in approving laws but in its implementation.

A.A.M
 

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Politics - Qbaissi calls for speeding up rent law
 

Tue 17/01/2012 10:16

NNA - 17/1/2012 - Member of Parliament Hani Qbaissi called on the parliament to approve the rent draft law as soon as possible in an effort to solve some the problem of the doomed old buildings in Lebanon.

He told Voice of Lebanon that there are three buildings in Msaytbeh which pose a threat to the tenants.

"These three buildings which have 67 families could collapse," the MP warned, calling on all authorities to take the example of the tragedy in Achrafieh.
He stressed that it is imperative to evacuate all the buildings that could collapse any minute due to poor structure.

The MP urged the authorities to provide the residents of the doomed buildings alternative homes.

"Head of Beirut municipality Bilal Hamad has inspected the three buildings in Msaytbeh and prepared a technical report which was sent to the Speaker of the Parliament Nabih Berri who in turn filed it to the Higher Relief Committee."

He argued that finding a solution to the issue of old rents could help evict the tenants from the old buildings that could fall anytime.

O.H

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Politics - Rahal criticizes government's inability to address wage issue
 

Tue 17/01/2012 09:37

NNA- 17/1/2011 - Future Parliamentary bloc member Riad Rahal blasted the government for its failure to come up with a solution to the salary increase debate.

Speaking to "Radio Free Lebanon", the MP said some political quarters are trying to appease MP Michel Aoun and his "spoiled Labor Minister Charbel Nahhas".
"The government has sent the wage file four times to the Shura Council and the result was the same. People can't withstand this situation anymore," Rahal argued.

The MP expressed his surprise over the attitude of Nahhas who failed to narrow differences between the private sector and the General Labor Confederation on the issue of wages.

He wondered why Nahhas wants to block the agreement reached between the two parties.

"Nahhas is acting in a Marxist way and this method does not apply to our economic reality in Lebanon."

The MP commented on the developments in Syria.

"There is a great risk that we will head for a big crisis due to the unfolding developments in Syria and its negative effects on Lebanon."

He hoped that the crisis will not lead to a military confrontation.

O.H

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Politics - Cabinet convenes, building collapse tops discussions
 

Mon 16/01/2012 23:12

NNA - 16/1/2012 - President of the Republic Michel Sleiman expressed on Monday his heartfelt regret at the collapse of a residential building in Ashrafieh, calling on cabinet members to stand a moment in silence, mourning the loss of 26 people who got trapped under the rubble.

Chaired by President Sleiman, the cabinet convened today in an ordinary session at Baabda presidential palace, mainly devoted to resume discussions over the 2012 state budget draft.

"A lesson ought to be learned from this catastrophe to avoid the cheap falling of any future victims, in similar disasters," the President warned, calling on the Lebanese state to handle its responsibilities by conducting serious investigations and by adopting serious punitive measures against those in charge.

Within this framework, the cabinet tasked the Higher Relief Committee to support the families of fallen victims and those injured by the building collapse. The relief committee should provide them and those living in the adjacent building with temporary residence. In addition, a ministerial and technical committee has also been established to investigate the accident, in a bid to avert future calamities as such.

On the other hand, President Sleiman briefed ministers on the outcome of United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's visit to Lebanon, to whom he confirmed Lebanon's commitment to International Security Council resolution 1701 "despite incessant Israeli breaches."

"As for the oil exploration and excavation projects, they might mount tension in case of an [Israeli] aggression or an unrightful prohibition of launching the exploration process in the Lebanese waters," the President said, affirming in this case the United Nation's essential role in ensuring Lebanon's security during the exploration period.
Tackling the ill-fated Fassouh disaster, the cabinet approved to grant 30 million LBP to the families of the fallen victims. Besides, the cabinet duly formed an investigation committee, under the chairmanship of Interior and Municipalities Minister Marwan Charbel, to look into the reasons behind the perilous collapse.

The cabinet also urged municipalities in Lebanon, and that of Beirut in specific, to carry out an immediate technical inspection to make sure old building are a safe place to live.
R.H

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Berri advocates culture of Arab unity
 

Mon 16/01/2012 22:03

NNA - 16/01/2011 - Speaker of the House Nabih Berri on Monday called for augmenting the culture of unity and coherence, within the Arab world and institutions.

Speaking at a conference titled "Muslims and Christians amid an atmosphere of major change" organized by the Iranian Cultural Consultancy in Lebanon and the Arab Muslim-Christian dialogue, Berri urged both sides of the Muslim-Christian dialogue to strengthen dialogue in between them, setting Pope Benedict the second's example of "Lebanon, the message" as reason why Lebanon should always be the hub of religious dialogue.

"We should affirm the unity of our people and institutions, and call for dialogue aiming at achieving human rights and the legitimate establishment of Arab people's civil liberties."

However, Berri depicted the Arab world as a recipient of global reality. "Thus we are tasked to speedily draft a dialogue strategy and build agreements aimed at fortifying Lebanon as a message of love and forgiveness, to remain a medium for interaction between religions and civilizations."

But Berri did not fail to warn countries of the region to remain on the alert amid developments and change "which carries within so many contradictions."

The House Speaker went on to sound the alarm over one of the main threats challenging Lebanon in the wave of regional developments. "One of the main challenges threatening Lebanon is attempts at passing a Palestinian naturalization project," Berri warned.
R.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - (UPDATED) Public Works commission holds urgent session
 

Mon 16/01/2012 21:46

NNA - 16/1/2012 - The Public Works parliamentary commission on Monday held an urgent session, headed by Deputy Mohammad Qabbani, to discuss the collapse of a building in Ashrafieh.

MPs Hikmat Dib, Nabil Nicolas, Michel Pharaon, Jamal Jarrah, Ali Ammar, Badr Wannous, Khodr Habib, Mohammad Hajjar, and Nabil De Freij, namely the commission's members, attended the session.

Director General of the Civil Defense Director General of municipalities, two representatives of the National Council for Scientific Research, Head of Beirut Engineers Syndicate, Director General of Urbanism, Director of seismic disasters' limitation, Head of Beirut and Southern Suburb municipalities union, representative of the Red Cross, representative of Army Command, and Head of Beirut municipality also partook in the session.

"We cannot give [now] a detailed report on the [collapse] reasons; a technical committee was formed by the Prime Minister, and responsibilities, if there are any, will be announced later," MP Qabbani said as the session winded up.

Nonetheless, the Deputy unearthed primary indicators behind the collapse, saying the building, which he termed as "made of construction paper," was built incompliantly with public security conditions.

He said that extra floors were added to the building, already short on sufficient strength.

Qabbani also underscored that the Public Works commission had been following up, for the past 11 years, on buildings' security at least, raking up an array of collapse incidents and landslides which happened in the past.

He did not fail to remind of the recommendations issued particularly since 2002 and consisting of forming a disaster management committee, yet totally shrugged off for the past ten years.

Therefore, MP Qabbani vowed, on the behalf of Public Works commission, to put forth a project law on the formation of said committee.

"This would be the start (...) which shall engage the government to work seriously for a radical solution to the public security issue," he corroborated.

As counting thousands of old buildings, constructed before 1971 and not compliant with public security requisites, he explained that they [buildings] are divided to two categories: those being within the scope of the government's responsibility, namely those affiliated to municipalities, schools, hospitals, and public administrations, and those built by citizens.

Turning to Ashrafieh building, he said it did not collapse without a warning. "Any endangered construction gives preliminary alarms; residents must then immediately notify concerned municipalities," he stressed.

He finally said Public Works commission would be studying, for the upcoming weeks, buildings' rehabilitation cost, in case citizens rushed to notify authorities about an endangered construction.



R.A.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Spanish Defense Minister in Beirut
 

Mon 16/01/2012 21:32

NNA - 16/1/2012 Spanish Defense Minister Pedro Morenes Eulati arrived in Beirut on Monday evening, coming from Madrid, on a visit where he will inspect his Country's Contingent operating within UNIFIL in south Lebanon and will meet with Lebanese officials.
Eulati arrived at Beirut Airport on board a private plane accompanied by a delegation including Spanish Army Chief of Staff Fernando Garcia Sanchez.
Greeting him at the Airport have been General Antoine Feltaki representing Defense Minister and Army Commander, in addition to Spanish Embassy senior staff.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Audeh meets with Tunisian Foreign Minister
 

Mon 16/01/2012 21:15

NNA - 16/1/2012 Greek Orthodox Metropolitan of Beirut and its Suburbs Elias Audeh met on Monday evening at the Metropolitan seat with Tunisian Foreign Minister Rafic Abdel Salam.
On emerging, Salam said the visit comes to underline the special ties between Lebanon and Tunisia, and to sound Lebanese spiritual leaderships on their sensible insight regarding an array of Lebanese, Arab and international affairs.
Salam also lauded the role of Metropolitan Audeh, as an important symbol and asset not only to Lebanon but also to the entire Arab world.
---------------L.Y

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Politics - Kataeb: Unsafe buildings inspection a priority
 

Mon 16/01/2012 21:13

NNA - 16/01/2011 - Kataeb Political Bureau Monday underscored the importance of according the inspection of unsafe and slum buildings with utmost priority, reminding of late MP Pierre Gemayel's project which suggests safety measures, avoiding accidents and disasters.

At the back-drop of an ill-fated building collapse in Fassouh-Ashrafieh, Kataeb Political Bureau stood a moment of silence mourning the loss of 26 victims thus far.

"Kataeb hopes this incident will set an incentive before concerned sides to appropriately observe slum and unsafe buildings," a statement by Kataeb read, lamenting the fact that most of the grief-stricken families make limited income per month.

"They still have the right to a decent living under a safe roof," Kataeb conferees argued.

However, the Party lauded security forces, civil defense, and Lebanese Army concerted efforts recovering bodies buried under the rubble. "I wonder how concerned apparatuses still stand idle before one catastrophe. What if it happens that we get multiple disasters at a time?"

Reminding of a project by late Kataeb MP Pierre Gemayel on safety measures avoiding accidents, conferees expressed wonder how a project of such overriding importance was still collecting dust inside Parliament drawers.

Touching on United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon's visit to Lebanon, Kataeb saw in it a clear re-statement of international support and guarantees to Lebanon.

"It was an occasion to rekindle Lebanon's international commitments, especially concerning resolutions 1701 and 1559, the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, as well as means of finding an apt solution to the Palestinian refugees' right of return," Kataeb statement added about Ban's visit.
R.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Rahi deplores Ashrafieh building disaster
 

Mon 16/01/2012 19:58

NNA - 16/1/2012 - Maronite Patriarch Mar Bechara Boutros Rahi on Monday deplored the disastrous collapse of a six-story building in Ashrafieh last night.

As hoping speedy recovery for the injured, the Patriarch called authorities to assume their responsibilities "so that this disaster does not happen again."

"In the name of the Patriarchate and the Church, and in the name of the Catholic Patriarchs Council, we voice solidarity with the injured and their families," he said.

"Yesterday we prayed, and so we did today, for the rest of the victims' souls," he added.

As maintaining that negligence and contraventions are the reason of all disasters, Rahi called the state and the concerned officials and authorities not to be lenient towards building infringements.

"It is inadmissible that we carry on with our lives in Lebanon with no consideration whatsoever of the values consecrating human life and dignity," he said.

"We hope that this occasion be a major lesson in order that we should value human life," he corroborated.

"We seize the opportunity again to tell authorities to fully assume their responsibilities so as to serve public interest," he concluded.


R.A.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Palestinian Economy Minister, AlBadr arrive in Beirut
 

Mon 16/01/2012 19:50


NNA - 16/1/2012 Palestinian Economy Minister Mohammed Mustapha arrived in Beirut on Monday, coming from Amman, accompanied by Azzam Al-Ahmad.
On the other hand, Kuwaiti Fund for Development Chief Abdel Wahhab Al-Badr arrived at International Rafic Hariri Airport on Monday afternoon, coming from Kuwait.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Moussa, Charaf leave to Cairo
 

Mon 16/01/2012 19:34

NNA - 16/1/2012 Arab League former Chief Amro Moussa winded up his visit to Beirut, heading to Cairo on Monday evening.
Bidding him farewell at International Rafic Hariri Airport have been Egyptian Ambassador to Lebanon Mohammed Tawfic and Arab League Bureau Chief in Beirut Ambassador Abdel Rahman Solh.
Former Egyptian Prime Minister Issam Charaf also left Beirut on Monday, heading to Cairo, aboard same plane with Moussa.
--------------L.Y

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Politics - Cabinet grants 30 million LBP for families of Ashrafieh disaster victims
 

Mon 16/01/2012 19:31

NNA - 16/1/2012 - The cabinet approved to grant 30 million LBP to the families of Ashrafieh disaster victims, National News Agency correspondent reported on Monday.

Besides, the cabinet swiftly formed an investigation committee under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Najib Mikati, as the death toll hitherto raised to 25.

The cabinet convened today in an ordinary session at Baabda presidential palace, mainly devoted to resume discussions over the 2012 state budget draft.

Deputy Prime Minister, Samir Moqbel, told reporters before the session that rescue operations at the collapsed building would end tomorrow Tuesday.


R.A.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Fletcher visits Franjieh, upbeat about Lebanese Army ultimate control
 

Mon 16/01/2012 19:26

NNA - 16/01/2011 - At the onset of 2012, the British Ambassador to Lebanon on Monday sanguinely clang to his optimistic view about an eventual full Lebanese Army control over Lebanese territories.

British Ambassador, Thomas Fletcher, expressed his views following a visit to Marada Party Leader Sleiman Franjieh.

He also said that was his first visit to Marada leader, making clear that talks with Franjieh also featured high on developments at the local and regional scenes.
R.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Public Works commission holds urgent session
 

Mon 16/01/2012 19:12

NNA - 16/1/2012 - The Public Works parliamentary commission on Monday held an urgent session, headed by Deputy Mohammad Qabbani, to discuss the collapse of a building in Ashrafieh.

MPs Hikmat Dib, Nabil Nicolas, Michel Pharaon, Jamal Jarrah, Ali Ammar, Badr Wannous, Khodr Habib, Mohammad Hajjar, and Nabil De Freij, namely the commission's members, attended the session.

Director General of the Civil Defense Director General of municipalities, two representatives of the National Council for Scientific Research, Head of Beirut Engineers Syndicate, Director General of Urbanism, Director of seismic disasters' limitation, Head of Beirut and Southern Suburb municipalities union, representative of the Red Cross, representative of Army Command, and Head of Beirut municipality also partook in the session.



R.A.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - (Updated) Moussa in Bkerki
 

Mon 16/01/2012 19:11

NNA - 16/01/2012 - Maronite Patriarch Bechara Rahi met over the current situation in the region with former Secretary General of the Arab League, Amr Moussa, who visited him on Monday in Bkerki.
P.BC.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Jumblatt to Al-Anbaa: We cling to resistance in face of Israeli enemy
 

Mon 16/01/2012 19:08

NNA - 16/1/012 "National Struggle Front" Head Walid Jumblatt underlined the Front's adherence to the resistance in the face of Israeli enemy, with emphasis on the necessity of reaching a comprehensive, national defensive strategy through consensual agreement and avoiding the use of arms in the interior.
Deputy Jumblatt's words came in his weekly position to Al-Anbaa newspaper issued by Progressive Socialist Party (PSP).
"We are fully keen, along with the resistance, on preserving internal stability and civil peace, especially at these critical regional times," Jumblatt said, calling for direct dialogue to address the existing difference in interpreting the development of Syrian crisis, away from media polemic.
The MP also brought to attention that he had always been and shall always remain a caller for dialogue among all Lebanese segments in various circumstances.
On the Syrian situation, Jumblatt expressed belief that the continuation of bloodshed there might lead to sliding into civil war carrying destructive consequences. He thus reiterated that the exact implementation of Arab League initiative remains the sole means to extricate out of the crisis and the building of a new democratic, vigorous and diverse Syria.
Jumblatt also stressed the necessity that Iran and Russia undertake a political initiative with the concerned states to extricate Syria out of its current crisis.

----------------L.Y

 

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Politics - Sami Gemayel pushes cabinet to provide Achrafieh survivors with residence
 

Mon 16/01/2012 19:04


NNA - 16/01/2012 - Kataeb Party MP Sami Gemayel on Monday offered the grief-stricken families of Fassouh building victims his heartfelt condolences, wishing all those injured a speedy recovery.

Gemayel, describing the ill-fated collapse of a building in Fassouh Achrafieh "a human tragedy", urged the Lebanese cabinet to provide survivors with suitable living places.

"The government should also provide adequate care to the surviving members of deceased families," he said, adding that tomorrow should be a mourning day.

Among Gemayel's pressing demands was also the establishment of an Interior Ministry delegation to assess whether old buildings were fine for dwelling or not.

"The rent law should allow all building owners to make revenues sufficient enough to renovate their buildings on regular basis," he said.
R.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Geagea winds up visit to Kurdistan
 

Mon 16/01/2012 18:08

NNA - 16/1/2012 Lebanese Forces Head Samir Geagea and his accompanying delegation arrived in Beirut on Monday, winding up an official three-day visit to Kurdistan District/Iraq, a statement by Geagea Media Bureau said.
 

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Politics - Sudanese Ambassador to NNA: 6 Sudanese nationals' bodies identified, 4 injured
 

Mon 16/01/2012 18:02

NNA - 16/1/2012 Sudanese Ambassador to Lebanon Idriss Sleiman disclosed that six Sudanese nationals' bodies were identified as dead in the Ashrafieh collapsed building, and four others injured.
Ambassador Sleiman was speaking in an interview he accorded to National News Agency (NNA) on Monday.
A six-story residential building collapsed on Sunday in the area of Fassouh/Ashrafieh, trapping a number of people under the rubble.
"The wounded [Pakistanis] are four up till now and the killed are six," Sleiman said, expressing probability about the presence of few more Pakistani nationals under the rubbles and maybe outside the building.
The Sudanese Ambassador said that the Embassy is in continuous contact with all the concerned Lebanese authorities for cooperation in the said incident.
He also offered condolences to the families of fallen victims of all nationalities, saying he has visited the wounded at the hospitals and the collapsed building site.

---------------L.Y
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved




 


Politics - Rahi meets with Tunisian Foreign Minister
 

Mon 16/01/2012 17:22

NNA - 16/1/2012 Maronite Patriarch Mar Bechara Boutros Rahi is currently meeting with Tunisian Foreign Minister Rafic Abdel Salam, at Bkirki.
 

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Politics -Ogassapian: building collapse is lesson for all
 

Mon 16/01/2012 16:54

NNA - 16/01/2012 - Deputy Jean Ogassapian said on Monday the building collapse in Ashrafieh was a lesson for all.

He regretted its occurrence, offering condolences to family victims and hoping all the injured would recover.

The deputy said that concerned references must adopt procedures to avoid like such catastrophes in the future.

A.M./P.BC.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved




 

Politics -Mansour receives Bulgarian, Tunisian counterparts
 

Mon 16/01/2012 16:46

NNA - 16/01/2012 - Foreign and Expatriates Minister Adnan Mansour received at his office his Bulgarian counterpart Nicholei Miladinov, with talks featuring high upon bilateral ties and overall developments at the regional scene, notably in Syria.

Mansour stressed upon EU's significant role to stop violence between both sides in Syria.

Afterwards, Mansour received his Tunisian counterpart Rafic Abdul Sallam, who related to the host recent developments in Sudan following the one-year jasmine revolution in the country.

A.M./P.BC.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved

 

 

 


Politics - Aoun receives delegation of Nationl Campaign for Proportionality Law, others
 

Mon 16/01/2012 16:40

NNA - 16/01/2012 - Deputy Michel Aoun received on Monday at his residence in Rabieh representatives of the parties affiliated with the National Campaign for the sake of Proportionality Law of parliamentary elections.

Aoud said he supported the election law that considered Lebanon one electoral circle based upon proportionality.

Afterwards, Aoun received former Minister Karim Pakradoni and tackled with him overall developments at the local and regional scenes, notably the Christian presence in the east.

Among Rabieh's visitors: a delegation of the Communist representatives of Labors Unions.

A.M./P.BC.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Amr Moussa in Bkerki
 

Mon 16/01/2012 16:39

NNA - 16/1/2012 - Maronite Patriarch Mar Bechara Boutros Rahi is currently meeting with former Secretary General of the Arab League, Amr Moussa, in Bkerki.



R.A.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Sleiman, Mikati meet
 

Mon 16/01/2012 16:37

NNA - 16/1/2012 - President of the Republic, Michel Sleiman, and Prime Minister, Najib Mikati, are currently sitting behind closed doors in a one-on-one meeting over the general situation and most recent developments, before cabinet convenes later this evening in Baabda palace.

Ministers are scheduled to meet in Baabda to resume talks over the 2012 state budget.

R.A.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Abou Faour deems inappropriate establishing Syrian camps in Lebanon
 

Mon 16/01/2012 15:45

NNA - 16/1/2012 - Social Affairs Minister Wael Abou Faour confirmed that establishing camps for Syrian displaced on the Lebanese territories is out of question as it serves neither Syrian nor Lebanon.

The Minister commented on the latest suggestion announced by the United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki moon in this regard.

Abou Faour, therefore, indicated that rescuing and helping those who fled Syria for Lebanon seeking refuge is a human duty far from all political considerations.

"The Lebanese state is assuming full responsibility at this level through the higher relief committee, away from media tumult," he declared.

D.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Geagea from Kurdistan: For a solution to Palestinian cause toward regional stability
 

Mon 16/01/2012 15:43

NNA - 16/1/2012 The leader of the "Lebanese Forces" Samir Geagea said that stability in the region is solely possible with a just and comprehensive solution to the Palestinian cause, at a press conference on the occasion of closing his visit in Kurdistan, Iraq.

Geagea condemned Israeli and Syrian violations against Lebanon's sovereignty and security and asserted that Lebanon shall not enjoy stability except through international resolutions' implementation as well as 1559, 1680, 1701 and 1757 which governs the STL.

Pertaining to Iraqi situation, Geagea said the country is at a difficult position for it is undergoing a standstill political process and a negative stagnation.
"The return to the constitution, to protocols, as well as to agreements signed before the formation of the current government is necessary to end this situation," he said.

"The slightest trouble in Iraq bears an impact on the entire region," he said, adding that "the protection of Christians in this country, who are ineligible under attack, is the responsibility of government that must take necessary steps to prevent future aggression against the community."
Geagea also said that it is time to find a solution to the Syrian crisis.
"The ideal would be to conduct a survey in Syria under the supervision of the United Nations to find out what the people really want," he said noting that he would not call for any military intervention in that country but for an Arab and Western contribution to the end of the crisis.


On his third day's visit to the region of Kurdistan-Iraq LF leader Samir Geagea met with the secretary of the Political Bureau of the Democratic Party of Kurdistan, Fadhil Mirani, and Kurdistan Regional Government President Massoud Barzan.

L.W.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Spanish Minister of Defense and Chief of Staff to the Spanish Defense in Lebanon
 

Mon 16/01/2012 15:41

NNA - 16/01/2012 - "The Spanish Minister of Defense, Mr. Pedro Moren�s Eulate, arrives to Lebanon on Monday, January 16th 2012, accompanied by Chief of Staff to the Spanish Defense, General Fernando Garcia Sanchez, leading a high-level delegation, composed of, inter alia, the Chief of the Spanish Army and the Commander of the Spanish Air Forces," the Spanish Embassy in Beirut said in a press release.

"During his stay (January 16th and 17th), the Spanish Minister of Defense will meet, on Tuesday January 17th 2012, with Lebanese Prime Minister, Mr. Najib Mikati, at the Grand Serail, in presence of Lebanese Minister of Defense, Mr. Fayez Ghosn. Both parties shall discuss the general political situation in Lebanon, as well as bilateral projects and cooperation opportunities between Spain and Lebanon."

"Afterwards, he would leave to Sector East of the UNIFIL, accompanied by the Ambassador of Spain to Lebanon, Mr. Juan Carlos Gafo, to visit Miguel de Cervantes Base where he will be received with the due honours, in the presence of the Commander of UNIFIL, General Alberto Asarta. And finally, the Spanish Minister will seize this opportunity to greet the Spanish military deployed there."

"It should be noted that this visit is to confirm the commitment of Spain to the service of peace in Lebanon. Indeed, in addition to the Spanish troops embedded within the UNIFIL (1.100 soldiers), a Spanish General, General Alberto Asarta Cuevas, commands these forces since January 28th, 2010."
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Berri meets Iranian Minister, French diplomat
 

Mon 16/01/2012 15:37

NNA - 16/1/2012 - Speaker of the House, Nabih Berri, on Monday met with Iranian Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance, Seyed Mohammad Hosseini, over the necessity to boost bilateral cooperation on all intellectual, cultural, and artistic levels.

The meeting, attended by Iranian ambassador to Lebanon Ghazanfar Roknabadi and media advisor Ali Hamdan, also broached the well-entrenched and deep-rooted relations between Lebanon and Iran.

"The special and constructive political ties between Lebanon and Iran are indeed a motive to move forward toward bolstering cultural communication and cooperation," the visiting Minister told reporters following the meeting in Ain-el-Tineh today.

Both men also took up the ongoing popular movements and the Islamic awareness in the region especially in North Africa.

The Minister did not fail to call to join efforts so as to determine the main enemy which is the Zionist entity, targeting the region's countries and peoples.

French ambassador to Lebanon, Denis Pietton, had also been to Ain-el-Tineh today for a meeting with the Speaker over most recent developments in Lebanon and the broader Arab region.

Berri later with Minister of Telecommunications, Nicolas Sehnawi, in presence of Ali Hassan Khalil, Public Health Minister and the Speaker's political aid.

Talks reportedly featured high on the current general situation and an array of ministerial affairs.



R.A.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Sleiman follows up financial, political, economic affairs
 

Mon 16/01/2012 15:28

NNA - 16/1/2012 - President of the Republic, Michel Sleiman, will chair this afternoon the cabinet session to be held at Baabda presidential palace to pursue discussions over the budget law-draft as well as over issues related to the touristic sector in Lebanon.

Separately, Sleiman received the former Arab League Secretary General, Amr Moussa, on the occasion of his presence in Lebanon and his participation in the conference organized by ESCWA over "democracy in the Arab world".

Amongst Baabda's visitors was also the former Egyptian Prime Minister, Issam Sharaf, who is also the advisor of the Arab Economic Unity Council's General secretariat. Sharaf presented Sleiman with said council's project, calling on Lebanon to join it and be the eighth country to sign its protocol.

Sleiman, for his part, deemed as important the work of such councils, as they reinforce Arab solidarity at both economic and political levels.

The President later tackled with Finance Minister Muhammad Al-safadi financial affairs and latest developments.

Deputy Hadi Hobeish, however, discussed with Sleiman a number of political issues and hot files prevailing over the local scene.
D.K.

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Politics - Andriev: Inevitable to preserve Lebanon's stability
 

Mon 16/01/2012 15:27

NNA - 16/01/2012 - The Bulgarian Ambassador to Lebanon Nicholei Andriev said on Monday that Lebanon was Bulgaria's strong partner, and so, it was inevitable to preserve its stability and develop its prosperity.

Andriev's words came from the Grand Serail upon his meeting with Prime Minister Najib Mikati.

The Premier received at the Grand Serail Iranian Culture Minister Muhammad Husseini. Husseini said, after the visit, that talks with Mikati focused on numerous items of common interest. He assured that Iran greatly respected Lebanon, especially its brave resistance.

Among Grand Serail's visitors: Tunisian Foreign Minister Rafic Abdul Sallam; a constitutional delegation headed by Issam Sleiman; former Egyptian Prime Minister Issam Sharaf; and others..

A.M./P.BC.

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Politics - Raad: Government performance is slow
 

Mon 16/01/2012 15:14

NNA - 16/1/2012 Loyalty to the Resistance bloc member MP Mohammad Raad said that the government performance in dealing with problems is slow.

Following his meeting with former Prime Minister Selim Hoss, Raad said he has informed his host of the situation in Lebanon and Syria, as of the Israeli behavior regarding Al-Quds Judaiziation.

"We discussed present gaps in government's handling of citizens' affair and demands," he added, stressing the need for the government to improve its performance.

In response to a question on Ban Ki-moon's stances regarding Hezbollah weapons and on what Davutoglu stated against Syrian President, Raad said "Ban-Ki Moon deems Resistance weapons as harmful and does not consider harmful the weapons of those present in Syria."

Asked about probable repercussions of regional events on Lebanon's stability, Raad said sound forces in Lebanon are the sole guarantee of stability.

"We ought to stop military chaos in Syria which would hamper reforms and threaten the stability of Syria and the region," he said.

L.W.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Oseiran for construction plan to avoid catastrophes
 

Mon 16/01/2012 14:50

NNA - 16/01/2012 - Deputy Ali Oseiran said Monday the catastrophes falling upon the Lebanese from time to time required from government to follow out a clear housing policy prone to solve threats and avoid catastrophes.

Oseiran's word came in response to the lethal building collapse yesterday Sunday in Ashrafieh.

Oseiran urged the government to find a safety plan for construction throughout the Lebanese regions and to financially assist municipalities in this concern.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Beirut Deputies urge demilitarizing the City
 

Mon 16/01/2012 13:48

NNA - 16/1/2012 Beirut Deputies Monday reiterated calls for demilitarizing Beirut City during their weekly gathering held at the Parliament.

Conferees also tackled most recent developments especially the Ashrafieh- Fassouh building collapse.

L.W.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - # Mikati forms investigation committee for Fassouh building collapse
 

Mon 16/01/2012 13:35

NNA - 16/1/2012 Lebanese Premier Najib Mikati Monday issued a decision by which he formed a committee to conduct necessary investigation about the Ashrafieh-Fassouh building collapse reasons.

Premier's advisor Engineer Claude Masaad was appointed as head of the committee and representatives of each of the Public Works and Interior Ministries, of Beirut Municipality, and Architects Syndicate representatives.

Members were appointed by concerned Ministers and administrations.


L.W.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - # Mikati forms investigation committee for Fassouh building collapse
 

Mon 16/01/2012 13:35

NNA - 16/1/2012 Lebanese Premier Najib Mikati Monday issued a decision by which he formed a committee to conduct necessary investigation about the Ashrafieh-Fassouh building collapse reasons.

Premier's advisor Engineer Claude Masaad was appointed as head of the committee and representatives of each of the Public Works and Interior Ministries, of Beirut Municipality, and Architects Syndicate representatives.

Members were appointed by concerned Ministers and administrations.


L.W.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - # Aoun, Khayrallah, Sleiman newly appointed Bishops
 

Mon 16/01/2012 13:07

NNA - 16/1/2012 Secretariat of the Maronite Patriarchate Monday announced the election of Monseigneur Michel Aoun as bishop of Jbeil diocese, Monseigneur Mounir Khayrallah Bishop of Batroun diocese, and father Elias Sleiman as bishop of Aleppo diocese.


L.W.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Bashir: Cabinet will take decision to compensate for families of collapsed building
 

Mon 16/01/2012 12:50

NNA - 16/1/2012 - Higher Relief Committee Secretary General Ibrahim Bashir told "NNA" on Monday that the cabinet will take a decision to compensate for the families of the collapsed building in Ashrafieh-Fassouh and to provide shelters to all the families.

He added "the committee chaired by Prime Minister Najib Mikati with 7 ministers and deputy prime minister intervened immediately after the collapse of the building and followed up the rescue operations".

Bashir added that Interior and Health Ministers also intervened immediately when the building collapsed and attended personally the scene.

A.A.M

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Nadim Gemayel calls for providing houses to homeless families
 

Mon 16/01/2012 12:17

NNA - 16/1/2012 - Deputy Nadim Gemayel followed up from close the process of removing rubble in search for the missing people, victims of the building collapse in Achrafieh last evening.

He told MTV channel that he was not planning to blame anyone for this dreadful incident, calling on the judicial system to take appropriate action.

Also, the MP solicited the concerned authorities to act fast so as to provide houses for the homeless families and provide remunerations for the damaged.
D.K.

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Politics - Davutoglu: Lebanon is sample of coexistence and dialogue
 

Mon 16/01/2012 11:52

NNA - 16/1/2012 - Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu stressed that Lebanon is a sample of coexistence and dialogue.

Davutoglu said that Lebanon's stability means stability to the region, adding that "Lebanon is a sample of religious and cultural plurality, common coexistence, dialogue and free elections".

Davutoglu's remarks came during his meeting with "Kataeb" party head former President Amine Gemayel on Sunday night at the latter's residence.

Davutoglu called for more dialogue, communication and consultations among sides because the region is witnessing a historic change.

Davutoglu said that he stressed during his meetings with the Lebanese political and religious officials that "this region is for both Muslims and Christians and we want it a region for peace, forgiveness, moderation, prosperity and freedom".

On the other hand, he said "the situation in Syria is deteriorating day after day and Syria's neighbors will be influenced by the Syrian crisis", hoping that the Arab initiative and the mission of the Arab observers would succeed, although he added "we know the difficulties".

The Turkish Foreign Minister said that they are waiting for the official Arab League report and then they would evaluate it as a regional force and international community.

Gemayel welcomed Davutoglu, adding that they continued the dialogue that they started in Ankara few weeks ago.

Later Gemayel held a dinner banquet for the Turkish Minister and the accompanying delegation.

A.A.M

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Iranian Culture Minister arrives in Beirut
 

Mon 16/01/2012 11:43

NNA - 16/1/2012 - Iranian Culture Minister Sayyed Ali Husseiny arrived on Monday before noon in Beirut coming from Tehran.

Lebanese Culture Minister Gabby Layyoun and Iranian Ambassador to Lebanon Gazanfar Rokn Abbadi welcomed him at the airport.

A.A.M

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Houry calls for Labor Minister's resignation
 

Mon 16/01/2012 11:41

NNA - 16/1/2012 - Member of Parliament Ammar Houry called for the resignation of Labor Minister Charbel Nahhas for what termed the latter's failure to address the social needs of the people.

Houry, who was speaking to Al-Sharq Radio, accused Nahhas of seeking to jeopardize the interest of the people just to prove his point of view concerning the issue of the salary increase.

"He (Nahhas) is merely wasting people's money, interest and time. The minister's bloc must put an end to this episode and force him to submit his resignation. This situation cannot continue for too long," Houry said.

He called on Prime Minister Najib Mikati to settle the endless debate over the wages during today's Cabinet session.

Houry expressed his deep sorrow over the loss of lives following the collapse of a building in Achrafieh last night.

He attributed the collapse of the building to the absence of the state and to the fact that the owners of the building added five more floors to the original structure.

Houry stressed the need to carefully examine all the old buildings in Lebanon to ensure their safety.

He repeated calls for the state's extension of its authority over all Lebanese territories.

Houry blasted Hezbollah for criticizing the visit of United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to Lebanon.

"Freedom and democracy cannot be stopped or delayed," the MP said, praising Ki-moon's criticism of Syrian President Bashar Assad for his heavy-handed approach against his people.

O.H

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Politics - Khazen: Military intervention impossible in Syria
 

Mon 16/01/2012 10:47

NNA - 16/1/2012 - Deputy Farid Khazen stressed that military intervention in Syria is impossible under the current circumstances.

The MP stressed on Monday to "Voice of Lebanon"-Freedom and Dignity radio that the international positions towards Syria were known from the beginning of the crisis, adding that some persons wanted to internationalize it, "but I don't think this issue will happen for several reasons related to the internal Syrian situation".

A.A.M

Politics - Kortbawi pledges judiciary to treat quickly collapse building issue
 

Mon 16/01/2012 10:17


NNA - 16/1/2012 - Justice Minister Shakib Kortbawi pledged that judiciary would fulfill its duty and deal quickly with the disaster of the collapsed building in Ashrafieh.

Kortbawi stressed necessity to pursue all individuals responsible for the collapsed building in Ashrafieh, "because responsibility does not fall on one person".

The Minister called on Monday in his interview with "Voice of Lebanon" radio, all sides to wait until investigations are over, stressing the necessity to inspect all old buildings in Lebanese regions to prevent the repetition of such disaster.

Kortbawi offered condolences for the families of the victims of the collapsed building in Ashrafieh.

A.A.M

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Politics - Davutoglu leaves Beirut
 

Mon 16/01/2012 09:51

NNA - 16/1/2012 - Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu left on Monday morning Beirut on a private plane.

A.A.M

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Mansour returns from Libya
 

Mon 16/01/2012 09:10

NNA - 16/1/2012 - Official Lebanese delegation chaired by Foreign and Expatriates Minister Adnan Mansour returned from Libya after holding series of meetings with Libyan officials to follow up the disappearance of Imam Moussa Sadr's case and his colleagues.

The Lebanese delegation sensed seriousness and cooperation from the Libyan officials in this case.

A common Committee was decided to be formed between Lebanon and Libya to follow up the issue diplomatically and judiciary.

A.A.M

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Politics - Davutoglu following meeting with Audi: To protect religious traditions and promote dialogue
 

Sun 15/01/2012 23:24

NNA - 15/1/2012 - Beirut Greek Orthodox Metropolitan Bishop Elias Audi met Sunday evening with Turkish Foreign Affairs Minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, who visited him at the Archdiocese in Ashrafieh. Davutoglu's accompanying delegation and Economy and Trade Minister, Ncoula Nahhas, attended the meeting.
On emerging, Davutoglu said, "We had an excellent talk. His Eminence was very kind to receive us with a short notice. We have spoken on philosophy, theology, Muslim- Christian historical background, multiculturalism of Beirut and Lebanon; the situation in our region and how we can promote Muslim Christian dialogue, sectarian dialogue, and religious dialogue. It was an excellent visit."
Responding to a question whether talks touched on political issues, Davutoglu indicated that, "As I said, in general. How we can protect religious and multi-religious presence and dialogue in our region. This was related to politics indirectly. But the main purpose was how to protect religious traditions in our region and how to make sure that these political crises would not create any religious or sectarian tension."
Furthermore, in his word in the "Guest of Honor" Book, Davutoglu wrote:
"It is a great honor to visit and have a chance to meet His Eminence, Metropolitan of Beirut Elias Audi. Our consultation on religious traditions and multicultural legacy in our region was a sincere and friendly dialogue for me as a scholar. I was very impressed by his vision regarding our common cultural and religious heritage in our region. I am grateful for this opportunity and hope to meet again to continue our dialogue."
The Turkish Foreign Minister is expected to leave Beirut after midnight Sunday, winding-up his 2-day official visit to Lebanon.
R.Sh.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Khalil checks on conditions of injured residents in hospitals
 

Sun 15/01/2012 23:02

NNA - 15/1/2012 - Public Health Minister, Ali Hasan Khalil, checked on the conditions of wounded victims who were rushed to nearby hospitals, in the wake of the collapse incident of the Fassouh Building in Ashrafieh Sunday evening. Khalil spoke to medical and administrative teams in various hospitals, requesting that the best medical care and attention be given to injured victims.
Khalil disclosed that the number of casualties who were evacuated from under the building's wreck and rushed to nearby hospitals reached 12 by 9:00 p.m. Sunday, one of them being a dead body of a girl taken to Saint George Hospital. The remaining 11 victims were admitted to various hospitals, namely: 6 to Saint George Hospital, 3 to Geitaoui Hospital, 1 to Hotel Dieu Hospital and 1 to Rizk Hospital.
It is to note that the Health Minister had contacted various hospitals within the vicinity upon hearing news of the building's collapse, instructing them to immediately admit evacuated victims and extend the necessary medical attention to them at the Health Ministry's expense.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - (Update) Sleiman inspects Fassouh Building collapse scene
 

Sun 15/01/2012 22:40

NNA - 15/1/2012 - President of the Republic, General Michel Sleiman, inspected Sunday evening the scene of the collapsed building in the area of Fassouh-Ashrafieh.
During his inspection tour and follow-up on rescue operations underway, Sleiman responded to newsmen's questions by stating that investigations into the collapse incident ought to take course; especially if previous warnings of the building's poor condition were reported with no action taken! He added that such incidents ought to be avoided with regards to buildings suffering from poor conditions, whereby continuous inspection ought to be made on said buildings within the municipality framework. "Prior inspections are necessary in order to find the suitable means of fortifying such buildings; thus, avoiding their collapse," Sleiman noted.
Accordingly, Sleiman indicated that necessary strict measures shall be adopted in this respect.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Hariri expresses regret over Fassouh Building victims
 

Sun 15/01/2012 22:20

NNA - 15/1/2012 - Former Prime Minister, Saad Hariri, expressed his deepest regret for the victims and casualties who fell as a result of the building which collapsed in Fassouh- Ashrafieh Sunday evening.
Upon learning of the collapse incident, Hariri held a series of calls to Beirut Municipality Head, Bilal Hamad, and a number of Beirut deputies to adopt quick moves and follow-up closely on rescue operations of victims. He also requested them to check on the conditions of wounded residents who were rushed to hospitals and relay his wishes for fast recovery.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Khalil: Priority is to rescue operations
 

Sun 15/01/2012 21:53

NNA - 15/1/2012 - Public Health Minister, Ali Hasan Khalil, stated that priority is accorded to rescue operations, in the wake of the collapsed building in the area Fassouh-Ashrafieh Sunday. "At this moment, priority ought to be given to supporting victims of the regretful incident," Khalil added.
In an interview to "MTV" Television Station Sunday evening, Khalil indicated that he has instructed all hospitals to admit wounded residents of the collapsed building at the Health Ministry's expense. He added that immediate calls were made to hospital directors to that effect, so as to avoid any problems.
Khalil declined giving any information pertaining to the number of casualties and their health conditions. He indicated that the "Red Cross" carried out its duties and priority is now to the victims' safety. He also praised the role of the Civil Defense in fulfilling rescue operations to the utmost, in coordination with the Interior Ministry.
Khalil hoped that every Lebanese citizen would show solidarity with families who have suffered as a result of the tragic incident; adding that the government shall meet its responsibilities in this respect.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Matar checks on collapsed building on Al-Rai's behalf
 

Sun 15/01/2012 21:25 /

NNA - 15/1/2012 - On behalf of Maronite Patriarch Bshara Butros Al-Rai, Beirut Maronite Bishopric Head, Boulos Matar, arrived in Fassouh - Ashrafieh Sunday evening to check on the collapsed building. Matar raised prayers to the Lord for the sake of all victims of the sad incident.
 

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Politics - Sleiman arrives in Fassouh
 

Sun 15/01/2012 21:17

NNA - 15/1/2012 - President of the Republic, General Michel Sleiman, arrived a while ago in the area of Fassouh-Ashrafieh, in order to inspect rescue operations taking place as a result of the collapsed building.
R.Sh.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - French Union Party Candidate visits Al-Rai and South Officials
 

Sun 15/01/2012 21:05

NNA - 15/1/2012 - French Union for the People's Movement Electoral Candidate, Alain Marseau, visited Sunday Maronite Patriarch Bshara Butros Al-Rai in Bkirki. The encounter took place in a "friendly and understanding atmosphere."
Marseau had earlier toured South Lebanon accompanied by a Party delegation. The tour came to establish direct field contact with UMP and French expatriate community members in Lebanon; in addition to opening up to constituents of the South Lebanon community. Francophone issues, the Palestinian cause and French expatriates' participation in legislative elections featured high in Marseau's discussions with members of the French expatriate community in the South. Marseau's Sunday visits included three stops, namely in Nabatiyeh, Tyre and Sidon. Encounters were made with Members of Parliament: Abdel-Latif Zein, Mohamad Raad and Bahiya Hariri.
Marseau and his accompanying delegation also paid a special visit to the French Contingent operating within the UNIFIL peace-keeping forces during their South tour on Sunday.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Meqati follows-up on Fassouh Building collapse incident
 

Sun 15/01/2012 20:42

NNA - 15/1/2012 - Prime Minister, Najib Meqati, followed-up closely Sunday evening on the collapse incident of the residential building in the area of Fassouh in Ashrafieh. In this context, he contacted Interior and Municipalities Minister, Marwan Charbel; Public Health Minister, Ali Hasan Khalil; Public Works and Transport Minister, Ghazi Aridi, and Beirut Municipality Head, Bilal Hamad. Meqati instructed all concerned apparatuses to evacuate residents still stuck under the collapsed building.
Meqati also gave instructions to the Higher Refuge Body Secretary General, Brigadier Ibrahim Bashir, to adopt the suitable measures in similar cases, and raise a quick report in this respect.
Furthermore, Meqati called for forming a joint committee by the Civil Organization General Directorate affiliated to the Public Works and Transport Ministry; the Civil Defense Directorate affiliated to the Interior Ministry, and the Engineering Syndicate in Beirut, for the sake of investigating the reasons behind the collapse and determining responsibilities. He also demanded a full inspection of various suspected buildings with regards to their safety conditions and raising a report to that effect, in order to adopt the suitable measures.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Sleiman commands intensified efforts to rescue residents of the Fassouh Bldg.
 

Sun 15/01/2012 20:16

NNA - 15/1/2012 - President of the Republic, General Michel Sleiman, held a series of immediate calls to concerned sides upon learning of the collapsed building in the area of Fassouh in Ashrafieh Sunday evening. Sleiman gave instructions to intensify efforts for the sake of rescuing residents of the collapsed building and rushing them to hospitals. He continued to follow-up closely on rescue operations underway.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Moussa: Optimistic towards events in Egypt and elsewhere since democracy is underway
 

Sun 15/01/2012 19:50

NNA - 15/1/2012 - Former Arab League Secretary General, Amr Moussa, expressed optimism towards the events occurring in Egypt and other regions witnessing popular revolutions, since democracy is underway. He disclosed that determined efforts are focused on declaring the 2nd Egyptian Republic towards mid of the current year.
"The issue of instability in Egypt is temporary and related to a transition period which shall end soon," said Moussa in a chat with newsmen Sunday at the sidelines of the ESCWA meeting on "Reform and transition to Democracy" taking place in Beirut. Moussa called for a regime in which all political forces can interact, a matter prone not for discussion, he noted, but rather the laws in need of amendment are the ones to be discussed.
Over the Syrian situation, Moussa considered that conditions there cannot tolerate further delay. He added that monitors ought to be exchanged with Arab forces for the sake of separating between the Army and citizens. However, the question remains, herein, whether or not circumstances would allow for such a step, and whether or not Arab states, on one hand, and Syria, on the other, would approve, Moussa noted.
Assessing the role of the Arab League and the necessity of its interference in Syria, Moussa indicated that so long as efforts exerted are within the framework of Arab moves to solve the Syrian situation, then said efforts ought to be active and effective. Hence, he considered that all proposals should be studied before any attempts to "internationalize" the crisis on grounds of Arab failure in coming-up with fruitful solutions. Moussa stressed, herein, that the situation in Syria is very dangerous and entails that it be placed on the schedule of the Arab League's works. "The Arab League is carrying out its role with regards to Syria within its capabilities," Moussa added.
As for the current situation in Egypt, Moussa indicated that the ongoing conflict with the military council shall lead to the latter's giving up rule upcoming June 25th upon the election of a new president. Regarding the situation of "Copts" there, Moussa refused labeling them as "minorities." He stressed that Christians in Egypt are not minorities, for they denote a fabric of the Egyptian society and are viewed on that basis.
Over struggle with Israel, Moussa stated that the Arab Initiative issued in Beirut in the year 2002 is the sole solution, which can lead to a true peace and re-organization of the situation in the region.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Davutoglu at Dar Al-Fatwa
 

Sun 15/01/2012 17:34

NNA - 15/01/2012 - Visiting Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and accompanying delegation have been at Dar Al-Fatwa "Sunni Court" on what has been described as a courtesy visit to Mufti Qabbani and senior clerics.

The Mufti who presented Davutoglu with a copy of the Koran informed him about attempts to edit a chart of understanding and cooperation between all Muslims and Christians. He indicated the purpose of the chart is to stress the value of national unity between Muslims and Christians in order to confront possible strife or challenges ahead.

Mufti Qabbani praised Turkey for its positive role in region and spoke highly about brotherly relations binding the two peoples.

Mufti Qabbani also expressed interest in maintaining open communications with Turkish leaders to the mutual benefit of Turkey-Lebanon and Muslim World as he said.

He concluded that Turkey must adopt the cause of Palestine including the right of return of the people to their land and liberation of Jerusalem as Palestinian capital.


 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Tunisian Foreign Minister at ESCWA Conference
 

Sun 15/01/2012 17:13

NNA - 15/01/2012 - Tunisian Foreign minister Rafic Abdul-Salam, arrived in Beirut to partake in the ESCWA conference over "Democracy in the Arab World."

Upon arrival, he told newsmen at the airport lobby that 'Democracy provided the best of solutions for marginalizing extremist groups bent on using political violence for furthering their objectives. He named among others the Far-Left and Islamist Salafists.

Abdul-Salam indicated that the newly-elected Tunisian government draws its perfect legitimacy from the people and that by way of being based on popular will; it sends a positive message to the whole Middle Eastern region.

The minister expressed full support for the Syrian people in its struggle for freedom, democracy and in its bid to topple the oppressive regime.

G.G./R.K

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Siniora at ESCWA Conference
 

Sun 15/01/2012 16:41

NNA - 15/01/2012 - Head of the Hariri Future Bloc Fouad Siniora, chanted before respective interlocutors praises to the Arab Spring which he dubbed as a glorious-blessed Intifada rather than just a coup d'etat.

Having met with Arab League Secretary Amro Moussa and head of the Egyptian human rights organization KIFAYA (Enough), at the ESCWA-sponsored Reform and Transition to Democracy conference at the Phoenicia Hotel, Siniora expressed yearning for freedom and democracy. He rejected mere substitution of oppressive regimes with mere copies or reproductions of the same brand. Siniora told Amro Moussa and Kifaya official George Ishak that major changes in Egypt would affect the entire Arab World.

Siniora seemed fully agreed with Moussa over the need for Assad to observe, heed and implement relevant clauses of the Arab initiative.

G.G./R.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Davutoglu, Jumblatt convene
 

Sun 15/01/2012 14:46

NNA - 15/01/2012 Foreign Minister of Turkey, Ahmet Davutoglu, met with MP Walid Jumblatt at Phoenicia Hotel.

The men reportedly discussed current regional and domestic affairs.

R.Z.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Rahi for limiting arms to state institutions
 

Sun 15/01/2012 14:07

NNA - 15/01/2012 Maronite Patriarch Beshara Rahi held Sunday mass at Bkirky where he demanded neutralizing Lebanon and restricting arms to state control.

Fast evolving events in neighboring Arab countries caused much concern domestically, in fear of repercussions on internal Lebanese politics.

"Lebanon, with its positive neutrality, commits to Arab causes, peace and international legitimacy," said the Patriarch. On that note, he urged the limiting of use of weapons to legitimate state institutions.

Rahi condemned all aggressive tense rhetoric, regardless of its source.

R.Z.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Odwan: Ki-moon for Disarming Hizbullah
 

Sun 15/01/2012 14:03

NNA - 15/01/2012 - Leading parliamentarian from the Lebanese Forces George Odwan, perceived in U.N. General-Secretary Ki-moon's utterances in Beirut a position favorable to disarming Hizbullah.

Odwan and, in an interview on Voice of Lebanon radio station, said Ki-moon's position reflects and coincides with that of a large proportion of Lebanese. He deduced from his words that time is now ripe for proceeding with party of God disarming such that all arms ultimately come under state control.

The MP carried his argument further and blamed state disintegration on unchecked universally-proliferated weaponry far superior to those in State arsenals. He cited the example of a clear parliamentary majority being excluded from power through the sheer force of arms and concluded that international justice meted by the STL is negated by the presence of a heavily armed umbrella for all sorts of outlaws.

G.G./R.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved

Politics - Geagea: No scheme to drive out Christians from Orient
 

Sun 15/01/2012 13:23

NNA - 15/01/2012 Head of the Lebanese Forces (LF), currently on a visit to Kurdistan Region, said Sunday that there is no plot to expel Christians from the Orient, maintaining that they alone could determine their fate.

Day two of Samir Geagea's visit to the autonomous region of Kurdistan-Iraq included meetings with Christian MP Thaer Abed al Ahad, House Speaker Kamal Karkouky and Chaldean Catholic Archbishop Bashar Warda.

The Archbishop denounced those who traded with the issue of Christian minorities in the Middle East to serve their private political agenda. "Democracy of diversity rather than numbers preserves everyone's rights, including those of Christians," he said.

In his turn, the veteran Lebanese politician explained that his party was forced into carrying weapons during the civil war. However, he asserted that the LF was stronger now than ever, since politics overpowered arms.

"The winning wager is on the national harmony which transpired in March 14, 2005, and on a strong state that monopolizes foreign relations and defending Lebanon."

R.Z.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Baseel to Aounists: Reform Blocked in North!
 

Sun 15/01/2012 13:11

NNA - 15/01/2012 - Minister of Hydro-Energy Resources Jibran Baseel, complained to leading cadres of the Aounist Trend about what he termed as "attempts aimed at blocking the nation-building process and economic-financial development of the country."

Having conferred with the leading Aounist cadres in Batroun/North Lebanon today, he defined Trend's primary task as "warding off a strife being concocted against Trend and allies with the north serving as its breeding or staging-ground."

Baseel however reassured them to the effect that Trend and allies would persist in pursuing an open-door policy vis-a-vis political adversaries let alone members of other religious sects.

He proclaimed North Lebanon as properly his Trend's rather than that of the fundamentalist integrality and that his people would ensure the plurality of the North after Trend image.

G.G./R.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Ban Ki-moon leaves Lebanon to Abu Dhabi
 

Sun 15/01/2012 12:46

NNA - 15/01/2012 The three-day-visit of United Nations Secretary General to Lebanon ended Sunday as he left to Abu Dhabi.

Ban Ki-moon, and his accompanying delegation, left Beirut for the United Arab Emirates aboard a private jet.

R.Z.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Ban Ki-moon demands Assad stop murdering Syrians, Israel halt building settlements
 

Sun 15/01/2012 12:43

NNA - 15/01/2012 United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called Sunday upon Syrian President Bashar Assad to stop continuous killing of the people, warning him that he is rushing towards a dead end, and stressed that Israeli-Palestinian conflict must be resolved, during a UN conference on Reform and Transition to Democracy organized by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) held in Beirut and attended by PM Najib Mikati, former Arab League chief Amr Moussa and Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu.

The Arab Spring took over Syria over ten months ago, but was met with severe violence by the regime which accused terrorists and foreign conspiracies of hatching a plot against it.

"The winds of change will not die away, and the flame ignited in Tunisia will not fade into black," Ban stated. He foreshadowed an eminent end to the Baathist regime in Syria.

Focusing on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the Secretary General demanded a halt to the Israeli occupation of the Arab world. He maintained that continuous illegal construction of settlements worked against a two-state solution, which was long overdue.

"The Israeli occupation of Arab and Palestinian territories must end. So must violence against civilians."

 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Mansour's Priority at Finding Sadr
 

Sun 15/01/2012 12:39

NNA - 15/01/2012 - Foreign minister Adnan Mansour's utmost priority is to find vanished Shiite imam Mousa Sadr, he told Lebanese embassy staff in Tripoli/Libya today.

Minister Mansour currently on a state visit to Libya, informed Lebanese Charge d'affaires Nazih Ashour and accompanying delegation that Lebanese expats must hold together in quest of unraveling the fate of the disappeared religious leader and his companions. He predicted prospective amelioration of bilateral relations on the new Libyan authorities' seriousness in addressing this matter. Mansour disclosed renewed trade ties already decided with officials here in the offing.

Senior Amal official Haytham Jum'a for his part heard expat complaints and retorted that they might be in need of certain time before they get organized.

G.G.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Mikati requests stern application of UN resolutions, suggests free trade zone among Arabs
 

Sun 15/01/2012 12:08

NNA - 15/01/2012 Prime Minister Najib Mikati declared Sunday the United Nations (UN) the sole protector of people's freedom and democracy, describing Lebanon's experience with Israeli violations of UN resolution 1701 as a daily challenge, while inviting Arab countries to use the Arab Spring as an opportunity for economic cooperation among Arab markets.

The Premier addressed an audience gathered at Phoenicia Hotel in Beirut for UN conference on Reform and Transition to Democracy. Among the attendees were UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, and Egyptian presidential candidate and former Arab League chief Amr Moussa.

"[The UN] was and will remain the first refuge for all people looking for peace, freedom, democracy and dignity," Mikati said as he requested efficient implementation of international resolutions, not only from the Lebanese side, but also from the Israeli one. "In Lebanon, we have clear evidence of Israeli breaches of international resolutions. Israel never ceases to violate our sovereignty in air, sea and land. It continues to occupy parts of Shebaa farms, Kfarshouba Hills and the northern part of Ghajar village." In contrast, Lebanon has thus far adhered to resolution 1701, which intended to end July war of 2006 between the Jewish State and Hezbollah.

"Lebanon...insists on implementing resolution 1701 fully and without any distinction or selectivity, under reservation of its legitimate right of liberating its occupied lands by all available means, particularly those stipulated in the international charter of human rights."

Turning to regional issues, particularly the Arab Spring which proved problematic for the Lebanese government once it reached neighboring Syria, the Premier called upon Arab states to learn from the past in order to build a better future. "Democracy has become the Arab people's primary choice of rule."

Mikati suggested turning the Arab Spring into an invitation to devote and activate the system of joint Arab action for the welfare of the Arab people. "The time has come to proceed and launch a regional economic program that eliminates obstacles between all Arab countries and bridges the distances between the societies of these countries."

 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Meqati holds a dinner banquet in honor of UN Secretary General at the Grand Serail
 

Sat 14/01/2012 23:50

NNA - 14/1/2012 - Prime Minister Najib Meqati stressed that Lebanon is more powerful than the sudden "earthquakes" coming from outside; however, certain internal divisions weaken atimes internal stands towards the people and the outside, he noted. Meqati implored all to cooperate for the sake of fortifying the nation in the face of all dangers and divisions, especially during the current critical phase.
Meqati went on to stress that the United Nations and the international community's commitment to supporting Lebanon, through the UNIFIL peace-keeping forces' presence in South Lebanon, denotes a basic step towards peace and boosting stability in Lebanon. However, he pointed to the need for an international strict position in forcing Israel to halt its violations of Lebanese sovereignty and implement all international resolutions.
PM Meqati's stands came during the dinner banquet he held Saturday evening at the Grand Serail in honor of United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, and participants in the ESCWA meeting organized for tomorrow at the Phoenicia Hotel in Beirut, entitled: "Reform and transition to Democracy." Attending the dinner banquet were: former President Amine Gemayel and former Prime Ministers Selim Hoss and Fuad Siniora; in addition to a number of prominent political, diplomatic, military, religious, social and economic figures.
In turn, Ban Ki-moon expressed his strong belief in the future of the Lebanese people who have always aspired for unity at all critical stages. He voiced the United Nations' utter, complete and deep-rooted commitment to Lebanon; noting that UN presence in Lebanon is the largest in the world. He also expressed joy for being in Lebanon for the third time, thanking the Lebanese for their warm and touching hospitality. He also expressed admiration for the progress achieved by Lebanon's government and people. He added that amidst a region witnessing dramatic events, high hopes and possible failures, his trust persists in the future of the Lebanese, wishing them all the best!
On the other hand, it is to note that PM Meqati met earlier Saturday evening with former Arab League Secretary General, Amr Moussa, at the Grand Serail. On emerging, Moussa indicated that his visit to Lebanon comes to partake in the ESCWA meeting organized for tomorrow. He added that he conferred with PM Meqati over the situation in Egypt and the region, as a whole, and the change movements witnessed all around. He noted, herein, that neither the Arab world nor the Middle East shall be the same but that huge changes shall occur.
Responding to a question regarding being a presidential nominee in Egypt, Moussa acknowledged his candidacy for the Egyptian Presidency.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Ban confers with Davutoglu over regional issues
 

Sat 14/01/2012 23:15

NNA - 14/1/2012 - United Nations Official Spokesman Martin Nasirki issued a statement Saturday evening, summing-up United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's meetings with Lebanese leaders and officials. He indicated that the UN Secretary General discussed with Lebanese officials UN's support to Lebanon in implementing concerned decisions, and Lebanon's important contributions to the international organization. He added that there was also exchange of views over all regional matters, especially the situation in Syria and its reflection on Lebanon.
Furthermore, the UN Spokesman's statement referred to Ban Ki-moon's meeting with Turkish Foreign Minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, with a number of regional issues centering their discussion. The prevailing conditions in Syria, Iran and Cyprus highlighted their talks. In reference to the Syrian situation, Ban stated that the Syrian crisis path has been "a source of great worry."
R.Sh.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Raad following meeting with Davutoglu: Difference in assessment of incidents surrounding Lebanon
 

Sat 14/01/2012 22:58

NNA - 14/1/2012 - Turkish Foreign Minster, Ahmet Davutoglu, met Saturday evening at the Phoenicia Hotel in Beirut with "Faithfulness to the Resistance" Bloc Head, Mohamad Raad.
Following their 2-hour meeting, Raad indicated that they held a comprehensive and detailed overview of all developments; referring herein to differences in assessments of incidents occurring around Lebanon. He added that he stressed the need for change witnessed in the region to spring out from the people's will instead of being an outcome of outside fabrication.
Raad went on to stress that outside interferences ought not to be allowed the chance to dictate their mottos, moves and strategies, so as to enforce reform steps that meet the needs of others without achieving the people's aspirations.
On the other hand, Raad pointed to certain common points in exchanged views during the meeting over other matters. He indicated that agreement was made on arranging for further joint meetings in the future. He also highlighted the need for change arising from individuals while halting all supportive violence to armed militants, and ensuring reform steps at a more systematic pace.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Ban meets with Jumblatt (correction)
 

Sat 14/01/2012 22:25

NNA - 14/1/2012 - United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, met Saturday at the Phoenicia Hotel in Beirut with National Struggle Front Head, MP Walid Jumblatt. On emerging, Jumblatt gave no statement.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Raad following meeting with Ban: Differences in vision and direction (correction)
 

Sat 14/01/2012 22:23

NNA - 14/1/2012 - United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, met Saturday evening at the Phoenicia Hotel in Beirut with "Faithfulness to the Resistance" Bloc Head, Deputy Mohamad Raad.
On emerging, Raad referred to certain differences in vision and direction evident during the encounter.
In reference to the situation in Syria, Raad indicated that he stressed the need for change to spring out from the people themselves instead of being an outside fabrication!
R.Sh.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Raad following meeting with Ban: Differences in vision and direction (preliminary)
 

Sat 14/01/2012 22:22

NNA - 14/1/2012 - United States Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, met Saturday evening at the Phoenicia Hotel in Beirut with "Faithfulness to the Resistance" Bloc Head, Deputy Mohamad Raad.
On emerging, Raad referred to certain differences in vision and direction evident during the encounter.
In reference to the situation in Syria, Raad indicated that he stressed the need for change to spring out from the people themselves instead of being an outside fabrication!
R.Sh.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Berry meets with Amr Moussa
 

Sat 14/01/2012 22:15

NNA - 14/1/2012 - House Speaker, Nabih Berry, met Saturday evening at Ain Teeneh with former Arab League Secretary General, Amr Moussa. The meeting was a chance to dwell on current developments in the region.
Moussa had arrived in Beirut earlier Saturday and was greeted at the Airport by Egyptian Ambassador to Lebanon, Mohamed Toufic; as well as Arab League's Bureau Director in Beirut and a representative of the Lebanese Foreign and Expatriates Ministry.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Siniora: Tribunal Protocol is part of an international decision and cannot be amended
 

Sat 14/01/2012 22:04

NNA - 14/1/2012 - United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, met Saturday afternoon at the Phoenicia Hotel in Beirut with "Future Parliamentary Bloc" Head, former Prime Minister Fuad Siniora. Deputies Atef Majdalani, Nuhad Mashnouq, Bassem Shab and former Ministers Tarek Mitri and Mohamad Shatah, as well as Advisor Nader Hariri also attended the meeting.
On emerging, Siniora referred to the importance of the visit by Ban Ki-moon to Lebanon since it comes at a time when the whole Arab world is going through democratic changes. He added that this reflects the attention that the UN Secretary General accords to Lebanon and its role in the Arab region, especially with regards to the democracy issue.
Siniora indicated that discussions also touched on UN decision #1701 and the necessity of Israel's commitment to it, as well as Lebanon's continuous respect to all UN Council and General Assembly decisions. He added that stress was made on the fact that Israel still occupies parts of Lebanon and the need for it to commit to the total implementation of UN decision #1701, halting all its violations against Lebanon whether by land or air.
Furthermore, Siniora indicated that talks centered on the International Tribunal, whereby the UN Secretary General assured them that the Tribunal shall pursue its mission until it is complete. Siniora explained, herein, that the decision #1757 to be discussed is merely concerning time frame; however, the Tribunal Protocol is part of the international decision which is not prone for any amendment whatsoever.
As for the Arab Spring, Siniora indicated the Ban Ki-moon has expressed his great concern for this matter. He added that as a "Future Parliamentary Bloc," they also expressed their support to the moves for democratic change in the Arab World, which leads to further respect for human rights. He also referred to the situation in Syria, stressing on cooperation for the sake of ensuring change towards democracy as soon as possible.
Siniora expressed belief in the UN Secretary General's attachment to the implementation of UN Resolution #1701 and all other international decisions.
 

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Politics - Ban meets with Jumblatt
 

Sat 14/01/2012 20:17

NNA - 14/1/2012 - United States Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, met Saturday at the Phoenicia Hotel in Beirut with National Struggle Front Head, MP Walid Jumblatt. On emerging, Jumblatt gave no statement.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Gemayel following his meeting with Ban: His visit reflects Lebanon's importance
 

Sat 14/01/2012 20:10

NNA - 14/1/2012 - United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, met Saturday afternoon with former President Amine Gemayel, who visited him at the Phoenicia Hotel in Beirut. Talks touched on various political developments.
On emerging, Gemayel described the UN Secretary General's visit as reflecting the extent of importance Lebanon harbors at the international level during the current phase, and the attention of international officials towards the Lebanese cause. He described the encounter with Ban Ki-moon as very important, noting that their talks touched on the International Tribunal. Gemayel indicated that he personally stressed on according attention to the case of his late son, Pierre Gemayel's assassination since it is connected to the path of the Tribunal.
Gemayel went on to indicate that the issue of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon was also raised during the meeting, especially with regards to their future in the general aspect.
Furthermore, he indicated that talks also centered on the general situation in the country, UN decision #1701 and conditions in the South. He considered that said conditions are related to Syria's acknowledgement of Lebanon's sovereignty over Shebaa Farms, which is a basic factor for solving the problem in the South, and is also related to Hizbollah's weapons, Gemayel noted.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Ban meets with Gemayel, Siniora and Jumblatt (Preliminary)
 

Sat 14/01/2012 18:53

NNA - 14/1/2012 - United Nations Secretary General, Ban Kimoon, began a series of meetings at the Phoenicia Hotel in Beirut Saturday evening, upon his return from his South tour. Kimoon met consecutively with a number of political officials, namely former Prime Minister Fuad Siniora, former President Amine Gemayel and MP Walid Jumblatt.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Al-Rai confers with Ouglo over developments
 

Sat 14/01/2012 18:47

NNA - 14/1/2011 - Maronite Patriarch Bshara Butros Al-Rai conferred Saturday afternoon with Turkish Foreign Minister, Ahmad Daoud Ouglo, in presence of Turkish Ambassador to Lebanon and his accompanying delegation. The meeting was a chance to dwell on bilateral relations and developments on both the local and regional scenes.
Patriarch Al-Rai presented Minister Ouglo with the Maronite Patriarchate Medal.
Following the encounter, Ouglo described the meeting as successful; disclosing that he has addressed an invitation to the Patriarch to visit Turkey. He added that talks touched on latest developments in the region, and on ways of preserving the culture and traditions of various sects, especially in Lebanon.
Responding to a question whether talks touched on the situation in Syria, Ouglo indicated that discussion veered more towards religious matters, dialogue and religious forgiveness, especially at these critical conditions witnessed in the region. He noted, herein, that they stressed on the importance of respecting all religions and sects, citing Lebanon as a role model and example of such co-existence and peace amongst different sects.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Grand Serail itinerant activities and visitors today
 

Sat 14/01/2012 17:22

NNA - 14/01/2012 - Visiting Turkish Foreign Minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, reviewed with Prime Minister Najib Mikati bilateral relations and regional developments during his stopover at the Grand Serail today.

The visitor accompanied Turkish Ambassador to Lebanon Auzildiz and a number of diplomats. He reportedly conveyed an invitation to Mikati to visit Turkey soon by counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Summing up meeting's outcome with the PM at the Serail, Davutoglu referred to the Arab Spring as having witnessed its early spark here in Lebanon. He indicated that a stable Lebanon was very essential for the Eastern Mediterranean region as a whole.

He described meetings with Lebanese senior officials as excellent and that all three Presidents shared the same views with counterparts.

Davutoglu did not rule out meeting senior Hizbullah officials tomorrow.

Also having met with the Prime Minister, Deputy of the House Qassem Hashem, urged politicians to heed high national interests when dealing with issues at hand. He concluded that agendas must be approached realistically and rationally.

Deputy Hashem also presented Prime Minister with a number of demands pertaining to his respective district of Arkoub South Lebanon.

Among itinerant Serail visitors were head of the Syro-Lebanese Supreme Council, Nasri Khouri, and former Deputy Baha Din Itani who spoke highly of the Minister's high performance in preserving national sovereignty away from political bidding.

G.G./P.BC.

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Politics - Ki-moon touring South today
 

Sat 14/01/2012 16:50

NNA - 14/01/2012 - UN-General Secretary, Ban Ki-moon, toured South Lebanon today where he inspected UNIFIL HQ in Naqoura. He was met by Commanding General, Alberto Asarta and Deputy Commander, Santi Bonfanti, and other UNIFIL senior officers.

Ki-moon was met in full military honors where he laid a wreath on the memorial of 293 servicemen who gave their lives since 1978.

Taking the word, Ki-moon commended UNIFIL peace-keepers for their sacrifices and said they were doing a fairly good job with their Lebanese comrades in arms.

He concluded that UNIFIL and the Lebanese military were networking partners for peace in South Lebanon.

Ki-moon had a briefing by Asarta and senior officers over their peacekeeping tasks in the South and inspected the Blue-line before returning to Beirut.

G.G./P.BC.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved









 

Politics - Davutoglu at Rahi's in Bkerki today
 

Sat 14/01/2012 16:39

NNA - 14/01/2012 - Visiting Turkish Foreign Minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, has been at Bkerki on a courtesy visit to Maronite Patriarch Bechara Rahi in presence of senior clergymen. Both reportedly boarded domestic and regional matters of concern.

G.G./P.BC.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - (Updated) Davutoglu at Ain Tineh today
 

Sat 14/01/2012 16:36

NNA - 14/01/2012 - Visiting Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has been at Ain Tineh for deliberations with House Speaker Nabih Berri and senior Amal aides. Discussions reportedly focused on domestic and regional developments.

Having met with Speaker Berri and aides at Ain Tineh residence today, Minister of Public Works Ghazi Aridi told waiting newsmen that he and the Speaker saw eye-to-eye over matters under discussion. He commended him for preserving national unity and stability.

Aridi described his relationship with the Speaker as that of genuinely equitable partnership. Both expressed concern over social and economic agendas and decided that dialogue provides the only way out for dealing with domestic issues.

Aridi reiterated Lebanon's sticking to UN Security Council Resolution 1701. He concluded that the mentioned Resolution must be honored to safeguard Lebanese security and stability.

Among Ain Tineh itinerant visitors has been Senior Hizbullah cleric Hasan Baghdadi who extended an invitation to the House Speaker to patronize Party conference of the two martyrs with 48 papers presented at the conference.

G.G./P.BC.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved












 

Politics - Mansour following up Sadr case with Libyans
 

Sat 14/01/2012 16:12

NNA - 14/01/2012 - Foreign Minister, Adnan Mansour, currently on an official visit to Libya, discussed with Libyan Justice, Minister Hamid Ashour, vanished Imam Moussa Sadr and companions.

Minister Ashour briefed the Foreign Minister over steps taken by the Prosecutor-General to reactivate the Sadr file in the hope that a positive outcome would come forth soon. The Justice Minister added that search for Sadr continues in Libyan jails throughout the country.

Mansour, for his part, commended the Libyans for their cooperation saying they have shown keenness at knowing Sadr's whereabouts.

Minister Ashour assured the Lebanese side that special envoys would be sent to Beirut to follow up the matter with the Lebanese and that the Libyan Prosecutor-General would keep the Lebanese authorities posted over whatever findings their likely to make within the few upcoming days.

G.G./P.BC.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved









 

Politics - Nasrallah's call to arms on Hussein's 40th day
 

Sat 14/01/2012 15:49

NNA - 14/01/2012 - Addressing thousands of supporters and sympathizers on the passage of the 40th day after the martyrdom of Hussein at Baalbek Mosque today, Hizbullah Chief Hassan Nasrallah saluted clerics and religious dignitaries and offered them deep condolences on the 40th day of Hussein's martyrdom according to the Shiite calendar.

Nasrallah saluted marchers on the 40th day all over the Middle East starting from Karbala in Iraq to various Syrian and Lebanese cities. He saluted them for their arduous march marred by difficulties only to express their love for the House of the Prophet and his companions.

Nasrallah envisaged in their march an embodiment of their commitment to the cause of Hussein. This was tantamount to a persistent cry of Hussein reverberating throughout the ages. He added that the love for the House of Hussein lives on in his conscience and that the champions of the cause were his overlords. He vowed to tread in the path of Hussein and had no choice between victory or martyrdom.

Nasrallah said the experience of Hussein embodies and sums up religious teachings in other faiths as well. He reiterated what he termed as the Zein el Abidin and Zeinab options of martyrdom and dignity. Nasrallah drew parallels between the experience of Hussein and threats leveled against his party by the US, Israel and their local agents.

He spoke about the Karbala option of dignity and martyrdom emanating from Almighty Allah. The senior cleric quoted Zeinab's long speech to Yazid (the son of Mo'awiya, the Omayyed Khalif of the seventh century AD).

He likened his throngs of fighters to Zainab saying they would continue to challenge the US and Israel as she did 14 centuries ago.

He referred to the Baalbek Plaza where supporters gathered by their thousands saying it had witnessed the emergence of armed resistance to occupation. He seized the opportunity to stress the option of party, people and army in order to preserve Lebanon's sovereignty and dignity.

Nasrallah added that Ban Ki-moon worries expressed yesterday over his Party's holding onto its arms pleased him a lot and that he would not be deterred by persistent calls to disarm.

To the contrary, Nasrallah emphatically added that his Jihadists would escalate their preparedness. He referred to Hizbullah as a regional force when he recalled the experiences of Lebanon, Iraq and Palestine with tens of thousands languishing in Israeli jails and Jerusalem being Judeized.

He paid tribute to his Party and Hamas saying thanks to their sacrifices and resistance all of Lebanon and Gaza were liberated.

Domestically speaking, Nasrallah referred to national dialogue as the only means for defining a national defense strategy and absolutely not to disarm the Party. He duly called for a new dialogue and the recovery of vanished Shiite Imam Moussa Sadr. To this effect, the Hizbullah leader expressed need for a joint party/Libyan inquiry into the fate of Imam Sadr.

Security-wise, he made it a point that internal political differences ought not spill out on the street under forms of armed clashes. While expressing full commitment to security, he reiterated Hizbullah's refusal to play the policeman's role and that army and security services must assume full responsibility in carrying out tasks.

He reiterated support for the Mikati-led government stressing that the government is here to stay. He slightly criticized government performance saying it must prove itself to be more effective especially when it comes to taking care of people's needs. He favored a quick resolution to the highly contested issue of workers' wages and salaries and accused certain politicians of opting instead for government inaction.

Nasrallah chose a detached position vis-a-vis the Syrian unrest while expressing deep concern over the present course of events in the conflict-ridden country. He called on the opposition (both internally and externally) to heed Asad's call for reform and that they must prove themselves supportive enough.

With reference to regional involvement in the Syrian unrest, Nasrallah criticized the Arab League of Nations of sectarian incitement and that the likelihood of such an event must be averted at all costs. He called on Arab Nations, Iran and Turkey to deal rationally with the Syrian issue.

The religious leader also condemned attacks on Shiite worshipers in Iraq saying they were victims of terrorism. He urged Iraqi Islamists to condemn in most vigorous terms suicide-bombings against civilians noting that events far reaching into Iran, Syria and Pakistan must be deplored outright.

He exclaimed that the killers of civilian worshipers in Iraq were in fact taking revenge at the victory of like-minded Iraqis on the Americans.

With respect to the assassination of Iranian nuclear scientists, he vowed that such murders won't stop the Iranian nuclear research. The senior cleric accused the Americans of wanting to see us as a nation of clowns and dancers rather than scientists and that his Party wishes to see them as perfect scientists.

Nasrallah quoted Khamena'i's thesis that power and science go together hand-in-hand. He called on the Bahraini authorities to talk to the opposition and implement far reaching reforms. In his reference to Palestine, Nasralah reiterated that Jihad and Resistance were the only way out of the present impasse.

He also urged Palestinians from Fateh and Hamas to unite under the banner of anti-occupation resistance and ended that his God-given martyrdom would eventually make him cross along to the shore of safety.

G.G./P.BC.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Mufti convenes with Iranian Sunni delegation
 

Sat 14/01/2012 15:46

NNA - 14/01/2012 A delegation of Sunni scholars from the Islamic Republic of Iran visited Saturday Mufti Mohammad Rashid Qabbani, who asserted the important role Sunnis play in predominantly Shiite Iran.

The delegation discussed ways of enhancing cooperation between Beirut's Islamic University, affiliated with Dar Fatwa, and Faculty of Sharia at Higher Institute of Iran.

Qabbani also met with head of National Dialogue, Foad Makhzoumy.

R.Z.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Sleiman signs decree for parliamentary session
 

Sat 14/01/2012 15:36

NNA - 14/01/2012 President Michel Sleiman signed a decree Saturday to open an extraordinary parliamentary session, beginning January 16 and ending March 19, 2012, to study the various bills before Parliament.

He also discussed with the Secretary General of Lebanese-Syrian Higher Council Nasri Khoury bilateral cooperation in the agreements signed between the two countries, as well as the latest developments in Syria.

Among the visitors to Baabda was Maronite Archbishop of Cyprus, Archbishop Youssef Soueif, who requested assistance from the President to facilitate the movement of the Maronites between Greek and Turkish parts of the island during the visit of the Maronite Patriarch Bechara Rahi to Cyprus next month.

Sleiman had also met in the morning the new committee of the International Festival of Baalbek, chaired by Nayla De Freij.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Charbel: 1994 Naturalization decree a huge mistake
 

Sat 14/01/2012 15:17

NNA - 14/01/2012 Minister of Interior and Municipalities described Saturday naturalization decree issued in 1994 as a massive legal and constitutional error that demanded ratification, while on a visit to the Maronite League's Executive Board headquarters.

The Lebanese government issued a decree granting Lebanese citizenship in June 1994. An estimated 100,000 people were affected by the decree. The Muslims granted Lebanese citizenship were mostly Sunnis from the north of the country, members of a community known as Arabs of Wadi-Khaled, and the Christians were from seven different sects, mostly non-Maronite. Palestinians in Lebanon were excluded from the decree; however, it is believed that 27,000 Palestinians had been granted citizenship.

"The decree has had negative repercussions on the national balance," said Charbel, "and the solution is either to abolish the decree and restart a new one that takes into consideration sectarian balance, or wait a long time for the ministry and its committees to carry out an audit, which is a complex and difficult thing that demands at least two years of intensive and continuous work."

Alluding to regional issues, Charbel advised all Lebanese to unite their ranks. "For the first time salvation of Lebanese is in their hands. Peace or war depends on them living up to their national responsibilities.

R.Z.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved













 

Politics - Army Commander deliberates with visitors
 

Sat 14/01/2012 14:57

NNA - 14/01/2012 Army Commander, General Jean Qahwaji, received at his office in Yarze a number of visitors Saturday.

Among the General's callers were Director General of General Security, General Aabass Ibrahim, and Secretary General of Lebanese-Syrian Higher Council, Nassry Khoury.

Qahwaji also met with a delegation from the National Council of France.

R.Z.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Sleiman, Davutoglu: Bilateral ties are excellent
 

Sat 14/01/2012 14:28

NNA - 14/01/2012 A meeting between President Michel Sleiman and Turkey's Foreign Affairs Minister highlighted outstanding relations between both states at Baabda on Saturday.

Ahmet Davutoglu is currently on an official visit to Lebanon to partake in a United Nations (UN) conference on democracy in the Arab world on Sunday. The two-day "Reform and Transitions to Democracy" conference is organized by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA).

The Minister affirmed Turkey's refusal to thrust Lebanon into the midst of regional turmoil, and described ties with Lebanon as "excellent."

Sleiman lauded Turkey's effort and sacrifices in south Lebanon as part of the UN peacekeeping forces. He urged the Turkish state to work closely with the Arab League in solving regional issues in a peaceful and democratic manner.

R.Z.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Davutoglu at Ain Tineh today
 

Sat 14/01/2012 13:08

NNA - 14/01/2012 - Visiting Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has been at Ain Tineh for deliberations with House Speaker Nabih Berri and senior Amal aides. Discussions reportedly focused on domestic and regional developments.

G.G./P.BC.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - A. Aoun for clear Christian representation
 

Sat 14/01/2012 13:03

NNA - 14/01/2012 - Aounist deputy of the House Alain Aoun, stressed Change and Reform Bloc's holding onto representation of a clear majority of Christian appointees to Public Administrative posts.

Alain Aoun and, in an interview on Voice of Lebanon radio station, strerssed Reform and Change Bloc's reserving full right of Christian representation based on its weight on board the cabinet.

While stressing the political nature of appointments in Lebanon, he denied the existence of differences between the Bloc and allies from the Marada and Armenian Tashnag party.

He acknowledged however the existence of slight differences between General Aoun and the MP albeit, he preferred to keep the Lebanese president out of the present row.

A. Aoun advised Hariri-Future Bloc to join the Round Table of National Dialogue but accused them at the same time of striving to make political capital out of the issue of Syrians displaced into Lebanon by the regime.

G.G./P.BC.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Meeting concludes between Sleiman and Davutoglu
 

Sat 14/01/2012 11:36

NNA - 14/01/2012 An hour-long closed meeting between President Michel Sleiman and Turkey's Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has just wrapped up, NNA correspondent to Baabda Palace reported.

The Turkish minister left without making any statement to the press.

R.Z.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Sleiman meets Davutoglu
 

Sat 14/01/2012 10:58

NNA - 14/01/2012 President Michel Sleiman received Saturday morning Turkish Foreign Affairs Minister at his Baabda palace.

Ahmet Davutoglu is on an official visit to Lebanon to discuss bilateral ties, as well as situation in the region.

R.Z.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Sleiman holds banquet for Ban Ki-moon
 

Fri 13/01/2012 21:37

NNA - 13/01/2012 Baabda palace hosted a dinner banquet in honor of United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Friday night.

President Michel Sleiman received at his palace, besides Ban and his accompanying delegation, PM Najib Mikati and House speaker Nabih Berri.

R.Z.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Lebanon, Ivory Coast patch things up
 

Fri 13/01/2012 21:34

NNA - 13/01/2012 Lebanon rectified Friday its stance towards Ivory Coast's internationally recognized President Outtara with an official visit explaining that the Middle Eastern country has constantly backed the President's politics but was fearful for safety of Lebanese community from wrath of Gbagbo.

Lebanese ambassador to the Ivory Coast, Ali Ajami, was the only foreign envoy, besides that of Angola, to attend presidential inauguration of ousted strongman Laurent Gbagbo, after the United Nations backed the election of Alassane Outtara. After turmoil subsided in the African country, and Outtara took his rightful post, the Lebanese community began suffering the consequences of international politics.

"The aim was not to politically back Gbagbo, but to safeguard the Lebanese community living in areas ruled by him," explained the ambassador to Outtara.

In his turn, the President expressed understanding of the situation and lauded the positive input the Lebanese community has had on his country.

R.Z.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Berri upon meeting Ban: Israel continues hostilities, no Arab Spring in Syria
 

Fri 13/01/2012 21:08

NNA - 13/01/2012 House Speaker Nabih Berri accused Friday Israel of continued aggression against Lebanon, and demanded from UN Secretary General full implementation of resolution 1701, and described events in Syria as a "non-Arab spring."

Ban Ki-moon, currently on a three-day-visit to Lebanon, convened with Berri Friday at his Ayn Teeneh residence in Beirut.

"Resolution 1701 requires that United Nations demarcate maritime border of Lebanon, just as it did with the mainland," said the Speaker who insisted during the hour-long meeting with Ban and the accompanying UN delegation that the Lebanese, particularly in the south, were on very good terms with the peacekeeping forces operating within the United Nations Interim Forces (UNIFIL).

Resolution 1701 called for a full cessation of hostilities in the month-long war between Israel and Hezbollah, mapping out a formula for the phased withdrawal of the Israel Defense Forces from southern Lebanon, while up to 15,000 United Nations peacekeepers help Lebanese troops take control of the area.

"Israel has refused to end this hostile state following July war," stated Berri, "so that it continues to have an excuse to breach Lebanon's sovereignty through land, air and water."

Berri, a long-time friend of the Syrian regime, denounced events taking place in the neighboring country. "What is happening in Syria is different from what is termed as an Arab Spring." He insisted on supporting the Arab initiative, although he was not content with the absence of a political aspect in said initiative.

R.Z.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Sleiman meets Ban, voices keenness on safeguarding UNIFIL
 

Fri 13/01/2012 20:25

NNA - 13/01/2012 - Lebanese President Michel Sleiman reiterated on Friday Lebanon's keenness on safeguarding UNIFIL peace keepers in South Lebanon, deprecating the terrorist assaults which they had been subjected to whilst on a mission to preserve Lebanese Southern border stability in 2011.

Sleiman's words came in the wake of a meeting with UN Chief Ban Ki-moon who had arrived at 3:30 this afternoon at Baabda Palace, for talks with the President.

Vowing to unveil the identity of terrorists behind the numerous attacks which had targeted UNIFIL in 2011, the President disclosed some practical steps which had been implemented within the last few months for heightened protection of UN peace keepers and institutions.

"We hope the ongoing strategic review between the Lebanese Army and UNIFIL will come out with proposals deemed necessary for a smooth implementation of Security Council resolution 1701," the President said following his meeting with Ban, who gave no statement on emerging.

Ban had arrived in Beirut earlier today accompanied by Terje Roed-Larsen, the UN Special Envoy for the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1559, where he is expected to stay till Sunday for talks with the country's top leaders and with the United Nations peacekeepers serving in the country, according to his spokesperson.

Moreover, President Sleiman voiced Lebanon's support to a just and comprehensive solution to the Middle East crisis, based on international legitimacy. "Lebanon utterly refuses any solution calling for the naturalization of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon," the President added, affirming Lebanon's commitment to the Palestinian refugee's right of return to their homeland, Palestine.

Sleiman also implored the international community to make sure the International Security Council avoided dual standards whilst implementing international resolutions. He also asked of Ban to pursue efforts aiming at ensuring substantial funds for demining activities and cluster bomb clearing operations in South Lebanon.

As for Lebanon's oil exploration and excavation plan, the President said that he had briefed Ban on Lebanon's intention to proceed with said project, now that relevant laws and decrees have been endorsed.

"The United Nations can play an essential role by means of confirming and protecting Lebanon's oil rights, and by adopting necessary steps to guard excavation works, to be launched soon," the President added.

Ban's visit comes at the invitation of President Michel Sleiman and Prime Minister Najib Mikati. He will also open a high-level meeting on Arab reforms and democracy, organized by the UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) in Beirut.

The UN Secretary General will also be meeting with blue helmets serving in the south of the country with the UNIFIL.
R.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Hezbollah weapons raise Ban's fears
 

Fri 13/01/2012 20:08

NNA - 13/1/2012 - We have major concerns over Hezbollah's military force and we fear a stall in proceeding with the disarmament process, UN Chief told a news conference at Phoenicia Hotel Friday, shortly after meeting with the President, Prime Minister, and House Speaker.

He said he discussed with the country's top three officials the situation in Syria and the headway of likely repercussions of this neighboring nation's unrest on Lebanon.

Ban Ki-moon, currently on a three-day visit to Lebanon, is scheduled to open a high-level meeting on Arab reforms and democracy Sunday, organized by Beirut-based ESCWA, UN's Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia.

The UN Secretary General did not fail to remind of the obligation that Lebanon fully cooperates with the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, a UN-backed court probing the 2005 assassination of statesman Rafik Hariri.

"The Special Tribunal's mandate must be extended, and this is something that we settle on in collaboration with the Lebanese government and the Security Council," he maintained.

UN Chief also revealed that he asked the government to beef up protection for UN personnel, mainly at the backdrop of three attacks in 2011 on UNIFIL peacekeepers.

Turning to the domestic political scene, Ban said he encouraged the Lebanese government to resume national dialogue.

"We must make sure of Lebanon's extending its sovereignty on the overall [Lebanese] territories," he said.

Ban corroborated that Israeli violations of Lebanon, which he termed as "breaches of resolution 1701," also featured in his talks today.



R.A.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Ban from Grand Serail: Israeli breaches of Lebanese airspace violates UN's credibility
 

Fri 13/01/2012 19:26

NNA - 13/01/2012 - UN Chief Ban Ki-Moon said that the Israeli breach of Lebanon's airspace did not only violate the Lebanese aerial sovereignty but also UN's credibility of carrying out its mission in South of Lebanon.

Ban's stance came on Friday in the context of his meeting with Prime Minister Najib Mikati at the Grand Serail.

Ban assured he would delve into the breach issue with Israeli officials upon his upcoming visit to Israel. Ban urged for a quick strategic dialogue between the Lebanese Army and the UNIFIL so that the Army would be able to totally carry out its mission in the South.

The UN senior also called for controlling the Lebanese borders and disarming all militias in the country. He also called upon Lebanon to invest its oil wealth in the undisputed naval regions, before following up communications aiming at solving the problems found at the disputed areas.

A.M./P.BC.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - De Freij after meeting Matar: for casting social files away from politics
 

Fri 13/01/2012 19:21

NNA - 13/1/2012 Deputy Nabil De Freij called for casting social, health, economic and security dossiers away from politics, stressing that workers and employers should not pay the price of political disputes.
MP De Freij was speaking following his visit on Friday to Beirut Maronite Bishops Head Boulos Matar, where they held a tour d'horizon bearing on an array of social and political issues on the local scene, in addition to repercussions of incidents in some Arab countries on Lebanon.

--------------L.Y
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Ban Ki-moon visits Berri
 

Fri 13/01/2012 19:17

NNA - 13/01/2012 House Speaker Nabih Berri received Secretary General of the United Nations Friday at his Ayn Teeneh residence.

Ban Ki-moon reportedly convened with Berri for an hour. He then left without making any statements.

R.Z.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Roknabadi visits Aoun, Franjieh
 

Fri 13/01/2012 19:10

NNA - 13/1/2012 - Head of the Change and Reform parliamentary bloc, MP Michel Aoun, on Friday met with Iranian ambassador to Lebanon, Ghazanfar Roknabadi, at his residence in Rabieh.

The diplomat said the visit aimed to convey President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's well-wishes for the holiday season.

On the killing of Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan, Deputy Director of the Natanz uranium enrichment facility, the ambassador did not fail to point the finger again at Israel.

He reckoned that the Zionist entity had reached an impasse in facing the Resistance.

Roshan is the fourth Iranian nuclear scientist to be assassinated in two years.

Last July, Dariush Rezaee Nejad was shot dead in east Tehran.
In January 2012, Masud Ali Mohammadi, an Iranian quantum field theorist and elementary-particle physicist, was assassinated in front of his home in Tehran.
Earlier in November, a bomb attack in Tehran killed Majid Shahriari, member of the nuclear engineering faculty at Shahid Beheshti University and worked for Iran's Atomic Energy Organization.

Roknabadi had later been to Bnechii for a meeting with Marada Movement leader, MP Sleiman Franjieh.

Iran's envoy told reporters following the meeting that talks shed light on most recent developments on both the regional and international scenes.

Besides, the pair agreed over Israel's involvement in the killing of scientist Roshan in Tehran earlier this week.



R.A.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Roknabadi visits Aoun, Franjieh
 

Fri 13/01/2012 19:10

NNA - 13/1/2012 - Head of the Change and Reform parliamentary bloc, MP Michel Aoun, on Friday met with Iranian ambassador to Lebanon, Ghazanfar Roknabadi, at his residence in Rabieh.

The diplomat said the visit aimed to convey President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's well-wishes for the holiday season.

On the killing of Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan, Deputy Director of the Natanz uranium enrichment facility, the ambassador did not fail to point the finger again at Israel.

He reckoned that the Zionist entity had reached an impasse in facing the Resistance.

Roshan is the fourth Iranian nuclear scientist to be assassinated in two years.

Last July, Dariush Rezaee Nejad was shot dead in east Tehran.
In January 2012, Masud Ali Mohammadi, an Iranian quantum field theorist and elementary-particle physicist, was assassinated in front of his home in Tehran.
Earlier in November, a bomb attack in Tehran killed Majid Shahriari, member of the nuclear engineering faculty at Shahid Beheshti University and worked for Iran's Atomic Energy Organization.

Roknabadi had later been to Bnechii for a meeting with Marada Movement leader, MP Sleiman Franjieh.

Iran's envoy told reporters following the meeting that talks shed light on most recent developments on both the regional and international scenes.

Besides, the pair agreed over Israel's involvement in the killing of scientist Roshan in Tehran earlier this week.



R.A.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Mansour in Libya speaks of positive steps unscrambling Sadr's case
 

Fri 13/01/2012 18:43

NNA - 13/01/2012 - Foreign Affairs and Expatriates Minister Adnan Mansour sounded very optimistic on Friday, saying talks with Libyan officials were very promising with regard to efforts aiming at unraveling the mystery behind Imam Moussa Sadr's disappearance.

Foreign Minister Adnan Mansour, heading a Foreign Ministry delegation, left Beirut for Libya last Wednesday, in quest for the truth behind the case of Imam Moussa Sadr, who went missing while on an official trip to the North African country, Libya, more than three decades ago.

"We have sensed a great deal of cooperation by Libya pertaining to Sadr's case. We witnessed as well some tangible interaction initiated by Libyan authorities which have been investigating the matter for almost a month now," he said.

Furthermore, Mansour said that there would be established Libyan and Lebanese follow-up committees by the Lebanese Ministry of Justice. "There will also be appointed a Lebanese judge to follow up the matter, along with the Libyan investigations committee."

The Lebanese delegation had met for this purpose with the Libyan Prime Minister, Abdul Rahman Al-Kassab, Libyan Foreign Minister Asour Bin Khayal, Interior Minister Fawzi Abdul Al, and Defense Minister Osama Al Joubeily.

"We are according this case our utmost concern, however, we might need some technical support," Abdul Jalil said.

In turn, the Libyan Prime Minister asserted that Sadr's case was a priority for Libyans, hoping both Lebanese-Libyan sides would come out with positive results.
R.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Ban-Sleiman extended meeting concludes at Baabda
 

Fri 13/01/2012 17:38

NNA - 13/1/2012 The extended meeting between the UN delegation and Lebanon that took place at Baabdal Palace on Friday afternoon was concluded, with President of the Republic Michel Sleiman presiding the Lebanese delegation and UN Chief Ban Ki-Moon heading the UN delegation.
Ban left Baabda palace without giving a statement to media representatives.
Ban had arrived in Beirut earlier today accompanied by Terje Roed-Larsen, UN Special Envoy for the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1559.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved












 

Politics - Mattis visits Lebanon, meets senior officials
 

Fri 13/01/2012 16:46

NNA - 13/01/2012 - Lebanese Army Commander, General Jean Kahwaji, conferred over Lebanese and US army bilateral relations with head of the U.S. Central Command, Commander General James Mattis, who visited his Baabda office along with the US Ambassador to Lebanon, Maura Connelly.

U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) Commander General James N. Mattis, currenlty on a visit to Lebanon, also met with President Michel Sleiman, Speaker of the House Nabih Berri, Prime Minister Najib Mikati, Minister of Defense Fayez Ghosn.

General Mattis renewed the United States' commitment to a stable, sovereign and independent Lebanon. He underscored U.S. CENTCOM's support in strengthening the capacity of the Lebanese Armed Forces, recognizing its importance in serving as Lebanon's sole legitimate defense force to secure Lebanon's borders and defend the sovereignty and independence of the state.

In his meetings, General Mattis also discussed the political and security situation in Lebanon and other regional issues. He further emphasized the strong and sustained military cooperation between the two countries as well as Lebanon's initiatives to implement its obligations under United Nations Security Council Resolution 1701.

 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved











 

Politics - Audi, Khoury meet, tackle Ban's visit to Lebanon
 

Fri 13/01/2012 16:25


NNA - 13/1/2012 - Environment Minister Nazem Al-Khoury paid a visit Friday to Beirut Metropolitan of the Greek Orthodox Church, Bishop Elias Audi, whereby he commented on the visit of the United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki Moon to Lebanon.

The Minister said ties between Lebanon and the United Nations were solid and historical.

"Lebanon plays an effective role in the UN, as he did in the Security Council," Khoury noted.

Separately, Bishop Audi met with the Egyptian Ambassador to Lebanon, Muhammad Toufic, with whom he exchanged viewpoints regarding the Lebanese-Egyptian cultural, historical and economic ties.

Both sides tackled the developments taking place in the Arab world, shedding light on the importance of fulfilling the aspirations of the region's people.

The Ambassador confirmed that Copts in Egypt were major participants in the revolution which led to democratic changes in Egypt.

Moreover, bishop Audi received a delegation of Hezbollah with special highlight on the Lebanese internal situation which requires calm and wisdom.
D.K./A.B.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved














 

Politics - Ban arrives in Baabda
 

Fri 13/01/2012 16:20

NNA - 13/1/2012 - UN Cheif Ban Ki-moon arrived at 3:30 this afternoon in Baabda palace, for talks with Lebanese President, Michel Sleiman.

The pair, who had sat previously behind closed doors, have just extended the meeting to include both the Lebanese and the United Nations delegations.

Ban had arrived in Beirut earlier today accompanied by Terje Roed-Larsen, UN Special Envoy for the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1559.


R.A.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved
 






 

Politics - Qabbani, Layyoun tackle developments
 

Fri 13/01/2012 16:05

NNA - 13/01/2012 - Mufti of the Republic Sheikh Mohammad Rachid Qabbani Friday engaged in most recent developments at the Arab and Lebanese scenes with the Culture Minister, Gaby Layyoun.

Both men saw eye to eye over the paramount importance of preserving national security, safety, and stability.
R.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


 

Politics - Berri meets Syrian ambassador, others
 

Fri 13/01/2012 15:32

NNA - 13/1/2012 - Speaker of the House, Nabih Berri, on Friday met with Syrian ambassador to Lebanon, Ali Abdul Karim Ali, over the current situation in neighboring Syria and most recent developments in the broader Arab region.

Berri also met today with Commander of the United States Central Command, General James Mattis, over the current situation in the Mideast region.

Mattis had been to Ain-el-Tineh accompanied by US ambassador, Maura Connelly.

The Speaker also received Cypriot ambassador, Homer Mavrommattis, with talks featuring high on bilateral ties.

He later met with Director General of the Ministry of Culture, Omar Halablab.


R.A.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - (updated) Ban Ki Moon arrives in Beirut
 

Fri 13/01/2012 15:25

NNA - 13/1/2012 - United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon, arrived to Beirut International Airport Friday at 13:45, accompanied by Terry Roed-Larsen and UNIFIL commander, General Alberto Asarta.

The delegation was received by Economy and Trade Minister, Nicolas Nahas, representing Premier Najib Mikati, acting Secretary General of the Foreign Affairs and Expatriates Ministry, Ambassador Wafic Rhaimi, and other ranking dignitaries.

The UN Secretary General is expected to meet, during his official visit to Lebanon, with Lebanese higher officials to discuss topics directly related to Lebanon's internal affairs, with particular focus on the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL).

Ban is scheduled to participate in the conference on "Democracy in the Arab World" to be held tomorrow, Sunday, at Phoenicia Hotel.

The UN Secretary General left Beirut International Airport without making any comment. It is to note that he will be heading to Baabda palace this afternoon to hold a meeting with President Michel Sleiman.
D.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved

 


 

Politics - Mikati, U.S. commander meet
 

Fri 13/01/2012 14:19

NNA - 13/1/2012 Premier Najib Mikati Friday received U.S. Central Command Commander General James Mattis in presence of U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon Maura Connelly.

Also, the Lebanese Premier convened at the Grand Serail today with Health Minister Ali Hassan Khalil.
Both men tackled the health covering plan for Lebanese not subscribed to the SSF.

Also, Mikati met respectively with Defense Minister Fayez Ghosn and LCB Governor Riyad Salemeh.


L.W.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Ban Ki Moon arrives in Beirut
 

Fri 13/01/2012 14:05

NNA - 13/1/2012 - United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon, arrived to Beirut international airport Friday at 13:45 whereby he was received by the Economy and Trade Minister, Nicolas Nahas, representing Premier Najib Mikati, and the acting Secretary General of the Foreign Affairs Ministry, Ambassador Wafic Rhaimi.
D.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Marouni warns against continued power outage in Zahleh
 

Fri 13/01/2012 12:34

NNA - 13/1/2012 - Member of Parliament Elie Marouni blasted the government for its failure to improve electricity supply to Zahleh and adjacent areas, noting that power outage has increased recently.

The MP made these remarks after receiving delegations from Zahleh and other towns to complain about the deteriorating electricity conditions and increasing theft and robberies.

Marouni said that electricity cuts have almost reached 24 hours a day, wondering about the reasons behind the severe power cuts.

He wondered if the authorities are depriving Zahleh and adjacent areas due to their political choices.

The MP threatened wide protest in the city if the conditions did not improve and to call on citizens not to pay the electricity bills.

He cautioned that the situation in Zahleh has reached the brink as providers of private generators exploit the situation to charge more money on the citizens.

Marouni called on officials to quit their posts if they are unable to perform their duties.

He also urged the security forces to apprehend the culprits who carried out a series of attacks and robberies on a number of Catholic and Greek Orthodox churches.

O.H

NNA 2012 All rights reserved
















 

Politics - Kaderi: Cabinet will face new defeat
 

Fri 13/01/2012 11:36

NNA - 13/1/2012 - Deputy Ziad Kaderi stressed that the cabinet faces a big political defeat concerning funding international tribunal.

"Cabinet was forced to agree on funding STL and will take another new political defeat in the issue of the renewal of its protocol", the MP stressed in a political seminar in Beirut.

The MP stressed that the renewal of STL protocol probing the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri would eventually take place.

Kaderi stressed that the decision to renew STL protocol is in the hand of U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and U.N. after consultations with the Lebanese state which is not legally obligatory, adding that consultations conducted by Ki-moon is about extending the term of STL and not about the principle of extension.

The MP pointed out that the cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Najib Mikati is heading against the Arab Spring, considering that "Mikati's cabinet was formed to achieve three goals": To bring back the Syrian tutelage to Lebanon, to impede justice course and to cover and protect Hizbullah's weapons.

The MP described the late speeches of President Bashar Assad as "defiant and escape to the front", expressing his fears of Syrian repercussions on the Lebanese scene amid the existence of a cabinet which is ready to serve the Syrian regime.

Kaderi emphasized that "there will be no state in Lebanon amid illegal weapons which distort our democratic regime and weaken the state's credibility", pointing out that Lebanon cannot emerge in presence of two powers and armies.

A.A.M

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - N.Nahhas: Salaries adjustment issue took legal path
 

Fri 13/01/2012 11:23

NNA - 13/1/2012 - Economy and Trade Minister Nicolas Nahhas Friday noted that things have gone done down their legal path concerning salaries' issue.

The Minister told Voice of Lebanon - Freedom and dignity- radio that the index committee is the right place to exchange views over this matter.

Also Nahhas asserted that government does not interfere unless concerned parties were at conflict.

"GLC and economic bodies have an agreement on salaries issue and they are the sole representatives under the labor law," he remarked.

L.W.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Harb: Government must assert commitment to UN resolutions
 

Fri 13/01/2012 10:13

NNA - 13/1/2012 - Member of Parliament Boutros Harb told Voice of Lebanon that the Lebanese government must reassert to U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon its commitment to all United Nations resolutions pertaining to Lebanon.

"The visit of Ki-moon to Lebanon is part of a tour by U.N. official to all the countries that are concerned with the Security Council resolutions. It is only natural that Ki-moon pays a visit to Lebanon especially since the UNIFIL forces are coming under attacks and resolution 1701 is constantly violated," Harb said.

He stressed that the Lebanese state should reiterate its commitment to U.N. resolutions and to the Special Tribunal for Lebanon.

Harb reminded that Ki-moon will raise with Lebanese officials during the visit the renewal of the protocol with the international tribunal which expire end of this month.

The MP added that the President of the Republic, Speaker of the Parliament and Prime Minister are likely to renew during their meeting with Ki-moon Lebanon's commitment to the tribunal and all U.N. resolutions.

O.H

NNA 2012 All rights reserved











 

Politics - Geagea heads to Kurdistan-Arbil
 

Thu 12/01/2012 21:20

NNA - 12/1/2012 Lebanese Forces Head Samir Geagea left Beirut on Thursday heading to Arbil in Iraq, at the official invitation of Kurdistan Province Head.
Geagea, heading a delegation of the Party, will meet with the Province's senior officials, a statement by Geagea Media Bureau said.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Rahi meets with Bkirki-Hezbollah Dialogue Follow up Committee
 

Thu 12/01/2012 21:06

NNA - 12/1/2012 Maronite Patriarch Mar Bechara Boutros Rahi met on Thursday evening at Bkirki with the Committee in charge of following up dialogue between Bkirki and Hezbollah, in the framework of renewed dialogue between them.
Patriarch Rahi opened up the session by outlining the main frames of this dialogue, underlining the importance of the launching of dialogue among all the Lebanese based on spiritual and national principles.
The Committee is comprised of Bishop Samir Mazloum, Hareth Chehab, Ghaleb Abu Zaynab and Mustapha Hajj Ali.
--------------L.Y

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Gemayel: We have no interest in delving into internal Syrian incidents
 

Thu 12/01/2012 20:35

NNA - 12/1/2012 Kataeb Party Head Amine Gemayel said that Lebanon has no interest in delving into what is currently taking place in Syria, and does not want to transfer the Syrian crisis into the internal Lebanese scene.
Former President Gemayel was speaking in an interview with "Hurra" TV Station, distributed by his Media Bureau.
Gemayel indicated that the Lebanese and Syrian peoples always maintain permanent communication amongst each other, in line with history and geography. "It is due time for the Syrian people to revolt for democracy and freedom", he said, stressing that Syrian peoples' aspirations and the truth should triumph at the end.
In reply to a question about recent rockets' firing in the South and mobile security incidents in the interior, Gemayel said that sovereignty remains incomplete if arms are not exclusively restrained in the hands of the Lebanese Army and security forces.
"Any reform cannot be realized if arms continue to spread on the entire Lebanese soil and the Army remains incompetent of entering specific zones", Gemayel noted.
-------------L.Y

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Lebanese-French ties on top of Aoun-Marsaud talks
 

Thu 12/01/2012 19:21

NNA - 12/1/2012 - Head of the Change and Reform parliamentary bloc, MP Michel Aoun, on Thursday met with the French candidate to elections, Alain Marsaud, over bilateral Lebanese-French ties.

Speaking to reporters following the meeting in Aoun's residence in Rabieh, Marsaud said this visit came in the framework of his tour on Lebanon's officials.

Afterwards, Aoun met with a delegation of the Lebanese League of Greek Orthodox, headed by Nicolas Gholam, over the project law on legislative elections.


R.A.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Sehnawi speaks of Internet service, ministry's activities
 

Thu 12/01/2012 19:16

NNA - 12/1/2012 - Minister of Telecommunications, Nicolas Sehnawi, on Thursday announced that new internet subscriptions are possible as of next week, following his visit today to Beirut Maronite Archbishop, Mgr. Boulos Matar.

Sehnawi, who briefed the Archbishop on his ministry's realizations and social activities, also avowed that he kept all his promises which he made to the Lebanese.

"80 to 90% of internet subscribers noted the improvement of connections thanks to 3G service. Those not benefiting from this service are in regions lacking optical fiber," he said.

He also added that talks were still underway with Mtc and Alfa, with a view to renewing their contracts.

"Satisfying citizens is our major concern but, no matter what we do, the other camp will keep picking holes," he concluded.


R.A.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Roknabadi reviews developments with Wahhab, Wakim
 

Thu 12/01/2012 18:11

NNA - 12/1/2012 - Iranian ambassador to Lebanon, Ghazanfar Roknabadi, on Thursday met with Head of Tawhid Party, Wiam Wahhab, over most recent developments in the Mideast region.

A closing statement by the embassy echoed Wahhab's stern condemnation of Professor Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan's assassination in Tehran yesterday, chiding Israel with the atrocious killing.

The former Minister did not fail to hold in high esteem Iran's position supporting Syria in facing enemy schemes.

For his part, Roknabadi noted that the progress which Iran made in various scientific fields indeed thwarted the enemies' conspiracies, something that lead "despaired" Israel to murder one of Iran's eminent nuclear technology specialists.

"These attempts would not affect Iran's determination and keenness to carry on its technologic and scientific programs," the diplomat avowed.

Roknabadi later met with Head of the Popular Movement, former Deputy Najah Wakim, who rekindled his siding with both Iran and Syria against the Zionist enemy.



R.A.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Hajjar: some want to tie local condition to Syria's
 

Thu 12/01/2012 17:38

NNA - 12/01/2012 - Deputy Mohammad Hajjar warned that some Lebanese want to accentuate local tension and tie the situation in Lebanon to the turmoil running throughout Syria.

Hajjar's warning came on Thursday in an interview on Future News TV. Hajjar urged the present government to solve the matter in this concern and withdraw weapons not only from Beirut but from the whole country.

Turning to the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, Hajjar said renewing STL's protocol in Lebanon was a decision to be taken by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon.

He reminded that the UN Security Council Resolution 1757 was clear in this concern, assuring that the renewal would occur.
A.M./R.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - (UPDATED) Berri, Mikati tackle recent developments
 

Thu 12/01/2012 17:20

NNA - 12/1/2012 House Speaker Nabih Berri Thursday tackled most recent developments as well as pending dossiers during his meeting at Ain-El-Tineh with Premier Najib Mikati.

Berri had also met with Russian Ambassador Alexander Zasypkin with talks featuring high on regional developments and bilateral ties.

Syrian-Lebanese Higher Council Secretary General Nasri Khoury visited Berri today and tackled with him ongoing developments in Syria.

Besides, Berri received a delegation of the Constitutional Council headed by Issam Sleiman.

Minister of Social Affairs, Wael Abu Faour, had also been to Ain-El-Tineh today for a meeting with the Speaker over talks held yesterday between PSP and Hezbollah.

Abu Faour told reporters that yesterdays' two-pronged meeting was to bolster relations between both parties, maintaining that Speaker Berri had always played a key and foremost role on that level.

The Minister also explained that the ultimate priority for political forces was to protect internal stability.

"Political quandary never ended in the country (...) but the current dicey situation necessitates that we return to dialogue," he said.

L.W.-R.A.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Ghayyad denies meeting between Rahi, Hizbullah
 

Thu 12/01/2012 17:18

NNA - 12/01/2012 - Bkerki Patriarchate media senior Walid Ghayyad denied on Thursday that any meeting happened between Maronite Patriarch Bechara Rahi and Hizbullah.

Ghayyad's denial came in the context of his talk with NNA.

Ghayyad assured that a regular meeting would occur between the two today, away from any media coverage.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Sinora, Zasypkin meet
 

Thu 12/01/2012 17:13

NNA - 12/1/2012 - Head of Future parliamentary bloc, MP Fouad Siniora, on Thursday met with Russian ambassador, Alexandre Zasypkin, over the current general situation in Lebanon and the broader Arab region.

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


R.A.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Mikati meets with EU Ambassadors, Eichhorst lauds Lebanon's choice of stability
 

Thu 12/01/2012 16:11

NNA - 12/1/2012 - The European Union is pleased to note that the Government of Lebanon, with Prime Minister Mikati at the helm, has chosen the path of stability, independence and sovereignty, Angelina Eichhorst, head of the European Union delegation said following a visit to Prime Minister Najib Mikati on Thursday.

The meeting, which took place in both an open and amicable atmosphere reportedly witnessed an exchange of viewpoints aimed at developing a shared vision for the relations between the EU and Lebanon in 2012.
"We encourage Lebanon's leaders to continue in this vein. In this regard, we express our trust that Lebanon will continue to honor its international obligations in 2012 as derived from UN Security Council Resolutions including with respect to UNIFIL and continued cooperation with the Special Tribunal for Lebanon," she told reporters.

Moreover, Eichhorst said that timely elaboration of a new EU-Lebanon Action Plan could greatly serve to enhance and focus joint efforts on priorities of mutual interest.

"I am pleased to report the combined assistance of the EU and its Member States, which is currently ongoing, amounts to 1 billion Euros. This figure underlines that the EU is a consistent and reliable partner, committed to reforms, in order to tangibly improve the livelihoods of people in Lebanon."

Echhorist went on to consider achievements in these areas, together with a determination to press ahead with much needed political, economic and social reforms, provided a fertile ground for Lebanon to continue to prosper and grow - allowing it to deepen democratic roots and promote a flourishing economy.

"In this regard, we discussed with the Prime Minister several priority areas. Specifically, we highlighted electoral reform, reforms to the security sector and of border management, improving the investment climate including fight against corruption and WTO accession, enhancing the protection of citizens, foreigners, displaced and refugees, and improvements to political and economic governance including public finance management," she said.

In 2011, the EU has committed funds to the value of over 56 million Euros. These funds were allocated to concrete programs to advance 'deep democracy' in Lebanon through: support to human rights, democracy, elections, to local authorities, administrative reform and security sector reform.

"In terms of enhancing Lebanon's economic climate and productivity, the EU has also substantially committed to support its agriculture and rural development as well as the sectors of energy, water and transport infrastructure," Eichhorst, noting that EU Member States were engaged on various levels in bilateral support to Lebanon.

"Our collective priority remains Lebanon's continued stability and prosperity in 2012 and beyond."
R.H.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Erslan: International war against Syria is gradually relapsing
 

Thu 12/01/2012 15:35

NNA - 12/1/2012 - Lebanese Democratic Party Head, Deputy Talal Erslan, who had lately returned in Beirut back from Damascus, confirmed that the international war against Syria has started to regress progressively.

The Deputy said resorting to terrorism was nothing but "intelligence Bankruptcy" helpless against the steadfastness of the Syrian people who clung to its Arabism and resistance.

He affirmed that the Syrian leader Bashar Al-Assad strongly committed to his national constants, refusing any sort of change that tampered with Syria's role, history or identity.

On a different note, Erslan called on the Lebanese Democratic Party's supporters to double their efforts so as to prove furthermore the strong presence of said party at the political level.
D.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved






 

Politics - Charbel fears Syria's turmoil affects Lebanese condition
 

Thu 12/01/2012 15:20

NNA - 12/01/2012 - Interior and Municipalities Minister Marwan Charbel expressed fears that disorder running throughout Syria might affect the security situation in Lebanon, due to the serious division among local politicians.

Charbel's note of fear was made Wednesday evening on NBN via a political talk show program.

However, Charbel assured the security topic occupied a top priority among his ministry's concerns, and that efforts have much been exerted to disassociate Lebanon from the current Syrian situation. He voiced support for sending the Lebanese Army to Lebanon's borders with Syria and for the demarcation of Lebanese Syrian borders in coordination with the Syrian side.

Charbel also favored the proportionality law of parliamentarian elections, as such law, according to him, would provide a boost to democracy and put terms to confessionalism.
A.M.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved







 

Politics - Kabbani tackles Lebanese expatriates' conditions with WLCU delegation
 

Thu 12/01/2012 15:04

NNA - 12/1/2012 - Mufti of the Republic, Sheikh Muhammad Rashid Kabbani, received Thursday a delegation of the World Lebanese Cultural Union (WLCU) presided by the Union's head, Massaad Al-Hajal, with talks featuring high on the conditions of the Lebanese expatriates all over the world.

The delegation informed Kabbani of the WLCU project which strengthens the link between the Lebanese residents and expatriates.

"The project is huge and we will bear full responsibility so as to rise to the level of our culture and society," he declared.

Also, Mufti kabbani met with delegations of Ras Al-Nabeh, Akkar, and Tripoli with talks touching on developmental affairs.
D.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved
 







 

Politics - Berri, Mikati tackle recent developments
 

Thu 12/01/2012 15:00

NNA - 12/1/2012 House Speaker Nabih Berri Thursday tackled most recent developments as well as pending dossiers during his meeting at Ain-El-Tineh with Premier Najib Mikati.

Berri had also met with Russian Ambassador Alexander Zasypkin with talks featuring high on regional developments and bilateral ties.

Syrian-Lebanese Higher Council Secretary General Nasri Khoury visited Berri today and tackled with him ongoing developments in Syria.

Besides, Berri received a delegation of the Constitutional Council headed by Issam Sleiman.

L.W.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Houry: Assad, Nasrallah speeches bear similar purposes
 

Thu 12/01/2012 14:49

NNA - 12/1/2012 MP Ammar Houry Thursday said that President Bashar Assad's appearance in Damascus was similar to those of Hezbollah's Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, for both bore a revival effect by which leaders adopted to raise supporters' spirits.

The Future bloc member told LBCI channel that the solution to Syria's unrest lies in democracy and diversity.
"We, the Future movement, are against bloodshed all over the world," he remarked.

Also, the MP affirmed that Future movement did not wager on a time period for the Syrian regime to collapse.

Pertaining to the dinner banquet that MP Walid Jumblatt had held in presence of Hezbollah members, Houry said this was no surprise at all for there was no clash between PSP and Hezbollah.

"Jumblatt handles the Syrian situation in a way different from that of Lebanese internal affairs," he remarked.


L.W.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved












 

Politics - Sleiman notified of preparations for Ban's visit by Sallam
 

Thu 12/01/2012 14:30

NNA - 12/01/2012 - Lebanese President General Michel Suleiman was notified on Thursday by Lebanon's UN Commission head Nawaf Sallam of the final preparations made for UN Secretary General Ban-Ki-Moon's tomorrow visit to Lebanon.

Suleiman praised Sallam's efforts in exhibiting Lebanon's stance towards a number of pending items scheduled to be studied at the Security Council.

Separately, Suleiman received at Baabda Palace Public Health Minister Hassan Khalil and discussed with him ministerial affairs.

Afterwards, Suleiman tackled with Former Minister Jean Obeid recent developments at the local and regional scenes.

Among Baabda's visitors, head of the National Dialogue Party Fouad Makhzoumi and a sportive delegation headed by Malih Oleiwan.

A.M/N.AF

NNA 2012 All rights reserved









 

Politics - Geagea from NDU: Sovereign state establishment ultimate project for Lebanon
 

Thu 12/01/2012 14:26

NNA - 12/1/2012 - Lebanese Forces Head, Samir Geagea, on Thursday expressed his vision of an ultimate project for Lebanon saying it is the establishment of a real state, during a visit to Notre Dame University (NDU) campus, Louaize.

The LF leader said no improvement could be achieved unless the borders were irrefutably controlled.

"Laws and sovereignty are not a joke. For the Lebanese to sense true citizenship, they should be living in a country which respects its sovereignty," Geagea argued.

"We cannot establish a firm state unless the strategic decisions were in the hands of the state itself," he said in his statement, reminding that the Army is now much stronger than any militia in Lebanon.

Geagea hereby noted that the economic wheel cannot work properly amid the presence of statelets within the state.
D.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved
 










 

Politics - Fafat says Assad's speech an embarrassment to his allies
 

Thu 12/01/2012 14:15
NNA - 12/01/2011 - Future bloc MP Ahmad Fatfat on Thursday described Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad's speech as a "lapse" which only turned out to embarrass his allies, with Russia atop.

"Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad's yesterday speech reminded us of those previously delivered by late Libyan President Muammar Gaddafi," Fatfat told "NBN" TV, sneering at Assad's attempts to outsmart security developments.

Albeit, Fatfat anticipated some painstaking security action by Assad's rule in Homos within the coming few hours or days. "So that his audience will witness a tangible translation to his commitment," he said.

But this would lead to a major security setback at the security level inside Syria, Fatat predicted.
R.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved





 

Politics - (UPDATED)Mikati praises ISF's new conduct code, vigorous action
 

Thu 12/01/2012 13:44

NNA - 12/01/2012 - The Lebanese Security Forces have proven thus far to be highly active and robust, Prime Minister Najib Mikati said on Thursday in a word he delivered at the launching ceremony of the ISF's newly introduced book of conduct at the Grand Serail.

The little blue book, which is now required reading for all ISF members, explains the obligations and ethical standards to be followed by all policemen. Written in English and Arabic, it includes subject headings such as professional duty, honesty and integrity, impartiality and discipline.

"Lebanese Security Forces, namely the Internal Security Forces, have proven to be highly active at the national protection level, without being prejudice to any region over the other," the Prime Minister said.

"This security force, along with other security apparatuses, now represent a true safety network for all Lebanon," he added.

Touching on the simmering political scene, Mikati highlighted the importance of augmenting political stability, so as to become a safety bridge and a route towards permanent political stability.

"This is only to be achieved by means of political dialogue which also serves as an umbrella safeguarding civil peace."

Mikati called for bolstering cooperation between security forces without wagering for the interest of this or that side. "We are not running a competition between security apparatuses," he said.

Furthermore, the Prime Minister said security forces should be up to the Lebanese people's trust and expectations "by ensuring a state of comfort and stability, the key for economic development, more investments, and sustained growth."

In turn, Interior and Municipalities Minister Marwan Charbel called on the Lebanese citizens to demonstrate faithful commitment to the newly launched book of conduct, and as such facilitate the task of security forces implementing it.

"This will attain justice and heightens people's trust in security apparatuses, on the lead to a more secure and stable society," Charbel said.

For his part, Internal Security Forces Major General, Ashraf Rifi, said that the new code of conduct was a translation to the ISF's vision of preserving security. "

"This document carries our vision and message to preserve security, protect rights, combat crime, implement the law, and respect human rights," Rifi added, making clear that the ISF's new code of conduct also prohibited the exploitation of authority and human dignity. It also bans the leakage of confidential information.

"We hope this document paves the way for a better relation and firmer cooperation between the security forces and citizens, all based on sovereign law and respect of liberties," Rifi added.
R.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved
































 

Politics - (UPDATED)Mikati praises ISF's new conduct code, vigorous action
 

Thu 12/01/2012 13:43

NNA - 12/01/2012 - The Lebanese Security Forces have proven thus far to be highly active and robust, Prime Minister Najib Mikati said on Thursday in a word he delivered at the launching ceremony of the ISF's newly introduced book of conduct at the Grand Serail.

The little blue book, which is now required reading for all ISF members, explains the obligations and ethical standards to be followed by all policemen. Written in English and Arabic, it includes subject headings such as professional duty, honesty and integrity, impartiality and discipline.

"Lebanese Security Forces, namely the Internal Security Forces, have proven to be highly active at the national protection level, without being prejudice to any region over the other," the Prime Minister said.

"This security force, along with other security apparatuses, now represent a true safety network for all Lebanon," he added.

Touching on the simmering political scene, Mikati highlighted the importance of augmenting political stability, so as to become a safety bridge and a route towards permanent political stability.

"This is only to be achieved by means of political dialogue which also serves as an umbrella safeguarding civil peace."

Mikati called for bolstering cooperation between security forces without wagering for the interest of this or that side. "We are not running a competition between security apparatuses," he said.

Furthermore, the Prime Minister said security forces should be up to the Lebanese people's trust and expectations "by ensuring a state of comfort and stability, the key for economic development, more investments, and sustained growth."

In turn, Interior and Municipalities Minister Marwan Charbel called on the Lebanese citizens to demonstrate faithful commitment to the newly launched book of conduct, and as such facilitate the task of security forces implementing it.

"This will attain justice and heightens people's trust in security apparatuses, on the lead to a more secure and stable society," Charbel said.

For his part, Internal Security Forces Major General, Ashraf Rifi, said that the new code of conduct was a translation to the ISF's vision of preserving security. "

"This document carries our vision and message to preserve security, protect rights, combat crime, implement the law, and respect human rights," Rifi added, making clear that the ISF's new code of conduct also prohibited the exploitation of authority and human dignity. It bans the leakage of confidential information.

"We hope this document paves the way for a better relation and firmer cooperation between the security forces and citizens, all based on sovereign law and respect of liberties," Rifi added.
R.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


































 

Politics - Strida, Keyrouz meet Kuwait's Ambassador over Bcharre water project
 

Thu 12/01/2012 12:50

NNA - 12/1/2012 - Lebanese Forces MPs, Strida Geagea and Elie Keyrouz, on Thursday met with the Kuwaiti Ambassador to Lebanon, Abdul Al-Kunai over the second phase of Jibbit Bcharre large-scale water project, financed by the Kuwaiti fund.

"Kunai promised to ensure all requirements deemed necessary to implement the second phase of the project" a LF statement read.
R.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Mikati praises ISF's new conduct code, vigorous action
 

Thu 12/01/2012 12:25

NNA - 12/01/2012 - The Lebanese Security Forces have proven thus far to be highly active and robust, Prime Minister Najib Mikati said on Thursday in a word he delivered at the launching ceremony of the ISF's newly introduced book of conduct.

The little blue book, which is now required reading for all ISF members, explains the obligations and ethical standards to be followed by all policemen. Written in English and Arabic, it includes subject headings such as professional duty, honesty and integrity, impartiality and discipline.

"Lebanese Security Forces, namely the Internal Security Forces, have proven to be highly active at the national protection level, without being prejudice to any region over the other," the Prime Minister said.

"This security force, along with other security apparatuses, now represent a true safety network for all Lebanon," he added.

Touching on the simmering political scene, Mikati highlighted the importance of augmenting political stability, so as to become a safety bridge and a route towards permanent political stability.

"This is only to be achieved by means of political dialogue which also serves as an umbrella safeguarding civil peace."

Mikati called for bolstering cooperation between security forces without wagering for the interest of this or that side. "We are not running a competition between security apparatuses," he said.

Furthermore, the Prime Minister said security forces should be up to the Lebanese people's trust and expectations "by ensuring a state of comfort and stability, the key for economic development, more investments, and sustained growth."
R.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved

 

 





 

 

 

 

 

 


Politics - Wehbe criticizes Assad's speech, public appearance
 

Thu 12/01/2012 11:51

NNA - 12/1/2012 - MP Amine Wehbe Thursday said Syrian President Bashar Assad's speech and public appearance brought to our minds the image of all Arab tyrants the people overthrew lately.

Wehbe said Syrian President's speech was condensed in a resolve to kill, to carry on bloodshed, and confront the people's ambitions.

MP also told Al-Sharek radio that Israeli stance on Syrian unrest proves the latters desire to divide Syria into sectarian segments.

On the topic of Hezbollah's campaign against Ban Ki Moon's visit to Lebanon, Wehbe said such a campaign promotes nothing but hostility to legitimacy whether it was Lebanese, Arabic, or International.

Also, MP Wehbe said debate on salay hike is an evidence of the government's failure to coordinate an agreement between economic bodies and GLC.
L.W.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Aridi: PSP-Hezbollah communication constant
 

Thu 12/01/2012 11:45

NNA - 12/1/2012 - Public Works and Transportation Minister, Ghazi Aridi, on Thursday denied all rumors on the tension prevailing over the relation between Progressive Socialist Party (PSP) and Hezbollah.

"Channels of communication are constantly open between the two sides," he affirmed in his talk show with Tele Liban.

The Minister confirmed that stability is imperative at the darkest circumstances of the current stage.

"The two parties agree on several primary and strategic issues. In each of their meetings, they discuss means to face the Israeli enemy, on top of which the resistance and Lebanon's commitment to the implementation of 1701," he concluded.
D.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Majdalani:Cabinet does not have decision to renew STL protocol
 

Thu 12/01/2012 10:55

NNA - 12/1/2012 - Deputy Atef Majdalani stressed that the cabinet is not the one which decides in the renewal of STL protocol, adding that it is good to show positive opinion.

The MP said that the Lebanese cabinet's role in the decision of renewing tribunal's protocol probing the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri has only an advisory capacity.

"We will be the first to defend the continuation of STL in order to reach justice and stop the series of assassinations which lasted for three decades", the MP told "Voice of Lebanon" radio on Thursday.

On the other hand, Majdalani said that some political forces expressed fears over the withdrawal of "UNIFIL" troops operating in south Lebanon due to the repeated attacks against them.

"These fears will be raised in U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki moon's discussions with the opposition", Majdalani pointed out.

"UNIFIL plays an important role in protecting security in the south of Lebanon", the MP stressed.

A.A.M

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Aridi: contacts continue between PSP and Hezbollah
 

Thu 12/01/2012 10:53

NNA - 12/1/2012 - Public Works and Transportation Minister Ghazi Aridi denied media rumors that relations between the Socialist Progressive Party (PSP) and Hezbollah has been severed due differences over regional issues.

"There is no tension between the two sides and contacts did not stop," the minister told Tele Liban.

He stressed that the contacts between the PSP and Hezbollah are done on a weekly basis on political levels, pointing to yesterday's dinner at his residence which brought together senior officials from both sides.

"We have discussed in depth all Lebanese and regional matters as well as the situation of the government. We asserted the need to cement stability in the country amid difficult conditions in the region. We also asserted the strong ties between both parties," Aridi said.

He added that both sides had identical views on a number of issues pertaining to Lebanon and the government, reiterating that efforts should be focused to confront Israel with the help of the resistance.

But the minister suggested that there were some differences on certain regional issues between both sides.

O.H

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - De Freij: Salaries' dossier should be tackled at Cabinet
 

Thu 12/01/2012 10:33

NNA - 12/1/2012 - MP Nabil De Freij Thursday asserted the need to have salaries' dossier be transferred to the Cabinet so it would be discussed there.

De Freij told Voice of Lebanon -Freedom and Dignity- radio that Minister Nahhas was working alone as if the whole issue was solely up to him.

He said Nahhas did not agree with economic bodies nor did he tackle the issue with GLC.

"It has become obvious that Nahhas's statements were being used to undermine late Rafic Hariri's policies," MP said.

L.W.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Nicolas Nahhas: Discussions on wages back to square one
 

Thu 12/01/2012 10:11

NNA - 12/1/2012 - Economy Minister Nicolas Nahhas stressed that discussions concerning wage issue is back to square one.

Nahhas ruled out that the Price Index Committee would reach a final decision today (Thursday) concerning wage increase issue, despite all efforts exerted by the concerned sides in order to reach a consensual formula.

"Shura Council scrapped Labor Minister Charbel Nahhas plan", the minister stressed on Thursday to "Voice of Lebanon" radio, hoping that Labor Minister would attach to his basic and constitutional role and sponsor dialogue between the productive sectors without attaching to political affiliations or positions.

"GLC owns the legal capacity to represent labors in Lebanon", the minister stressed.

A.A.M

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Zahraman: Assad steering crisis towards internationalization
 

Thu 12/01/2012 09:47

NNA - 12/1/2012 - "Future" bloc member MP Khaled Zahraman pointed out that Syrian President Bashar Assad is taking the crisis towards internationalization.

The MP stressed that Assad's speech was defiant, adding that "he does not care to the opinions of others as if he means I have my allies and I don't care for anything".

Zahraman told "Free Lebanon" radio that Assad's allies would abandon him if he remained arrogant.

The MP said that the conspiracy is from the regime on Syria, stressing the collapse of the regime "but this requires some time".

Commenting on the visit of U.N. Secretary General Bani Ki- moon to Lebanon, the MP said "Hizbullah is incapable of influencing STL or impeding Ban's visit".

A.A.M

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Mikati, Coop committee tackle relevant affairs
 

Wed 11/01/2012 19:35

NNA - 11/1/2012 Prime Minister Najib Mikati met on Wednesday evening at the Grand Serail with a delegation of the Permanent Committee for the Administration of Lebanon's Coop, which has recently been decreed by the Cabinet to carry out coop administration.
On emerging, Committee Head Muhieddine Rashed Doughan stressed that the Committee shall spare no effort in safeguarding all rights of Coop shareholders and depositors. He disclosed that the Committee shall put forward a proposal designed to amend Law 109 designed to separate the issue of depositors and shareholders from indebtors and banks.
"This constitutes the core of our [committee] mission", Muhieddine said, in the hope that all rights of depositors will be restored to them.
--------------L.Y

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Politics - Gemayel contacts Al-Azhar's Tayeb, heaps praise on Bill of Rights
 

Wed 11/01/2012 19:15

NNA - 11/01/2012 - Al- Azhar's Bill of Rights is a new Arab and Islamic rapprochement that is tailored to serve human rights, Kataeb Party Leader Amine Gemayel told Al-Azhar's Ahmed el-Tayeb in phone call on Wednesday.

Exceptionally fond of the new Bill of Rights, put forward by Al-Azhar's head on Tuesday, Gemayel hailed it as "a historical document with all the general principles that ought to be referred to at the level of Arab uprisings and newly established Arab regimes."
Al-Azhar, the chief institute of Islamic learning in the Sunni Muslim world issued this bill ahead of the drafting of Egypt's new constitution.

"This bill comes to respect diversity, religious pluralism, and equality," Gemayel said, adding that it also sounded the alarm over extremism and segregation.

Gemayel's information bureau issued a statement saying Al-Azhar's bill, which was in the works for three months, is a bid by Al-Azhar to affirm its role as the voice of moderate Islam countering the growing political power of more conservative Islamic groups in Egypt.

Al-Azhar's Sheik Ahmed el-Tayeb told reporters the bill of rights, which preserves freedoms of worship, opinion, scientific research and art and creative expression, is drafted to be a basis for the country's new constitution, according to comments published by Egypt's state news agency.
R.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - (UPDATED) Rahi, Aridi meet over developments
 

Wed 11/01/2012 19:08


NNA - 11/1/2012 - Minister of Public Works and Transportation, Ghazi Aridi, had been Wednesday to Bkekri for a meeting with Maronite Patriarch Mar Bechara Boutros Rahi over the current general situation and most recent developments.

Speaking to reporters following the meeting, Minister Aridi heaped praised on Rahi's 'love and communion' motto.

Accordingly, Aridi said communion and partnership were tantamount a major responsibility.

Separately, the Patriarch respectively met with Bishop Boulos Mounjed Hashem, attorney Joseph Abu Sharaf, a panel of priests and bishops, and Head of the Maronite Diaspora Foundation, former minsiter Michel Edde.


R.A.H.

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Politics - Aoun: for Syrian public to be aware to avoid strife
 

Wed 11/01/2012 19:05

NNA - 11/01/2012 - Reform and Change Bloc Head Michel Aoun said that the Syrian public had to be fully alert to oppose any sort of strife planned for their country.

General Aoun's words came on Wednesday in the wake of his meeting with a delegation of Tartous Attorneys (from Syria).

Aoun said that the reform course in Syria must go on gradually in order to avoid any chaos in transformation.

The General reminded that many attempts were made to flare up warfare in Lebanon but all such attempts were foiled in 2006 when Hizbullah defeated Israel and in 2007 when the Lebanese Army defeated the terrorist group in Nahr Bared.
A.M>

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Politics - Hajj Hassan underlines forests' protection
 

Wed 11/01/2012 18:56


NNA - 11/1/2012 Agriculture Minister Hussein Hajj Hassan underlined the importance of forests' protection in Lebanon, saying forests' breaches constitute the key factor in their loss.
Minister Hajj Hassan met on Wednesday at his ministerial office with his Spanish Catalonia Province counterpart Josep Maria Blegri Aksot, where they signed an agreement of cooperation in the field of forests between the Ministry, Christian Youth Association and Catalonia Forests Institute.
Both sides underscored the importance of bolstering cooperation in numerous fields notably agriculture, forests' preservation and encouraging technical and trade exchange in this regards.
"The speed by which we are losing green areas greatly exceeds that of reforestation attempts", the Minister noted, disclosing that efforts by the Lebanese State and all concerned sides in this regards are insufficient to return the balance to increasing green areas.
Aksot, for his part, voiced Catalonia's readiness for further cooperation with Lebanon in the field of forests resources, saying the Spanish Embassy shall recommend ideas to be implemented in a permanent manner.
---------------L.Y

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Politics - Sleiman meets with former ministers, Deputies
 

Wed 11/01/2012 18:54


NNA - 11/1/2012 - President of the Republic, Michel Sleiman, on Wednesday met with former ministers Abdullah Farhat and Youssef Salameh, as well as with former Deputies Gebran Tawq, Marwan Abu Fadel, Adnan Traboulsi, and Nader Sukkar.

The meeting, held in Baabda presidential palace, featured high on most recent political developments on the local domestic scene.


R.A.H.

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Miscellaneous - ICRC, Palestine Red Crescent Society inaugurate emergency health center in Nahr El-Bared
 

Wed 11/01/2012 15:32

NNA - 11/1/2012 - International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the Palestine Red Crescent Society today inaugurated an emergency and community health centre in the Palestinian camp of Nahr el Bared in northern Lebanon. The ICRC had pledged to build the centre to improve access to health-care services for people in the camp after a Palestine Red Crescent clinic was destroyed there during the conflict in 2007.

"Handing over this clinic to the Palestine Red Crescent symbolises what the ICRC stands for as well as what true cooperation for a humanitarian cause can and should achieve", said Jurg Montani, Head of the ICRC delegation in Lebanon. "As a member of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, it was natural that the ICRC helps the PRCS provide health care services to the Palestinian population. We trust that this centre will go some way to improve the health care services available in Nahr el Bared."

The inauguration ceremony took place in the presence of Palestine Red Crescent Society President Dr Younis al Khatib and of Mr Montani. The ceremony was also attended by the consul of the Palestinian embassy Mahmoud AL-Assadi and UNRWA's director in Lebanon Salvadore Lombardo in addition to representatives from the Lebanese Army and Palestinian factions.

The 550-square meters facility, which took 14 months to build, will be capable of providing outpatient services for dozens of patients every day. It can accommodate a theatre for minor surgeries, a laboratory and an x-ray room in addition to four in-patient beds. One section of the structure is available for use as a library, a playroom or offices.

The ICRC performed a number of humanitarian tasks in Nahr el Bared during the 2007 conflict and after hostilities ended in August of that year. In particular, it upgraded the camp's primary water distribution network - which was designed to supply water for 30,000 people, - and repaired three water reservoirs, in addition to installing generators in each of the two existing pumping stations.

The ICRC has been working since 1967 in Lebanon, where its main activity consists in providing protection and assistance for civilians adversely affected by armed conflict and other violence.


 

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Politics - Rahi receives Aridi
 

Wed 11/01/2012 18:13

NNA - 11/1/2012 - Minister of Public Works and Transportation, Ghazi Aridi, had been Wednesday to Bkekri for a meeting with Maronite Patriarch Mar Bechara Boutros Rahi over the current general situation in Lebanon and the broader Arab region.

R.A.H.

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Politics - Aoun chairs meeting on Jal el-Dib Bridge
 

Wed 11/01/2012 18:09

NNA - 11/1/2012 - Head of the Change and Reform Bloc, MP Michel Aoun, on Wednesday chaired a meeting on Jal el-Dib bridge issue, at his residence in Rabieh, in presence of the Bloc's Metn Deputies, Minister of Tourism Fadi Abboud, and Deputy Prime Minister Samir Moqbel.

"We met today with General Michel Aoun to brief him on the projects proposed to solve the issue of Jal el-Dib Bridge; he welcomed the proposal, already approved by [concerned] municipalities' heads (...) and we hope that the Council for Development and Reconstruction would finalize the required related studies," Moqbel said in the wake of the meeting.

He added that work should end in a year and half.



R.A.H.

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Politics - Qadiri calls for clear government position from Ban's visit
 

Wed 11/01/2012 18:08


NNA - 1/11/2012 - Member of Parliament Ziad Qadiri on Wednesday called the Mikati-led government to have a clear position vis-a-vis the impending visit of UN Chief Ban Ki-moon to Lebanon Friday.

Speaking to reporters following his meeting with Lebanese Forces leader, Samir Geagea, in Meerab today, Qadiri reiterated the necessity that the government respects its international obligations, namely the implementation of UN resolutions 1559 on militias' weapons, 1680 on borders demarcation with Syria, 1757 on the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, and 1701 on Lebanese southern borders.

"There are thorny issues in Lebanon which require cooperation with the United Nations," he said.



R.A.H.

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Politics - Siniora: Positions by some officials in favor of other countries' interests harm Lebanon
 

Wed 11/01/2012 17:53

NNA - 11/1/2011 "Future" Bloc Head Fouad Siniora considered that positions made by some officials in favor of other countries' interests at the account of Lebanon inflict great damage upon our country.
Former Prime Minister Siniora was speaking during the inaugural ceremony of the new building of "Sidon Vocational Institute for Young Women" held by "Social Services Association" in the city of Sidon.
The new building construction project is funded by a grant from Ziad Ben Sultan Al Nahyan Institution for Humanitarian Deeds and fully equipped by a grant from Walid Ben Talal Humanitarian Institution.
The inaugural ceremony took place at the new building Qiyaa Hall in Sidon, attended by MP Siniora, MP Bahiyya Hariri, Walid Ben Talal Humanitarian Institution Deputy Head Leila Solh, UAE Ambassador Youssef Oseimi, Ziad Ben Sultan Al Nahyan Institution for Humanitarian Deeds Director General Salem Obeid AlZaheri, and Sidon Municipality Head Mohammed Saudi.
"Priority should always be in favor of Lebanon's supreme national interests rather than any other calculation", Siniora stressed, in a way that guarantees and protects Lebanon's interests.
Siniora highlighted Lebanon's democratic system role model based on respect of diversity and human rights, adoption of peaceful means and rotation of authority, liberties and freedom of expression.
---------------L.Y

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Politics - Falha: for safeguarding media freedom under law ceiling
 

Wed 11/01/2012 17:12

NNA - 11/01/2012 - Information Ministry Director General Hassan Falha affirmed his support for a media freedom respecting laws without causing harm to anybody.

Falha's words came on Wednesday in the context of an interview on Lebanon Radio.

The director said that media mirrored what went on the political level, and so, the media figure must never bear the responsibility of the politician's behavior.

Falha called for promoting media laws and regulations so that they would keep pace with technical developments.

A.M.
 

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Politics - Berri calls to settle on wages adjustment as soon as possible
 

Wed 11/01/2012 16:55

NNA - 1/11/2012 - Speaker of the House, Nabih Berri, on Wednesday capitalized the obligation to settle on the long-awaited and much-desired wages adjustment, namely in the light of the agreement between the General Labor Confederation and the Economic Committees.

Berri, who said there should not be any stalling on the matter, reckoned that finalizing this dossier would serve the government's credibility and citizens.

"There are unremitting efforts amid a positive atmosphere to settle on this dossier as soon as possible," Wednesday Deputies quoted the Speaker as saying.

On the fuel dossier, Berri did not fail to highlight the necessity to speed up related work with a view to venturing into exploration activities.

"The faster we move, the closer we are to address the current economic and financial hardship," he said.

Separately, the Speaker met with Deputies Nohad Mashnuq, Atef Majdalani, and Mohammad Qabbani.


R.A.H.

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Politics - Ministers meet for discussing street children phenomenon
 

Wed 11/01/2012 16:41

NNA - 11/01/2011 - A meeting was held on Wednesday, attended by Interior Minister Marwan Charbel, Social Affairs Minister Wael Abu Faour, Justice Minister Shakib Cortbawi, Internal Security Forces senior Ashraf Rifi and others, to discuss the street children phenomenon and try find a solution to it.

Abu Faour assured that a work team has been formed to duly treat such phenomenon.

Cortbawi, for his part, warned of punishments against anyone who abused children.
A.M.

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Politics - Rahi, Geagea meet
 

Wed 11/01/2012 16:01

NNA - 1/11/2012 - Maronite Patriarch Mar Bechara Boutros Rahi, met last night (Tuesday) in Bkerki with Lebanese Forces leader, Samir Geagea.

The pair reportedly engaged in the current general situation and most recent developments.

R.A.H.

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Politics - Fears over Christians not envisaged, says Egyptian diplomat
 

Wed 11/01/2012 15:59

NNA - 1/11/2012 - Egyptian ambassador to Lebanon, Mohammad Tawfiq, on Wednesday uttered that fears over Christians in Egypt were not envisaged and that there were no difference whatsoever between them and Muslims.

The diplomat today visited Beirut Maronite Archbishop Boulos Matr, for a meeting over the current general situation in Lebanon and the broader Arab region.


R.A.H.

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Politics - March 14: Ban's visit tests government's international commitments
 

Wed 11/01/2012 15:53

NNA - 11/01/2012 - March 14 camp said UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon's forthcoming visit to Lebanon would form the yardstick against which to measure the government's commitment to international resolutions.

The camp's stance came on Wednesday in the context of its regular weekly meeting at its headquarters in Ashrafieh, in presence of a number of deputies affiliated with March 14.

The Security Council's resolutions pertaining to the situation in the South, UNIFIL's performance, Lebanese Syrian borders, Special Tribunal for Lebanon and Lebanese Army's deployment across the country, recommended that the present government bear its responsibilities for committing to international resolutions, said March 14.

Turning to Syrian President Bachar Assad's speech yesterday Tuesday, March 14 described the speech as signaling for more bloodshed and violence to come in the country - something that would bring forth more clash between the Syrian regime and the Arab and international communities.
A.M.

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Politics - Kabbani, Hashem tackle local affairs
 

Wed 11/01/2012 15:24

NNA - 11/1/2012 - Mufti of the Republic, Sheikh Muhammad Rashid Kabbani, tackled Wednesday latest developments at both local and regional scenes with parliament member Qassem Hashem. Conferees agreed on the importance of rationalism, wisdom and awareness in dealing with this crucial stage.

Both sides called for straying far from political adventures and outbids over the region's negative developments.

"Dialogue has become a national necessity," Hashem said, assuring that the country's issues cannot be solved through podiums.

The Deputy confirmed that discussions should also bring solutions to the livelihood and economic crisis in Lebanon.

Separately, Kabbani received the head of the Islamic Cultural Center, former Deputy Omar Msayki.

D.K.

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Politics - # State Advisory Council approves raise on salaries' project
 

Wed 11/01/2012 14:41

NNA - 11/1/2012 The State Advisory Council Wednesday approved the raise on salaries' project decree provided that its previous remarks would be taken into account.

L.W.
 

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Politics - Mikati, Connelly discuss major developments
 

Wed 11/01/2012 14:16

NNA - 1/11/2012 Prime Minister Najib Mikati tackled Wednesday the most recent up-to-dates during his meeting at the Grand Serail with U.S. Ambassador Maura Connelly.

Mikati also met with former Minister Bahij Tabbara, a delegation of Gold and Jewelry Syndicate of Lebanon, Jewelry Syndicate of North Lebanon and of Beirut.
The delegation informed Mikati about the prevailing conflict between them and Solidere Company and requested the Premier's assistance to solve the conflict.

Also, Mikati met with Standard & Poor's (S&P) United States-based financial services company.
The company's visit comes under the frame of its members' tour on Lebanese officials to inform about financial and economic Lebanese situation.

The Lebanese Ethics Advisory Committee for Health and Life Sciences also met with Mikati today.


L.W.

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Politics - Sleiman hopes forthcoming phase be efficient
 

Wed 11/01/2012 13:51

NNA - 1/11/2012 Lebanese President Michel Sleiman Wednesday uttered hopes that the upcoming phase would witness efficient productivity and work on both ministerial and administrative levels.

Sleiman also voiced relief before his visitors at Baabda palace today concerning the government's dealing with internal dossiers.

"Adopting a calm and constructive dialogue policy to solve pending quarrels reinforces foreign confidence in Lebanon," he remarked.

The President met respectively today with Deputy Qassem Hashem, and former MP Ghattas Khoury with talks featuring high on most recent developments.

Sleiman also received the General Director of the General Security Abbas Ibrahim, as well as a delegation of the Constitutional Council headed by Issam Sleiman.

L.W.
 

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Politics - Beirut MPs call to fortify weapons withdrawal issue from Beirut
 

Wed 11/01/2012 12:32

NNA - 11/1/2012 - Beirut Deputies urged to fortify weapons withdrawal from central Beirut, adding the necessity to deal with Greater Beirut under the same title.

Qabbani said following the meeting of Beirut MPs on Wednesday noon at the parliament in presence of MPs: Atef Majdalani, Nadim Gemayel, Seirge Torsarkisian, Michel Pharoun, Tamam Salam, Ammar Houry, Jean Ogassapian, Ghazi youssef and Nuhad Mashnouk, MP Mohamad Qabbani said "after visiting Lebanese officials we decided to hold this meeting to evaluate these meetings and to determine the coming steps."

Qabbani stressed the necessity for openness and dialogue with other parties which do not represent Beirut MPs to reach the withdrawal of weapons in all Beirut and Lebanon.

A.A.M

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Politics - Mansour travels to Libya to follow up Sader's case
 

Wed 11/01/2012 11:27

NNA - 11/01/2012 - Foreign Minister Adnan Mansour headed to Libya this morning via Cairo to follow up the disappearance of Imam Mousa Sader and two of his companions.

Mansour, who is accompanied by a high level Lebanese delegation, is expected to hold talks with senior Libyan officials in an attempt to determine the whereabouts of the missing Imam.

"We will discuss with Libyan officials all the information they have on Sader and his colleagues as well as turning a new chapter in the Lebanese-Libyan relations," the minister told reporters at the airport before travelling to Tripoli.

Mansour refused to speculate about the fate of Sader and his two companions but said he will try to uncover the truth behind this disappearance.

He also declined to say if the Lebanese delegation will meet some of the former Libyan officials who are detained by the government in order to find out about the fate of Sader.

Mansour stressed that both Lebanon and Libya intend to open a new chapter and upgrade the diplomatic ties to ambassadorial levels.

O.H

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Politics - Qobeissi hails accomplishment of Litani project measures
 

Wed 11/01/2012 11:12

NNA - 11/1/2012 - MP Hani Qobeissi Wednesday heaped praise on the accomplishment of preparations to launch the Litani river project.

The Litani River Authority has been provided with five automated surface gauging stations and necessary training for their operation and maintenance.

These stations continuously record water levels and water quality parameters of the Litani River and tributaries by so, LRA is able to better inform and guide water managers and constituents to improve use of Litani River resources.

Liberation and development member said during a commemorative ceremony in Deir-El-Zahrani southern town that the Litani project ought to remove the burden of deprivation of farmers and poor society classes.

He urged in that respect the government to fully accomplish oil and gas exploration project as well as salaries adjustmen to bail Lebanon out of its economic crisis.

Pertaining to the Arab uprisings, Qobeissi said internationalizing Arab causes is not the answer but letting concerned countries handle their own affairs is.

"Has the internationalization of the Palestinian cause lead to a solution?" he asked.
L.W.
 

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Politics - Majdalani: Cabinet is formed to serve Syrian regime
 

Wed 11/01/2012 10:47

NNA - 11/1/2012 - "Future" bloc member Deputy Atef Majdalani stressed that the cabinet was formed to serve the Syrian regime, adding that this issue is clear through the statements of Defense Minister Fayez Ghosn on Al-Qaeda.

The MP said that Lebanon would gain more if it refrained from intervening in the Syrian revolution affair.

Majdalani expressed on Wednesday to "Voice of Lebanon-Freedom and Dignity radio sorrow over the support of the Lebanese cabinet to the Syrian regime's inhumane policy.

On the other hand, the MP stressed (that March) "seeks to obtain a political decision to withdraw weapons from Beirut and entire Lebanon".

A.A.M

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Politics - Hajjar: Kanaan is using Finance Committee for slandering political figures
 

Wed 11/01/2012 10:32
NNA - 11/1/2012 - Deputy Mohamad Hajjar said that Deputy Ibrahim Kanaan wanted to use Finance Committee to slander and undermine important figures in the country.

The MP stressed that March 14 boycotted the head of finance committee and not the committee "for using meaningless words".

"When Kanaan refused to change his language we took this position", the MP told "Voice of Lebanon" radio Wednesday.

Responding to a question concerning the budget issue, the MP said "there is no budget in the country although the cabinet has been in power since last June", pointing out to the disagreement on the political fund and STL issue.

A.A.M
 

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Politics - Future Bloc: Assad's speech void of liberty, justice principles
 

Tue 10/01/2012 20:31

NNA - 10/01/2012 - The Future Bloc said Syrian President Bachar Assad's today speech was void of any reference to the patriotic principles of justice, liberty, dignity or authority rotation that had already been capitalized by the Syrian revolution activists.

The Future's stance came on Tuesday by Deputy Assem Araji in the wake of its regular monthly meeting, under the chairmanship of former Prime Minister Fouad Siniora, at the Central House in Beirut.

The Bloc described Assad's speech as heedless of the vastness of the political crisis lived by the Syrian regime.

The bloc voiced a necessity that the Syrian regime would commit to the Arab League's initiative instead of lambasting it and harming the Syrian public.

Turning to local pending issue of the wages increase, the Future considered the government's performance in this concern as comic and dramatic at the same time. It was comic, the Future explained, as the Labor Minister dealt with said issue individually without bearing into consideration the government's required legal attitude, especially after the agreement lately being reached between the employers and employees.

And it was dramatic due to the bad repercussions, on the economic and financial levels, resulting from the pending problem of the wages file, the Future continued.

The Future also criticized Defense Minister Fayez Ghosn in his answers during yeserday's accountability hearing session regarding the presence of Al-Qaeda in Arsal. It said the minister's words were vague in this concern and that Ghosn had already distorted Lebanon's reputation when he hastened to mention without proofs the presence of said network in Arsal.
A.M.

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Politics - Kanaan: BRC concerned about radical solution to social files
 

Tue 10/01/2012 19:18

NNA - 10/01/2012 - Deputy Ibrahim Kanaan stressed that Reform and Change Bloc considered itself fundamentally concerned about finding a radical solution to pending social files by taking into regards social justice and legal measures in this concern.

Kanaan's stance came on Tuesday in the wake of the bloc's regular weekly meeting in Rabieh.

He said that a constructive dialogue was held between the Economic Committees and the General Labor Confederation in Rabieh for the purpose of reaching a complete overview complying with that of Labor Minister Charbel Nahas, concerning the wages increase issue. "Our aim is not to find an outlet for any political figure or faction, but to organize institutions' works in accordance with laws."

Turning to the administrative appointments issue and Maronite Patriarch Bechara Rahi's stance towards it, Kanaan said Rahi's aim was to fill vacancies at administrations as he [Rahi] has urged political officials to act for such a purpose.

The Deputy explained that Rahi had no specific stances towards definite persons in regards to the aforementioned issue, as he [Rahi] presented what deemed best for the state and its institutions.
A.M.

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Politics - Cabinet convenes at Baabda palace
 

Tue 10/01/2012 18:33

NNA - 10/1/2012 The Cabinet is currently meeting in a regular session at Baabda palace, presided over by President of the Republic Michel Sleiman, and in presence of Prime Minister Najib Mikati.
The Cabinet looks into 48 items on its agenda, in addition to stringent issues in need of adequate decisions.
Prior to Cabinet session, President Sleiman and Premier Mikati held a closed-door meeting where they boarded the current situation and most recent developments.
--------------L.Y

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Politics - Siniora, Bora tackle current developments
 

Tue 10/01/2012 18:27

NNA - 10/1/2012 "Future" Bloc Head Fouad Siniora met on Tuesday noon at his "Sadet Tower" office with Greek Ambassador to Lebanon Catherine Bora, where they boarded the general situation and developments in Lebanon and the region.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Geagea calls for UN-monitored referendum on Assad's stay in power
 

Tue 10/01/2012 18:23

NNA - 10/1/2012 - Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea on Tuesday called Syrian President to carry out a UN-monitored referendum on whether to stay in power or not.

Bashar Assad's speech today from Damascus University earned Geagea's scorn, who said the President drew a reality totally different from what ihas actually been happening during the 10-month-old Syrian crisis.

Speaking to reporters in Meerab, Geagea dug what he termed as "a demagogic" perspective in Assad's speech.

"The Syrian regime inflicted upon demonstrators more damages than Israel ever did throughout its wars," he reckoned.

He said the Syrian crisis could not remain as it currently is, seeing it would head towards a certain sort of internationalization sooner or later.

He did not fail to note that Hezbollah's situation would definitely change after the collapse of Assad's regime.

On UN Chief's impending visit to Lebanon next Friday, Geagea lambasted those not welcoming Ban Ki-moon, deeming such reserve as aiming to shrug off the state, President of the Republic, the government, institutions, and the Lebanese people.

In another development, he considered claims by National Defense Minister Fayez Ghosn that Al-Qaeda members were entering Lebanon under the guise of Syrian opposition activists, as a political investment required by the Syrian authorities.

A meeting between Geagea and MP Jean Oghassapian later in Meerab also touched on the aforementioned items.

The Deputy, who depicted the Mikati-led government as "a nightmare one," capitalized the necessity to preserve social stability in Lebanon, in light of a simmering debate over wages adjustment.

"The government must have fallen long time ago as it is sheer failure on all levels," Oghassapian said.

He revealed that March 14 forces do have alternatives in case the government collapsed, to be announced later.




R.A.H.

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Politics - Salam from Ein Tineh: We should always cling to dialogue
 

Tue 10/01/2012 17:34

NNA - 10/1/2012 Deputy Tamam Salam underlined the importance of always resorting to dialogue, saying nothing constructive and positive shall occur in the Country without this dialogue and agreement among all the Lebanese.
MP Salam was speaking following his visit on Tuesday to Speaker of the House Nabih Berri at Ein Tineh residence, where they deliberated over an array of issues on the domestic and regional scenes.
"We are always callers for dialogue", Salam said, urging all political powers in the Country to place the nation's supreme interests above any other narrow or personal calculation.
The MP also called for casting daily living dossiers away from current political polarizations and conflicts, highlighting the importance of ensuring security and stability on the internal scene and bolstering civil peace.
On the other hand, Berri met with former House Speaker Elie Firzli, where they held a tour d'horizon bearing on the current proposed issues.
Firzli underscored on emerging the necessity of the issuance of a new parliamentary electoral law that ensures effectual fairness and true representation, in accordance with article 24 of Constitution.
Berri then met with an expatriate delegation from the southern town of Jwayya where they boarded emigrants' related issues.
At noon, Berri met with Youth and Sports Minister Faisal Karame, with talks reportedly touching on the current situation and relevant ministerial affairs. Ministry Director General Zaid Khyami was present during the meeting.
----------------L.Y

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Politics - Watkins tells Mikati Ban to discuss resolution 1701 with officials
 

Tue 10/01/2012 17:01

NNA - 10/1/2012 - Prime Minister Najib Mikati on Tuesday engaged with United Nations Special Coordinator ad interim Robert Watkins in the preparations for the impending visit of UN Chief Ban Ki-moon to Lebanon next Friday.

"I discussed with the Prime Minister the means to beef up partnership between UNDP and the Lebanese government. Accordingly, we reviewed recommendations of a UNDP related study on consultations policies and support unities within key ministries and institutions," Watkins said in the wake of the meeting.

"We also tackled the details of UN Secretary General's impending visit to Lebanon," he added, echoing Ban's keenness to show his commitment towards this country.

Watkins revealed that the implementation of UNSC Resolution 1701 would be on the visit's agenda.

Mikati separately met with Minister of Youth and Sports, Faysal Karame, who handed the Prime Minister a document on policies relevant to youth in Lebanon.

Minister of Social Affairs, Wael Abu Faour, had also been to the Grand Serail today on top of a delegation of social institutions.

Mikati later received a delegation of Lebanese cooperatives shareholders.

He also broached an array of fuel sector-related problems with Sami Braks, Head of Gas Stations Owners Syndicate.

Afterwards, Mikati met with Lebanese Army Intelligence Chief, General Admond Fadel, and Director General of the State Security, General George Qaraa.

He lastly received a delegation of Baalbeck International Festival Committee, headed by Nayla De Freij.



R.A.H.

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Politics - Sleiman, Mikati meet before cabinet convenes
 

Tue 10/01/2012 16:18

NNA - 10/1/2012 - President of the Republic, Michel Sleiman, and Prime Minister, Najib Mikati, are currently sitting behind closed doors, in a pre-cabinet session meeting in Baabda palace.

The pair is reviewing the current general situation and most recent developments.

Ministers are scheduled to discuss a forty-eight-item agenda.



R.A.H.

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Politics - Sleiman, Mikati meet before cabinet convenes
 

Tue 10/01/2012 16:18

NNA - 10/1/2012 - President of the Republic, Michel Sleiman, and Prime Minister, Najib Mikati, are currently sitting behind closed doors, in a pre-cabinet session meeting in Baabda palace.

The pair is reviewing the current general situation and most recent developments.

Ministers are scheduled to discuss a forty-eight-item agenda.



R.A.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Rifi, Russian Ambassador engage in security situation
 

Tue 10/01/2012 15:39

NNA - 10/01/2012 - Internal Security Forces Major General Ashraf Rifi on Tuesday tackled the nation's general security situation with the Russian Ambassador to Lebanon Alexander Zasypkin, who paid him a protocol visit at his ISF bureau.
R.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Charbel, Abi Nasr meet over citizenship revocation
 

Tue 10/01/2012 15:35

NNA - 10/1/2012 - Minister of Interior and Municipalities, Marwan Charbel, on Tuesday followed up with MP Neemtallah Abi Nasr on the implementation of a Shura Council decision on citizenship revocation.

Charbel later met with Member of Parliament Ziad Aswad over an array of developmental affairs.

Talks mainly featured high on solid waste issue in Jezzine locality.

Philippines ambassador to Lebanon, Leah El Ruiz, also visited Minister Charbel today, with talks focusing on the agreement to be inked soon with the Ministry of Labor on domestic workers coming from Philippines to Lebanon.


R.A.H.

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Politics - Bassil's movement sole defender of illegitimate arms: Zahra
 

Tue 10/01/2012 15:29

NNA - 10/1/2012 - Lebanese Forces bloc member, Deputy Antoine Zahra, told LBC channel Tuesday that Minister Gebran Bassil and his political movement are the only ones defending the illegitimate arms' presence in Lebanon.

"Hezbollah is the party which attempted to derail the Lebanese Army in its confrontation with Fath Al-Islam at Nahr El-Bared, announcing back then that the camp is a 'red line'," the MP reminded, criticizing the attempts of Aoun's movement aimed at misleading the public opinion.

"Each progress in state establishment reflects regression in statelets project," he indicated, noting that the Army's mission on the Lebanese territories was being hindered by the political parties which supported the persistence of illegitimate weapons and armed groups.

As for the situation in Syria, Deputy Zahra confirmed that it was normal for his party to support the Syrian people, recognize its demands, and respect its will.

"Our call for finding a solution to the crisis cannot be considered as interference. Our solidarity with the Syrian people emanates from a sheer human standpoint," the LF member declared.
D.K.

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Politics - Watkins pushes Lebanon to implement international commitments
 

Tue 10/01/2012 15:10

NNA -10/01/2012 - United Nations Special Coordinator ad interim for Lebanon, Robert Watkins, on Tuesday encouraged Lebanon to continue meeting its international obligations, especially with regard to the full implementation of Security Council Resolution 1701.

"I told Minister Mansour that preparations are underway for another report on the implementation of Resolution 1701, which Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is expected to deliver to the Security Council at the end of February 2012," he said following a meeting with Foreign Affairs and Expatriates Minister Adnan Mansour.

Both men discussed as well details pertaining to the forthcoming visit of the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. "The Secretary-General is very much looking forward to visit Lebanon again and to underline his continued strong support for Lebanon and the Lebanese."

Watkins also seized the occasion to congratulate Minister Mansour on Lebanon's successful completion of its two years on the Security Council. "I think it is roundly recognized that Lebanon did an excellent job in fulfilling its functions. I expressed the UN's expectation that Lebanon would continue to remain active and engaged as a regular member of the United Nations."

Responding to a question on whether Ban Ki-moon will be meeting with someone from Hezbollah during his anticipated visit to Lebanon, Watkins made clear that Ki-moon will be meeting with senior Government officials and a representative of the opposition.

"I can assure you that he will be discussing all of the matters relating to the different Security Council resolutions pertaining to Lebanon as well as, as I said in my statement, all of the international obligations of Lebanon," he said as responding to a question on the nature of Ki-moon's discussions with Lebanese officials.

With regard to the strategic review of UNIFIL, Watkins ruled out assumptions that said decision has been taken to reduce the number of troops.

"This was never the objective of this review. All I can say for the moment is that the review is not completed yet."
R.H.

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Politics - Audi, Ghosn meet
 

Tue 10/01/2012 15:02

NNA - 10/1/2012 - Beirut Greek Orthodox Archbishop Elias Audi on Tuesday met with National Defense Minister Fayez Ghosn over an array of local domestic affairs.

Archbishop Audio later met with former Minister Khaled Qabbani.

Talks reportedly featured high on the current general situation.


R.A.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved





 

Politics - Rahi, Fletcher tackle bilateral ties
 

Tue 10/01/2012 14:31


NNA - 10/1/2012 Maronite Patriarch Tuesday tackled most recent developments during his meeting with the UK Ambassador Tom Fletcher.

The latter asserted British support to the Christian presence in Lebanon and the Middle East.

Rahi also met with former Minister Jihad Azour and tackled with him regional developments' repercussions on Lebanon.

The Moldavian Premier's advisor and Consul visited Rahi today and conveyed to him the head of Moldavia' bishops' invitation to visit the country.

Rahi also received a delegation of Batroun village mayors and discussed with them developmental affairs.

L.W.
 

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Politics - Layyoun, Roknabadi engage in cultural ties
 

Tue 10/01/2012 14:26

NNA - 10/1/2012 - Means of boosting-up Lebanese-Iranian bilateral and cultural relations featured high Tuesday on talks between Culture Minister Gaby Layyoun and the Iranian Ambassador to Lebanon Gazanfar Roknabadi.

Talks between both men touched on the Iranian Culture Minister's anticipated visit to Lebanon next week, to take part in the Muslim-Christian dialogue conference.

"We also discussed the possibility of drafting a cooperation agreement between both countries' cultural and cinema sectors, as well as executive steps towards an Iranian cultural week in Lebanon next May."
R.H.

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Politics - Sleiman chairs evening cabinet session, tackles developments with itinerants
 

Tue 10/01/2012 13:47

NNA - 10/01/2011 - President of the Republic Michel Sleiman will be chairing this evening's cabinet session at Baabda Presidential Palace, with 48 items on its agenda.

At another level, Sleiman held a series of meetings at Baabda palace, where he discussed means of boosting the environmental situation in Lebanon with the Minister of Environment Nazem Khoury.

In turn, Youth and Sports Minister Faysal Karami briefed the President on the ministry's expansion project, via the implementation of the "Youth policy project in Lebanon."

The President also had an audience with the newly elected Hotel's Syndicate Head, Mr. Pierre Ashkar, who updated the President on the Hotel's Tourism sector, and handed him a list of demands deemed substantial to augment this sector.
R.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Terro, Egyptian Ambassador tackle developments
 

Tue 10/01/2012 13:28


NNA - 10/01/2011 - Minister of the Displaced Alaaeddine Terro discussed local and regional developments on Tuesday with the Egyptian Ambassador to Lebanon Mohammad Mustapha Tawfik.
R.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Marouni: Ghosn's words are not convincing
 

Tue 10/01/2012 12:43

NNA - 10/1/2012 - Deputy Elie Marouni said that the statements made by Defense Minister Fayez Ghosn were not convincing.

The MP said that Ghosn explained on Monday during the parliamentary committee meeting his controversial remarks about the presence of Al-Qaeda in Arsal, saying that the Bekaa town was not meant to be targeted and was used as an example of a large problem based on Lebanese army reports.

"These media statements create tension in the country", Marouni stressed on Tuesday to "Sharq" radio.

The MP called on army deployment along the Lebanese Syrian borders since the army is responsible for security, sovereignty and independence.

"It is unacceptable to accuse a town of being a terrorists' gateway and we refuse terrorism", Marouni stressed.

Commenting on wage increases issue, he stressed that what happened was shameful because no one can manipulate citizens life, adding that "it's the citizens right to improve their living conditions", calling on the cabinet to cater to the Lebanese livelihood's needs.

A.A.M

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Politics - Abi Ramia urges adopting unequivocal, transparent sports' law
 

Tue 10/01/2012 12:36

NNA - 10/1/2012 - MP Simon Abi Ramiya Tuesday tuched on the media uproar over the discovery of a foreign player, Huskin Samuel, who played in Israeli sports clubs.

As the head of the Youth and Sports Commission held today at 9:00 a.m. at the Parliament, Abi Ramiya said attending MPs extolled the Minister's decision issued on 5/1/2012 which prevents bringing in players to Lebanese clubs if they participated in championships in Israeli clubs.

"The Minister gave notice on the presence of 9 players currently partaking in championships who are scheduled to leave Lebanon once their contract expires," he added.

"Youth commission agreed with the Minister on having the Ministry present a project law to prevent sports' clubs from transferring players that have participated in Israeli clubs' tournaments," the MP asserted.
L.W

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Politics - Shaab: Ghosn's evidences not convincing
 

Tue 10/01/2012 10:42

NNA - 10/1/2012 - Member of Parliament Bassem al Shaab told Voice of Lebanon on Tuesday that the argument made by Defense Minister Fayez Ghosn during the parliamentary committee meeting was good but not very convincing, adding that the minister did not disclose where he obtained his information.

"Yesterday's meeting was positive because there is a consensus among all Lebanese not to turn the country into a sanctuary for terrorist groups and all sides stressed that terrorism should not be blamed on any religious sect. The meeting also underlined the importance of the army's role," the MP said.

But Shaab noticed that some political quarters are showing laxity and leniency on cross border raids and they treat this matter as normal incident.

He called on the authorities to keep Lebanon neutral and distance the country from the events that are taking place in Syria.

The MP urged the government to provide the army with all means to enable it to carry out its responsibilities.

The MP voiced his full support to the imminent visit of United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki Moon to Lebanon.

He denied any knowledge about a meeting that will take place between March 14 and Ki-Moon.

O.H

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Politics - Manjian calls on all sides to withdraw wages file from media
 

Tue 10/01/2012 10:02

NNA - 10/1/2012 - State Minister Panos Manjian hoped that all political sides would reach an agreement regarding wage increases file, calling on all groups to withdraw it from media.

The minister stressed the necessity to reach a solution which satisfies Labors, employers and Labor Minister Charbel Nahhas.

"There is no tension inside "Change and Reform" bloc", the minister stressed on Tuesday to "Voice of Lebanon" radio, pointing out to understanding concerning wage file.

Responding to a question on the withdrawal of administrative appointments file from today's (Tuesday) cabinet session, he said "I was not formally informed of this matter".

On the other hand, speaking on the issue of Al-Qaeda existence and Defense Minister Fayez Ghoson's statements, Manjian said "Terrorism exists in the entire world, but it is important to be aware of the issue and put it in the hand of the Lebanese security forces away from media polarization".

A.A.M

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Politics - Defense Committee listens to Ghosn extenuating claims
 

Mon 9/01/2012 21:48

NNA - 9/01/2012 - The Higher Defense Committee listened on Monday to National Defense Minister Fayez Ghosn's answers to a number of questions raised by Committee head, Samir Jisr, on Ghosn's last year allegations of Al- Qaeda presence in the east border town of Arsal.

In December, Ghosn said weapons were being smuggled and some terrorist members of the Al-Qaeda organization penetrated Lebanon through some illegal crossings on the Lebanese-Syrian border, particularly Arsal, disguised as Syrian opposition members.

"Minister Ghosn's statement of 20/12/2011 raised so many questions, comments, and annotations. What made things worse is the blatant discrepancy between stances made by Ghosn and those made by the Interior and Municipalities Minister Marwan Charbel, not to mention the content-contradictory statements by the Lebanese President and Prime Minister," the Defense Committee Head said following the session.

Responding to Jisr's questions, Ghosn distanced himself from his controversial remarks, saying that he never meant to say that Arsal was sheltering terrorists. He also said that the only reason why he ever mentioned the village of Arsal by the name was because the Lebanese Army got assaulted in that very same village.

"The Lebanese Army is the source of information," he added in response to another question by Jisr on the origin of Ghosn allegations of Al-Qaeda presence in Lebanon.

Capitalizing on the grave danger this whole issue entails, Ghosn held all concerned officials responsible. "According to army reports, which also include one by the Interpol, the person that was arrested is internationally wanted, and accused Karkouz is a terrorist, who is also internationally wanted."

The Defense Minister went on to disclose the Lebanese Army's underway cooperation with concerned apparatuses following-up the matter. Albeit, he saw no political need for this matter to be discussed via media outlets.

Following the committee meeting, Future Movement bloc MP Samir Jisr said Ghosn did not necessarily target Arsal, affirming that the issue was not in the hands of the committee.

The Council had also met last month to discuss Ghosn's remarks and stressed on the need to prevent arms smuggling across the border with Syria.
R.H.

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Politics - Jumblatt pushes competent officials to handle Qaeda presence claims
 

Mon 9/01/2012 20:20

NNA - 9/01/2011 - Member of Parliament Walid Jumblatt on Monday derided attempts at resolving a claimed "Qaeda" presence in Lebanon through media resources, saying this matter ought to be only worked out at the hands of competent official channels.

In his weekly statement accorded to Al- Anbaa weekly, the Progressive Socialist Party (PSP) Leader reroofed the abusive use of what he described as the new up-to-the-minute term of "Al-Qaeda" which some officials resorted to, whenever the need roused.

"They didn't even think twice before accusing such a grand Arab Lebanese village," he said as referring to Arsal village.

He dubbed those behind Qaeda presence allegations in Arsal "reckless", for in his words "they failed to assess the crucial aspect of their stances, and their negative ramifications on the village and its geographical surrounding."
R.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Mikati chairs meetings over electricity law, Karantina sewage network
 

Mon 9/01/2012 19:21

NNA - 9/1/2012 - Prime Minister Najib Mikati chaired on Monday a meeting by the ministerial ad-hoc committee tasked to scrutinize amendments made to the electricity sector organization, law item 462.

The ad-hoc committee, which met for this purpose at the Grand Serail, gave its remarks on said amendments to be later discussed by committee members, for future endorsement.

Mikati later held a meeting over Karantina-Burj Hammoud sewage networks, with Water and Energy Minister Jibran Bassil, MP Hagop Pakradounian, Construction and Development Council Head Nabil Jisr, and Burj Hammoud Municipality head, Antranik Masrlian.

Conferees saw eye to eye over the importance of establishing a sewage filtering station in North Beirut and the Southern Maten region in a bid to avoid sqaundering rain water.
R.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Kataeb holds weekly session, tackles recent developments
 

Mon 9/01/2012 18:44

NNA - 9/01/2012 - Kataeb Political Bureau, presided by Leader Amine Gemayel, held on Monday evening its weekly meeting over most recent local and regional developments, a statement by Kataeb read.
R.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Qahwaji, interlocutors tackle general situation
 

Mon 9/01/2012 18:40

NNA - 9/1/2012 Army Commander Jean Qahwaji tackled on Monday with his interlocutors the current situation on the domestic scene.
General Qahwaji met at his Yrazeh office with a delegation of "Jumhuriyyeh" newspaper chaired by Editor in Chief George Solage.
The current situation on the local arena highlighted talks between the General and a delegation of "Lebanon Youth Association".
Among Yarzeh's itinerant visitors for Monday have been "MTC" Company Director General Claude Bassil and "Solidere" Company Chief Munir Dweihi.
---------------L.Y

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Politics - Gemayel receives Assiri, Mokbel
 

Mon 9/01/2012 18:20

NNA - 09/01/2011 - Former President Amine Gemayel received on Monday at Kataeb central office in Saifi/Beirut the Saudi Ambassador to Lebanon, Ali Awad Asiri, with talks featuring high upon overall developments at the local and regional scenes.

Separately, Gemayel tackled developmental affairs, notably pertaining to Jal El-Dib bridge project, with Deputy Prime Minister Samir Mokbel, in presence of Deputy Sami Gemayel.
A.M.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Berri: fuel dossier prime issue to be discussed with Ban
 

Mon 9/01/2012 18:10

NNA - 9/1/2012 Speaker of the House Nabih Berri disclosed that the prime dossier to be discussed with UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon is
related to fuel and maritime borders.
Speaker Berri was speaking during his meeting on Monday at the Parliament with a delegation of new Press Syndicate Council, under the chairmanship of Dean Mohammed Baalbaki, where they boarded an array of domestic and Arab affairs, with emphasis on the new electoral law.
Berri described the current situation in the Arab region as "raising fears", stressing the importance of dissociating Lebanon from what is currently taking place in order to avoid repercussions.
"The situation in Syria is different from that of other countries," Berri noted, highlighting the importance of the success of the Arab initiative despite its flaws.
On the other hand, Berri met with a delegation of the Union of Akkar Municipalities, under the chairmanship of Union Head Ahmad Khaled Mir. The delegation raised with the Speaker relevant demands related to Akkar area.
Berri then met with a British parliamentary delegation where they boarded the current situation in Lebanon and the region.
In other news, Berri received a cable from his Ukrainian counterpart Vladimir Letvenen related to parliamentary cooperation.
Berri sent a cable to Saudi Culture and Information Minister Abdel Aziz Khoja, wishing him speedy recovery after undergoing a surgery.
---------------L.Y

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Politics - UN News Centre interviews Ban
 

Mon 9/01/2012 17:20

NNA - Ban Ki-moon is beginning his second five-year term as Secretary-General of the United Nations this week. He joins us in the UN studios to reflect on some of the biggest moments and issues during his first term in office.
This is Darrin Farrant from the UN News Centre, and I'm joined by Maha Fayek from UN Radio. Secretary-General, thank you for your time today.
UN Radio/UN News Centre: Secretary-General your second term has begun. What do you consider to have been the most significant global development since taking office in 2007?
Ban Ki-moon: We have seen the power of the people, people power and also deepening globalization. We have seen so many people, marginalized people, oppressed people, who have been yearning for democracy, their dignity and human rights. We have a heavy responsibility to help them in their transition to democracy. With the deepening of globalization, we have seen so many things happening in the world. There are many good ideas and many people really wanted to be connected. Between ideas and people, we have to help this transition to materialize as soon as possible. Being united depends on us. Sometimes technology may help to unite people, but ultimately it is people who should be united.
UN Radio/UN News Centre: Which accomplishment during your first term in office are you most proud of?
Ban Ki-moon: It's hard to quantify. Some results will materialize in many years. However, I am most proud of when I was meeting with the people who really need our support. There are so many marginalized, vulnerable people. When I was speaking with them I could see clearly the expectation and faith in the United Nations. That really struck me. I was very proud to be a part of the United Nations system.
For example, when I was meeting with a boy in the South Pacific island of Kiribati, he appealed to me: 'Please help us address this climate change. Our homes and our way of life may be swept away overnight.' That's why we have been able to bring this climate change to the top of the global agenda. We have been meeting so many people, particularly women and girls, whose human rights were totally abused. When I met them, still, I saw from them the dignity and determined will to overcome their life. This has led us to establish UN Women.
Then there are many areas [where] we have been successful in expanding women's and children's health. We have been able to start good progress in nuclear disarmament. We have been trying to organize our work in a more nimble and efficient and effective way. Those are some of the areas where we can be proud, but we need to do more.
As I said in my acceptance address to the General Assembly last June after being decided for second term, I said 'together nothing is impossible.' Ensemble� rien n'est impossible�
UN Radio/UN News Centre: You mentioned Kiribati in the South Pacific. You travelled a lot during your first term. You went to Kiribati, you went to Antarctica, to Darfur, to the Dadaab refugee camp on the Kenyan-Somali border, you went to Semipalatinsk in the former Soviet Union. Is there one particular experience that left the biggest impression on you personally, and if so, why?
Ban Ki-moon: As you said, I have been travelling extensively. There is almost no place where I have not been to learn the plight or challenges of marginalized people; to learn more about how we can help protect this planet Earth in a more environmentally sustainable way. There is one common thread among all these visits to different places and meeting different people: that is what the United Nations has to do. There is a high level of expectation that the United Nations should stand for in leading this campaign: in leading the campaign to address climate change, leading the campaign to fight poverty, leading the campaign against curable, preventative diseases, leading the campaign in prevention of man-made or nature-made [crises and disasters]. There are so many areas United Nations can do. That is why I have been traveling. That is why I have been meeting so many people around the world. And I will continue during my second term.
UN Radio/UN News Centre: You talked a little bit there about the expectation and the responsibility of being Secretary-General. Was there a particular moment in your first term when you saw both the responsibility and, I guess, the opportunity that comes with the post?
Ban Ki-moon: There have been many crises. But crisis also comes with opportunity. This is what I have felt. I was struck when I was standing before UN headquarters in Haiti [after the January 2010 earthquake]. I was just lost. I could not describe what I have seen in Fukushima [after the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami]. And I have seen so many people. Then there is a high level of expectation together with opportunities. How the United Nations can organize, and lead this awareness, as well as translate into actions and that is what United Nations should do. Of course we are living in an era of austerity; resources are very much limited. But if we modernize the way we do, delivering as one, I believe that United Nations can still lead this campaign around the world. I need support from all Member States.
UN Radio/UN News Centre: For this second segment of the interview, we will talk about challenges. What was the most difficult challenge in your first term?
Ban Ki-moon: There are many challenges, man-made and nature-made. The most difficult challenge at this time is how to modernize our organization, adapting to changes of 21st century. Technology outpaces our current thinking, people's ideas and our current way of working. We have to make our Organization more nimble, more efficient and effective, and transparent and accountable. Of course this requires full support of 193 Member States. But coming to other challenges, real challenges which we are facing: climate change. We have to protect this planet Earth in a more environmentally, sustainable way for our succeeding generations. There are so many people whose human rights are totally abused that we have to protect them. There are so many people who are dying needlessly from preventable diseases. There are so many areas where people's human rights are abused, particularly in conflict areas. We are maintaining now 120,000 UN peacekeepers. But all these challenges can be overcome if we are better organized, if we are more united. And that is what I'm going to do in my second term.
UN Radio/UN News Centre: The first Secretary-General, Trygve Lie, told his successor Dag Hammarskjold: 'You are about to take over the most impossible job on Earth.' What is so tough about this job?
Ban Ki-moon: I have heard this assessment many times in the past. Maybe I should ask Tom Cruise for any advice! But what is important at this time is for Member States, 193 Member States, to have a correct vision and correct understanding of the situations and challenges we are facing. Then, I think this can be overcome. My mission is to make this seemingly impossible job a possible job. My predecessor Kofi Annan once told me before I took over my job that 'this may be the most impossible job, but this may be the best and most honourable job for humanity.' I ask all Member States to unite behind the ideals and goals of the United Nations Charter. Then I think there is no such impossible job.
UN Radio/UN News Centre: Let's follow up on the Member States. It is a fact that the five permanent members of the Security Council have a special status in the UN and often as Secretary-General you are caught between powerful Member States. How do you deal with that pressure, especially when countries have different positions?
Ban Ki-moon: As Secretary-General of the United Nations, I cannot be loyal to any one or another country or any group of countries. I have to be loyal to the people whom we serve. I have to be faithful to the principles of the Charter of the United Nations. Some people say that we have 193 bosses. The board members are composed of 193. It seems to be almost impossible to deal with all these people because they are all coming from different countries with different backgrounds and different interests. But I believe that they are united also and they all believe in the United Nations Charter. We are able to carry out many important and difficult challenges when the Member States are united. That's what I'm going to ask the Member States. There is a diversity which can be fully utilized to the best purpose of the Charter.
UN Radio/UN News Centre: What would you like to do differently in your second term?
Ban Ki-moon: I have seen the strong power of partnerships. If we strengthen these partnerships among governments, business communities, civil organizations and philanthropists, then I think all these powerful partnerships can bring us towards the right direction. We were able to bring climate change to the top of the global agenda. We were able to deploy 120,000 UN peacekeepers in 16 missions. We were able to establish UN Women, trying to protect and promote more about women's social status and political status.
We are going to build upon all these achievements which we have been building during the last five years. Therefore, I would like to connect all these seemingly different agendas into one thread. This is what I'd like to do. I'd like to connect the people with ideas.
UN Radio/UN News Centre: Secretary-General, you spoke about some challenges lying ahead. May I ask you to list your priorities for the second term? Is there any challenge of human interest that you would like to tackle immediately?
Ban Ki-moon: I have laid out five generational opportunities for my second term to work with the Member States. First, we have to achieve sustainable development. We have to connect the dots among climate change, the food crisis, water scarcity, energy shortages and women's empowerment and global health issues. These are all interconnected issues. Therefore, [with the] Rio+20 summit meeting in June 2012, we have to make this conference a great success. Then we are focusing on prevention: prevention for man-made or nature-made crises. And thirdly, we have to make this world a safer and more secure world. We are maintaining 120,000 soldiers but if we succeed in mediation and facilitating political dialogues, we can save much of our energy and time, and even money. Fourthly, we have to help those countries in transition. We have seen the Arab Spring in Middle East and North Africa. There are still many more people whose human rights and basic dignities are not fully respected. We have to do more for those people. Then we have to do more to work together and for women. Gender empowerment will be one of my top five priorities in the coming five years.
 

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Politics - Jumblatt meets with British House of Commons delegation
 

Mon 9/01/2012 17:11

NNA - 9/1/2011 - Progressive Socialist Party Head Walid Jumblatt met on Monday at his residence in Clemenceau with a delegation of the British House of Commons. Both reportedly boarded current developments.
---------------L.Y

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Politics - Sleiman, Beirut Deputies meet over claim of weapons-free capital
 

Mon 9/01/2012 16:21

NNA - 9/1/2012 - President of the Republic, Michel Sleiman, on Monday met at Baabda palace with a delegation of Beirut Deputies over the issue of a weapons-free capital.

The President avowed that it was normal to have all cities and towns disarmed.

The delegation was comprised of MPs Michel Pharaon, Ammar Houri, Jean Oghassapian, and Nadim Gemayel.

Sleiman later met with Lebanese Central Bank's Governor, Riad Salameh, over the current financial and monetary situation.

The resident representative of the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in Lebanon, Abdul Meneem Othman, had also been to Baabda presidential palace today on a farewell visit upon the end of his mission in Beirut.


R.A.H.

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Politics - Mikati calls to keep wages dossier away from politics
 

Mon 9/01/2012 15:55

NNA - 9/1/2012 - Prime Minister Najib Mikati on Monday rekindled his holding onto the Baabda-brokered agreement between the Economic Committees and the General Labor Confederation on wages adjustment.

The Prime Minister did not fail to highlight the obligation to keep the much heated salaries dossier away from political polarizations, hoping a solution satisfactory to both grassroots and employers would be reached in the nearest time possible.

Delegations of the Economic Committees and the GLC had been to the Grand Serail today only to reaffirm the aforementioned Baabda agreement, two weeks after the cabinet voted for Labor Minister Charbel Nahhas's salaries increase package, later rejected by the State Shura Council.

Mikati said preparations were still underway for a socio-economic conference at the Grand Serail to venture into the details of a joint work memorandum with a view to bringing it into effect under the sponsorship of the state and the government.

He also underscored his keenness on both parties of production, the continuity of work, and development, through widening the scope job opportunities.

Separately, the Prime Minister met today at the Grand Serail with Foreign Minister of Maldives, Ahmed Nassim, over bilateral ties and most recent political developments in Lebanon and the broader Arab region.

Mikati had met last night UK Parliament member Richard Graham at his residence in Verdun over the necessity to maintain the well-entrenched relations between both countries.

The British official also voiced the Kingdom's support for Lebanon's stability and progress on both social and economic levels.



R.A.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Rahi: we want officials on round table for dialogue

 

Mon 9/01/2012 15:11

NNA - 09/01/2011 - Maronite Patriarch Bechara Rahi refused the continuity of authority at the time that each official stood obstinately on his own personal view and interests, indicating that Lebanese officials must sit on the round table and start dialogue to solve pending problems.

Rahi's words came in the context of his receiving at the Maronite Patriarchate a delegation of media figures.

"Lebanon cannot stay immersed in its special matters and its authority cannot be disassociated from the big crisis that augurs badly for the economic and livelihood conditions," said the Patriarch.

A.M.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Abou Faour praises Kuwaiti Fund's contribution in Lebanese development
 

Mon 9/01/2012 15:04

NNA - 9/1/2012 - Social Affairs Minister Wael Abou Faour received Monday a delegation of the Kuwaiti Fund in Lebanon Nawaf Al-Dabbous with talks featuring high on projects to be executed in Rashaya and West Bekaa.

Dabbous saluted Minister Abou Faour's concern and support to the fund's projects. He also shed light on his appreciation to the Kuwaiti fund's contribution in Lebanon.

"We tackled several issues on top of which social, developmental, and cultural affairs underway," he said.

Abou Faour, for his part, thanked Kuwait for its contributions and aid for all the Lebanese regardless of their political affiliations.

Separately, Minister Abou Faour received the UNRWA director general, Salvatore Lombardo, who informed him of the projects executed by the agency in Lebanon.
D.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - (corrected) Qabbani meets Manjian, HDF Secretary
 

Mon 9/01/2012 14:54 NNA - 9/1/2012 - Mufti of the Lebanese Republic, Sheikh Mohammad Rashid Qabbani, on Monday met with State Minister Panos Manjian, who came on a protocol visit.

The meeting reportedly featured high on the current general situation on the domestic local scene.

On the security situation, the Minister cast a reassuring note, maintaining that no one wishes security to be destabilized in Lebanon.

The Mufti later met with the Secretary General of the Higher Defense Council, General Adnan Merheb.



R.A.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Qabbani meets Manjian, HDF head
 

Mon 9/01/2012 14:47

NNA - 9/1/2012 - Mufti of the Lebanese Republic, Sheikh Mohammad Rashid Qabbani, on Monday met with State Minister Panos Manjian, who came on a protocol visit.

The meeting reportedly featured high on the current general situation on the domestic local scene.

On the security situation, the Minister cast a reassuring note, maintaining that no one wishes security to be destabilized in Lebanon.

The Mufti later met with Head of the Higher Defense Council, General Adnan Merheb.



R.A.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved








 

Politics - Hobeich, Jarrah disclose "truths" about the Tico Tac case
 

Mon 9/01/2012 14:08

NNA - 9/1/2012 Future parliamentary bloc members, Hadi Hobeish and Jamal Jarrah, Monday held a press conference at the Parliament, during which they revealed "information" about the Lebanese investment company "Tico Tac "in response to what they called the" misinformation "published by the Free Patriotic Movement.

Hobeich said the latest decision the Audit bureau took against employees of the Ministry of Finance during former Prime Minister Fouad Siniora's mandate, has been based on erroneous figures, without proving that they have wasted public finances.

The MP added that considerations were based on the Sate Advisory Council's decision, since judicial appointments are expected.

He called for pulling aside political appointments, refusing that political party appoints the chairman of the High Council of Magistracy.

For his part, MP Jarrah said that former Prime Minister Fouad Siniora had formed a committee to review all the old customs declarations, to reveal the truth.

"During our presence in the government, we were concerned about the public finances and we are now reassured that we have the necessary evidence," he added.

"MP Michel Aoun is not authorized to discuss the issues of waste of public finances, given its long history of misuse of public funds," he concluded.

L.W.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Khoreiss: He who bets on Syrian regime's collapse is delusional
 

Mon 9/01/2012 13:53

NNA - 9/1/2012 MP Ali Khoreiss Monday said anyone who bets on the collapse of the Syrian regime is delusional for situation in Syria differs from other Arab countries.

Khoreiss depicted suicide bombing in Syria as an episode of the U.S. series to pressure Syria especially after the latter's approval of Arab League protocol.

Speaking during a commemoration ceremony in Sarafand, Khoreiss said the U.S.-Israeli scheme aims at tearing the region and transform it into sectarian statelets.

On the Lebanese level, Khoreiss stressed the need for dialogue, being the bridge between all parties.
"Dialogue is essential not only to agree on the defensive strategy but to achieve a just electoral law," he said.


L.W.

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Politics - Qobeissi: Lebanese drifting behind regional events unjustified
 

Mon 9/01/2012 13:32

NNA - 9/1/2012 MP Hani Qobeissi Monday expressed sorrow over the Lebanese people being carried along by conspiratorial project targeting the region.

During a Martyrs' commemoration ceremony Amal movement held in South Lebanon, Qobeissi said it is unwarrantable to have Lebanese people go after sedition triggering policies and by so, have Lebanon be the ground for conspiracies.

The MP called on the people to stay away from division and work for anchoring unity atmosphere and preserving coexistence.



L.W.

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Politics - Charbel hails launching new electoral law
 

Mon 9/01/2012 13:01

NNA - 9/1/2012 Interior and Municipalities Minister Marwan Charbel Monday said launching new electoral law before due date paves the way before a serious dialogue about its formula as it moves political forces and segments to study and evaluate it.

Speaking at the "Proportionality in 2013 Parliamentary elections in Lebanon" conference, Charbel said this move is a sound factor per se for "it motivates Lebanese people to consider the future in light of past experiences.

The Minister also said that a leap toward proportionality is necessary and urgent since it forms the sole entry into restoring political and national life.

"Such a required progress could not be achieved except with a modern law based on proportionality so as to renew national life and ensure true representation," Charbel remarked.

Also, he said it is not possible to have the Ministry accomplish what it is required to when the government still holds a vague decision, regarding electoral law, as if it is seeking to keep the current law.

L.W.

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Politics - Aoun chairs private sectors and GLC meeting
 

Mon 9/01/2012 12:55

NNA - 9/1/2012 - "Change and reform" bloc head Deputy Michel Aoun chaired on Monday morning at his Rabyeh residence an exceptional meeting and discussed wage increases issue with members of private sectors and General Labor Confederation.

After the meeting Aoun said that discussions focused on the proposed projects and "we agreed to approve a project with the coordination of Labor Ministry and Shoura Council".

A.A.M

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Aridi meets Sri Lanka Ambassador
 

Mon 9/01/2012 12:45

NNA - 9/1/2012 - Public Works and Transport Minister Ghazi Aridi met on Monday at his office with Sri Lanka Ambassador to Lebanon Mir Asahib Mehrov and discussed ties between both countries.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Mansour meets UNESCO head
 

Mon 9/01/2012 12:37

NNA - 9/1/2012 - Foreign and Expatriates Minister Adnan Mansour met with UNESCO director for Arab countries Abdel Menhim Mohamed Othman in a farewell visit upon ending his mission in Lebanon.

A.A.M

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Houry: Wage hikes issue is urgent to Lebanese
 

Mon 9/01/2012 12:30

NNA - 9/1/2012 - Deputy Ammar Houry stressed that wage increases issue is an urgent and real need to all the Lebanese.

Houry criticized the political team which is dealing lightly with this file and is trying to score illusive victories.

"The only solution is to stick to the early agreement between General Labor Confederation and the private sectors", the MP told "Sharq radio".

Concerning the Syrian situation, the MP said "we respect the position of the Syrian citizens", pointing out that some parties tried to portray Future bloc and March 14 positions as if they are bias.

"Our position is bias to democracy and freedom", Houry stressed.

The MP considered that Arab League's move was to fill the vacuum in the transitional period, adding that the Arab League tried to say that they exhausted all possible means.

Houry added that the Arab League hopes to receive a response from the Syrian regime but "there is no hope that such a thin will happen and the situation in this country will head to internationalization".

The MP said that Hiuzbullah will eventually approve STL protocol.

Finally, Houry said that the party showed at one point that the collapse of the cabinet was in its hand then all sides discovered that the issue is still in the Syrian regime's hand and that Hizbullah does not own the decision alone.

A.A.M

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Politics - Sleiman: True electoral system illustrates coexistence will
 

Mon 9/01/2012 11:58

NNA - 9/1/2012 - Lebanese President Michel Sleiman Monday asserted that the electoral system that guarantees a true representation of all society components will truly expresses the Lebanese coexistence will.

Speaking at the "Proportionality in 2013 Parliamentary elections in Lebanon" conference, Sleiman said such a system should not embody political confessionalism as it is disassociated from a sectarian choice.

"National fusion is a main objective electoral law ought to achieve," he remarked and deemed confessional tensions to be emerging from the incapability of a certain faction to choose its representatives.

"Electoral law should not break away from certain charter principles," Sleiman avowed and stressed Lebanon's choice to respect Taif clauses and terms, "every authority that contradicts with coexistence is illegitimate, he said.

The President also corroborated the importance of establishing an independent committee to manage electoral process and control spending.
At greater length, Sleiman mentioned the electoral law's concern in women representation, youth participation, and expatriates' right to vote away from sectarianism.

"We look forward to a system that allows the representation of minorities in electoral districts.

We also look forward to adopting an electoral law which brings closer humanitarianism to our democracy," he concluded.

L.W.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Abboud: I will refrain from voting on wage increase
 

Mon 9/01/2012 11:23


NNA - 9/1/2012 - Tourism Minister Fadi Abboud stressed that he would refrain from voting on wage increases project in case discussions of numbers have not been achieved.

Abboud stressed necessity to discuss numbers of wage increase which is the basic problem, hoping that President Michel Sleiman and Prime Minister Najib Mikati would pave the way for discussing this file before voting on it.

Abboud said on Monday to "Voice of Lebanon" radio that "it is possible to approve wage increase of Minister Charbel Nahhas plan but with more realistic numbers through the adoption of proposed numbers from the private sector".

A.A.M

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Fatfat: Ghosn will not be able to prove his accusations
 

Mon 9/01/2012 10:51

NNA - 9/1/2011 - Member of Parliament Ahmed Fatfat cast doubt in the ability of Defense Minister Fayez Ghosn to substantiate his allegations that Al-Qaeda is operating in Lebanon and in Arsal town in particular.

He added that the parliamentary committee will hold a session today to question Ghosn about his information about Al-Qaeda and to find out where he obtained his information.

"I am sure that the defense minister will not be able to come up with evidence about his information on Al-Qaeda operations in Lebanon."

The MP stressed that the political wrangling between March 14 and Ghosn is mainly due to the latter's' claims that Al-Qaeda has presence in Lebanon.

Fatfat argued that the last statement of the Lebanese army about this incident also proved that Ghosn's claims are unfounded.

He stressed that the atmosphere in the session can be positive in case Ghosn provided all the evidence and documents which shows that Al-Qaeda is operating in Lebanon.

O.H

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Qadri warns against blowing Al-Qaeda out of proportion
 

Mon 9/01/2012 10:22

NNA - 9/01/2012 - Future Parliamentary bloc member Ziad Qadri warned against playing with Al-Qaeda fire as this would not serve the national interest.

Speaking to Voice of Lebanon "Voice of Freedom and Dignity", the MP talked about the "vicious" determination of some quarters in March 8 to pour oil on Al-Qaeda's fire, adding that the main purpose of this campaign is to target the Sunni sect and label it as terrorist group.

"The opposition will play its part in confronting all the issues which affects the security and economy of all the Lebanese and their free decision," the MP said.

Qadri added that today's parliamentary committee's session will ask Defense Minister Fayez Ghosn about his information on Al-Qaeda operations in Lebanon and in the town of Arsal in particular.

"There are statements that need clarification. We must know from the minister on what basis he made his accusations."

He added that Ghosn must admit he made a mistake when he claimed that Al-Qaeda is operating in Lebanon.

"Today's session is not aimed at scoring points or to widen the rift among the Lebanese but rather to put matters in perceptive."

The MP declined to say if Future bloc will call for parliamentary session to call for the resignation of Ghosn over his false information about Al-Qaeda in Lebanon.

O.H

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Areedi/Hajj-Hassan Inaugurating Baalbek Center
 

Sun 8/01/2012 16:53

NNA - 08/01/2012 - Social Affairs and Agriculture ministers Aridi and Hajj-Hassan, jointly inaugurated The newly-refurbished Baalbek-Hirmel Agricultural Center during a special ceremony today.

Taking the word, minister Aridi reiterated need for casting aside all minor differences between politicians when it comes to servicing the people; differences must be totally forgotten for the sake of preserving people's interests, their dignity and basic daily needs. He also stressed that the approval of offshore oil and gas prospecting law-project sets a pattern and precedent to be emulated as a model by all. Aridi concluded that similar experiments must be generalized.

Minister Hajj-Hassan for his part saw eye-to-eye with his colleague over the need to avert political squabbling and that honoring people's basic interests must serve as a yard stick for future economic achievements. He added that economic development belongs to all. Politically speaking and, in a hint to underlying Sunni/Shi'a divisions, Hajj-Hassan warned against religious-sectarian discourse saying it constitutes a double-edged weapon prone to injure whoever chooses to engage in saber-rattling.

Invited were local deputies, dignitaries, municipal officials and leading Shi'a and Christian clerics.

G.G./R.K

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - "Independent Christian Lobby"
 

Sun 8/01/2012 15:12

NNA - 08/01/2012 - A group calling itself" the Independent Christians" convened a meeting in the seaport town of Jounyeh to deliberate over Christian and Lebanese polarizations prompted by major regional developments.

Having convened at the Lady of Lebanon Convent in Hareesa, politicians from both sides of the Divide reportedly focused on serious repercussions likely to disaffect indigenous Lebanese and Oriental Christians or, whatever the Arab Spring might entail.

Certain speakers expressed concern about changes coming to bear negatively on their destiny and liberty quoting to this effect patriarch Rai's recent warning.

They even spoke about a so-called "independent political platform" outside the pale of rampant political polarizations. Among other things "Independent Christians" opted for a pluralistic state based on a social contract and working paper. Conferees decided on a follow-up meeting on January 20

G.G./R.K

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Moussawi: USA waging war on Syria
 

Sun 8/01/2012 14:39

NNA - 08/01/2012 - Member of the parliamentary bloc of Loyalty to the Resistance, Nawaf Moussawi, said Sunday that the agreement between the Lebanese is more productive than betting on a foreign force that strengthens one party against the other for its own ulterior motives, accusing the USA of plotting the war against Syria.

Moussawi spoke during a political meeting in south Lebanon.

"The Lebanese must learn from history, which has shown that any party in Lebanon, relying on an external force, may benefit temporarily and then suffer a disaster. In this way, our call for dialogue ensures security to the Lebanese, especially since the balance of power in Lebanon is dependent on domestic considerations and not external developments, as some imagine," said the MP.

"The mission of the government is to prevent Lebanon from sliding into civil conflict, as some Western and regional governments encourage for." He urged the cabinet to fulfill its responsibility of building the state and economy in order to reduce the crisis suffered by the citizens and take the initiative to strengthen the Lebanese administration.

Moussawi concluded that Hezbollah believed that a Western-American War was being waged against Syria in order to occupy it, and use its territories as bases to attack other countries in the region, including Iraq.

"This campaign aims to weaken the Russian presence and hit the axis of the Resistance." he said.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Hariri's "enough is enough"!
 

Sun 8/01/2012 14:21

NNA - 08/01/2012 - Saad Hariri's "enough is enough to the Assad regime" signaled his total rapture with Assad against the backdrop of the affective demise of the ruling dynasty. Saad and, in his most recent tweets likened the foggy situation in Lebanon to a passing cloud bound to dissipate soon enough to reveal his "eternal Lebanon of the Cedars.'

He opted for a combative posture in pursuit of his objectives and concluded that Assad must go. Hariri also regarded Assad's threats to the Future TV station as a clear indication of the regime's deep confusion and bankruptcy. He did not however slam the door in the face of a political compromise upcoming February 14 and predicted a belated Hizbullah consent to the STL protocol.

Hariri wrapped up on a note that threats to him and his TV station were smsed by a pro-Syrian agent.

G.G./R.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Daher: borders are not controlled, Ghosn must be held responsible
 

Sun 8/01/2012 14:11

NNA - 08/01/2012 - MP Khaled Daher said Sunday to Voice of Lebanon radio that the lack of any kind of control at the Lebanese-Syrian borders is the fault of the Minister of Defense.

Defense Minister Fayez Ghosn alerted Syrian authorities that Al Qaeda militants were infiltrating their territories via the border town of Arssal. The army retaliated by advising not to publicize critical security issues in media, but to deal with them effectively after investigating their validity.

"The Syrian intelligence services are behind the smuggling taking place across borders," the member of Future Bloc said, adding that Ghosn's claims were unfounded and unproven, and simply served the interest of the Syrian regime.

Regarding the meeting of the Parliamentary Defense Commission, scheduled for Monday to listen to the claims of Minister Ghosn, the MP said, "The duty of MPs is to question ministers, to hold them accountable and hold a confidence vote, but the problem is the whole government belongs to Bashar Assad."

"The country is taken hostage by armed militias," he concluded on a dim note.

 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Rahi encourages Muslims to denounce violence, Lebanese officials to be patriotic
 

Sun 8/01/2012 13:53


NNA - 08/01/2012 Maronite Patriarch Beshara Rahi held Sunday mass at Bkirky whereby he called upon all Lebanese officials to assume their national responsibilities away from sectarianism, and advised Muslim religious figures to denounce and forbid acts of violence.

The Patriarch recently began advocating for establishing Lebanon as a civil and democratic state based on the Taef Accord, which drew the road map of the country's multi-confessional system.

"Officials should not seek privileges for themselves or their sects," Rahi stated, adding that citizenship should be based on fraternity for the sake of enriching national life.

"Lebanon cannot continue to be ruled by politicians divided by sectarian beliefs," he said as he lamented the sad state of affairs in the country's economy.

Rahi loaded Lebanon as a symbol for Muslim-Christian co-existence, maintaining that the Christian presence in the East, which was two thousand years old, validated the truth of Islam and added value to the region.

Following the sermon, a number of guests visited Rahi, including MPs Simon Abi Ramya, Walid Khoury and Abbass Hashim.

R.Z.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Zahra to Topple Government
 

Sun 8/01/2012 13:25

NNA - 08/01/2012 Lebanese Forces parliamentarian, Antoine Zahra, revealed Sunday LF plan to topple Mikati-led cabinet through perfectly peaceful and democratic means.

Interviewed on Voice of Free Lebanon radio station today, Zahra expressed solidarity with the people of Arssal on account of their joining the military and offering sacrifice to prospective nation-building.

The deputy denied LF support of Salafist extremists under pretext of nation-building as stipulated under Taef Accord. He did not, however, rule out imminent LF visits to Arssal and Wadi Khaled but, acknowledged at the same time possible LF and allied failure to secure a vote of confidence in Defense Minister Fayez Ghosn.

He challenged Aounist ministers to produce any evidence testifying to their servicing of vital Christian interests ranging between merit-based appointments and the hydro-electricity file.

The MP questioned Defense Minister Ghosn's notion of AL-Qaeda's using Lebanon as an anti-Syrian operations'-staging theatre arguing that such empty claims were never substantiated.

Zahra urged the Lebanese to take advantage of the Arab Spring and declared the failure of Arab League observers to end Syrian government violence meted against its own civilians. He perceived in Patriarch Beshara Rahi's recent utterances a reversion to the traditional position of the Maronite Church and ended on a note that Labor Minister Charbel Nahhas contradicted vital interests of leading business firms.
G.G./R.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Diab heads to London, Asarta to New York
 

Sun 8/01/2012 11:38

NNA - 08/01/2012 Education Minister Hassan Diab left Beirut Sunday heading to London.

In other news, Commander of UNIFIL Major General Alberto Asarta took off to New York via Paris.

R.Z.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Qadiry warns attack on Sunni sect threatens coexistence
 

Sun 8/01/2012 11:35


NNA - 08/01/2011 MP Ziad Qadiry defended in a statement Sunday the integrity of the Sunni sect, asserting that said attack shakes foundation of common living.

Defense Minister Fayez Ghosn claimed late last year he had information about infiltration of Al Qaeda militants to and from Syria via Lebanese border town of Aarssal, a predominantly Sunni village. These statements were denied by President of the Republic, the Prime Minister and Minister of Interior.

"Terrorism has no creed," said the Future Bloc Parliamentarian who then called upon specialized authorities to limit the issue to security parameters rather than utilize rumors to benefit a faltering Syrian regime.

"There is a political decision to utilize this security dossier as a pressure mechanism on the domestic scene," he accused Cabinet of Najib Mikati of being a tool for regime of Bashar Assad.

R.Z.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Abadi confers with Mansour over developments
 

Sat 7/01/2012 21:16

NNA - 7/1/2012 - Iranian Ambassador to Lebanon, Ghadanfar Rukn Abadi, visited Saturday afternoon Foreign and Expatriates Minister, Adnan Mansour. Talks dwelt on the general regional developments and bilateral relations between Lebanon and Iran.
R.Sh.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Saeid demands clarification from Hout over "Fajr Forces"
 

Sat 7/01/2012 21:11

NNA - 7/1/2012 - March 14th Forces General Secretariat Coordinator, former MP Fares Saeid expressed surprise at MP Imad Hout's indication during a lecture in Akkar that an armed branch pertaining to "Al-Jamaa Al-Islamiya" under the name "Fajr Forces" exists in Lebanon. He quoted MP Hout's words, herein, as saying that 'Fajr Forces" aim at protecting Lebanon in the face of any Israeli or outside attack.
In a statement by Saeid Saturday evening, he stressed that March 14th Forces are struggling for the sake of crossing over to the "State," which alone has the right and prerogative to defend Lebanon! Hence, he stressed that any weapons existing outside the framework of the Lebanese State, under any reason whatsoever, are utterly refused! He added that March 14th Forces hereby demand MP Hout and "Al-Jamaa Al-Islamiya" to clarify such a statement, for the sake of preventing any further media speculation in this respect.
He concluded by stating that March 14th Forces' votes have paved the way for deputies to reach the House of Parliament in their commitment to defending Lebanon and the sovereignty of its decision, and in support of a unified state, free of any illegitimate weapons!
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Abu Faour: Current period entails that efforts embark on boosting internal understanding
 

Sat 7/01/2012 20:02

NNA - 7/1/2012 - Social Affairs Minister, Wael Abu Faour, expressed hope Saturday that the new year would be one of "dialogue and reconciliation" amongst all Lebanese. He hoped it would be a year of "dialogue for the sake of reaching a national understanding that protects all Lebanese at the current stage."
Abu Faour's words came in a chat with media representatives during a Rashaya tour early Saturday. He welcomed the initiatives of communication that have begun between various political forces in Lebanon; citing herein Future Parliamentary Bloc Head, Fuad Siniora's visits to a number of spiritual leaders in the country, as well as the Future deputies delegation visit to House Speaker, Nabih Berry. Abu Faour considered that said meeting has proved the possibility of bringing views closer together over the issue of withdrawing and controlling weapons in various towns; in addition to a number of other matters. He hoped that such communication would grow into an active dialogue under the patronization of the President of the Republic, in a bid to renew understanding between various Lebanese sides; especially during the current dangerous and critical circumstances. Hence, he stressed on the need to have great efforts embarked on boosting internal understanding and reconciliation in the country.
Furthermore, Abu Faour hoped that with the outset of the new year, the government would succeed in launching more productive projects that the Lebanese citizens are dire need for, while keeping all social and economic matters away from political disputes and polemic.
Responding to a question regarding the relation between Hizbollah and the Progressive Socialist Party, in the wake of MP Walid Jumblatt's recent stands vis-�-vis conditions in Syria, Abu Faour ruled out any negative repercussions in this respect. He stressed, herein, on good relations and ongoing contacts with Hizbollah. He added that despite the differences in stands regarding the Syrian issue, yet such differences remain within the framework of understanding and assurances by both sides on maintaining a "good and fruitful relation," Abu Faour noted.
He went on to stress that Syria's interests, as well as that of Lebanon and all Arabs, lie in venturing on the path of the Arab Initiative, since it provides protection to Syria and the region as a whole, he noted.
Over the recent calls for dialogue on the basis of the "Taef Accord" by former Prime Minister Saad Hariri, Abu Faour welcomed such "courageous and positive stands" by Hariri, as he termed them. He added that the "Taef" ought to be the basis of any understanding at the national level.
Regarding recent talk about "Al-Qaeda" presence in Lebanon, Abu Faour stressed that there exists no "engulfing ambience" to the Qaeda in Lebanon! He warned against drowning in matters that are of no benefit whatsoever to Lebanon and the Lebanese.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Sleiman meets with Merhej, El-Bon & Hujeiri
 

Sat 7/01/2012 18:49

NNA - 7/1/2012 - President of the Republic, General Michel Sleiman, met Saturday at Baabda Presidential Palace with former Minister Bshara Merhej. The encounter was a chance to review current developments.
Former MP Mansour El-Bon also called on the President Saturday, with whom he reviewed the general situation on the local scene.
Furthermore, Sleiman met with former Deputy Masoud Al-Hujeiri, who updated him on conditions prevailing in the town of Ersal. The latter stressed that Ersal provides not an engulfing atmosphere to anything but the Lebanese Army itself! He, thus, hoped that Ersal would be set aside from all ongoing polemic in the country.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Sleiman patronizing "Lebanon and Proportional Representation" conference next Monday
 

Sat 7/01/2012 16:02

NNA - 07/01/2012 - Upon an invitation by minister of the Interior and Municipalities Marwan Charbel, President of the Republic, Michel Sleiman, will be patronizing a conference Monday January 9, 2012 titled "Lebanon and Proportional Representation in Law-project for Parliamentary Elections of 2013" as its main theme. The conference will take place at the Phoenicia hotel/Beirut.

Among Baabda Palace activities and itinerant visitors today, has been Minister of Education and Higher Learning, Hassan Diab, who briefed the President regular work at his ministry amid preparations for the appointment of deans at various Lebanese University faculties.

Head of Social Associations and Leagues deemed supportive of the Social Affairs ministry Toufic Ossayran, conferred at Baabda palace with the President over associations' conditions and missions in conjunction with Minister Wael Abou Faour.

The President saw next head of Tripoli as exclusive pedestrian area Association, Hala Fadel. She presented him with a file summing up cultural and artistic activities undertaken by the mentioned project.

Head of al-Wa'ad Party (the Promise) Joseph Hobeika extended to the president an invitation to partake in the 10th commemoration of his slain father Elie Hobeika.

Acting Beirut and North Lebanon District Commissioner, Nassif Qalouch, also briefed the President over regular work-related issues at the various developmental/administrative levels at the ministries concerned.

President Sleiman awarded painter Majd Ramadan a citation in appreciation of his artistic work and achievements.

G.G./R.K.

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Politics - Islamic Council Rejects Border-Trespassing
 

Sat 7/01/2012 15:33

NNA - 07/01/2012 - Sunni Legal Council or Highest religious authority in the country, rejected what it termed as "cross-border trespassing" and warned against "negative repercussions to allegations over al-Qaeda activism in Ersal/North-East Lebanon."

The council and, in a public statement today warned against the gravity of the all-out regional predicament urging the people to stay put vis-a-vis what's been concocted. Council, while rejecting Syrian trespasses in Wadi Khaled called on the government to safeguard its citizens in the face of Syrian threats.

The statement wrapped up on a call on all Islamic, Arab and international human rights organizations concerned to stick to the Arab League initiative in quest of helping out Syrian victims of oppression under their ordeal.

G.G./R.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Aridi against meddling in Syrian affairs
 

Sat 7/01/2012 15:16

NNA - 07/01/2012 Minister of Public Works and Transportation Ghazi Aridi denounced during an interview Saturday attempts to drag Lebanon into the Syrian conundrum via arbitrary claims of presence of Al Qaeda militants in Lebanon, asserting the official stance of the Lebanese government not to meddle in domestic affairs of Syria.

Defense Minister Fayez Ghosn disclosed last month information claiming the infiltration of Al Qaeda members to and from Syria via border towns in North Lebanon, particularly Aarssal. The President, Prime Minister and Minister of Interior denied the validity of this intelligence.

Aridi challenged Ghosn to prove the basis upon which he made his claims. "The most dangerous thing in the phase we are living is a disregard for the State, and a decline in the idea of a State in our minds and practices," he stated.

The Minister warned that these allegations exposed Lebanon to numerous grave dangers. Hence, he called upon security apparatuses to cooperate together to get to the bottom of the matter, at which point only the cabinet would decide the course of things.

R.Z.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved











 

Politics - Hmadeh and Post-Change in Syria!
 

Sat 7/01/2012 14:53

NNA - 7/01/2012 - Oppositionist MP Marwan Hmadeh foretold a reversion to Taef by Lebanese politicians following the demise of the Baathist regime in Damascus.

Hmadeh's predictions came during his visit to pro-Hariri Jama'a Islamiyyah's Aysha Bakkar main office today where he reportedly told Jama'a officials Ibrahim Masri and Wael Najm that any prospective change in Syria would be conducive to "cutting down in size of respective factions in Lebanon as dictated under the Taef Accord."

On prospects of sliding into civil strife, the deputy ruled out such an eventuality saying "politicians are wise enough not to get to that."

Marwan and Jama'a leaders agreed on assisting Syrians displaced by the regime into Lebanon as part of their all-out support for the Syrian revolution.

He accused the Assad regime of orchestrating recent bombings including that of Maydan/Damascus and, urged Gen. Aoun to detach from Hizbullah tutelage. The deputy denied Jama'a involvement in recent South Lebanon rocketing and minimized the impact of Iran's war-games in the straits of Hormoz calling them "pyro-plastic firecrackers" without ruling out the existence of real regional tensions.

G.G./R.K

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Villa Boustros itinerant visitors today
 

Sat 7/01/2012 14:49

NNA - 7/01/2012 - Visiting Maldivian Foreign minister Ahmad Naseem, conferred with Lebanese counterpart Adnan Mansour at his Villa Boustros office today. Both men reportedly explored venues for promoting bilateral relations at all levels.

The distinguished Maldivan visitor extended an invitation to Lebanese homologue Mansour to attend an Arab/ Islamic summit comprising respective ministers of Foreign Affairs which he duly accepted.
The summit is due next August in the Maldives.

G.G./R.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Moussawi: Hezbollah arms to protect Syria if need be
 

Sat 7/01/2012 14:32

NNA - 07/01/2012 Member of Loyalty to the Resistance Bloc, MP Hussein Moussawi, said Saturday that the arms of Hezbollah would defend the righteous cause of the Syrian regime against international meddling if the need arises during a political meeting in Beirut Saturday.

Ten months ago the Arab Spring reached Syria, as multitudes of Syrians took to the streets demanding the ousting of President Bashar Assad. Hezbollah and March 8 Camp stood by the Syrian regime, while March 14 Camp supported the claims of the people for a change in the ruling system and its figures.

"Attempts to open a front from Lebanon against Syrian people, in accordance with orders from Feltman, is the opposite to what Syrians need," said the MP, adding "we warn those who are betting on the fall of our arms that if the situation in Syria deteriorates further, our artillery is one of righteousness in the face of falsehood, and God's path demands the steadfastness of righteousness, and demise of falsehood."

R.Z.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved







 

Politics - Qabalan calls on Syrians to deliberate
 

Sat 7/01/2012 13:31

NNA - 07/01/2012 A statement Saturday by Vice President of the Higher Islamic Shiite Council Sheikh Abdul Amir Qabalan strongly denounced explosion in Damascus as barbaric, inviting Syrian regime and opposition to hold talks.

An explosion shattered Maidan district in central Damascus Friday, as a suicide bomber left 26 people killed and dozens injured, according to Syrian state television.

"This [explosion] falls into the category of mobile terrorism, moving from Iraq to strike Syria's security and stability," said the Cleric.

Qabalan accused intelligence operatives of attempting to sabotage Syrian endeavors to end the crisis, which began ten months ago when Syrians took to the streets demanding the ousting of Bashar Assad.

R.Z.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Mikati heads meeting for comprehensive economic plan
 

Sat 7/01/2012 13:13

NNA - 07/01/2011 Prime Minister Najib Mikati held a meeting Saturday at the Grand Serail with economic issues at its core.

Present at the meeting was Trade and Economy Minister Nicholas Nahhas and a number of economists. Reports stated that an all-inclusive plan would be revealed in the near future.

Mikati and Nahhas also reviewed means of activating the work of the department for the protection of the consumer for further control on quality of goods, particularly food products.

R.Z.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Siniora condemns Damascus attack
 

Sat 7/01/2012 13:09

N.N.A.Jan. 7, 2012 Head of the Hariri-Future Parliamentarian Bloc, Fouad Siniora, condemned the Damascus suicide-bombing describing it as a despicable criminal act of terror.

Commenting on yesterday's attack which left scores of civilians dead or injured, Siniora stated that the only path left for resolving the Syrian crisis lied in leaving the door open for "political change."

He added that terrorism must be condemned outright regardless of the motives or who might have perpetrated them. He duly opted for an independent impartial inquiry capable of unravelling circumstances surrounding the crime, in a bid to bring culprits to justice.

The former P.M. also condemned daily killings of innocent civilians at the hands of the repressive regime, saying such acts were incompatible with the Arab League initiative to which the regime itself actually consented.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved








 

Politics - Qadiri defends patriotism of Aarssal
 

Sat 7/01/2012 11:53

NNA - 07/01/2012 MP Ziad Qadiri asserted Saturday the integrity of the northern border town of Aarssal, during an interview with Future News TV.

Aarssal became a focal point of debate last December when Defense Minister Fayez Ghosn declared that he had information indicating infiltration of Al Qaeda militants from said village into Syria, and vice-versa. The President, PM and Minister of Interior unanimously denied any truth to said statements.

"All indications prove there is no truth to the claims of...Ghosn," said the Future Bloc MP.

Qadiri maintained the nationalism of Aarssal as a genuine Lebanese town that could not be bought and sold to anyone.

R.Z.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Mansour condemns Damascus bomb attack in a call to Al-Moallem
 

Fri 6/01/2012 21:43

NNA - 6/1/2012 - Foreign Affairs and Expatriates Minister, Adnan Mansour, contacted his Syrian Counterpart, Walid Al-Moallem, expressing his condemnation of the criminal terrorist attack that hit the heart of the Syrian Capital Friday. The phone call was a chance to dwell on the latest developments in the region.
R.Sh.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Erslan condemns Damascus bomb attack
 

Fri 6/01/2012 21:01

NNA - 6/1/2012 - MP Talal Erslan condemned the terrorist attack in Damascus earlier Friday. "Hands of evil are attempting by all means and ways to place obstacles in the path of stability and reform in Syria," said Erlan.
Erslan considered that such acts occurring in Syria at this stage aim at killing innocent civilians for the sake of triggering fear in citizens and weakening popular support to Syrian President, Bashar Asad. "This proves that the hidden hands behind such terrorism, belonging to foreign plots of strife and internal extremist plans, are actually trying to tamper with security through creating chaos and shaking stability," he noted.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Hariri: News about my assassination in Riyadh a false rumor!
 

Fri 6/01/2012 18:50

NNA - 6/1/2012 - Former Prime Minister, Saad Hariri, stated Friday that news about his assassination in Riyadh is a false rumor and a "political fabrication!"
Addressing his supporters via the internet "Twitter" site, Hariri reassured them of his presence in Riyadh with his family, adding that such a "psychological war" against him cannot yield any outcome whatsoever! Hariri went on to stress that the Saudi Kingdom is a safe country and shall remain so due to its wise leadership and kind people.
On the other hand, and responding to a question regarding the Lebanese government's decision not to send any Lebanese monitors to partake in the Arab committee in Syria, Hariri stated that "Bashar Asad's government" in Lebanon cannot send monitors to observe the regime in Damascus that has appointed it!
Over the explosion at "Al-Midan Square" in Damascus Friday, Hariri expressed condemnation towards all acts of terrorism. He added, herein, that the Syrian Revolution has revealed the true aims, and has determined the perpetrators. He continued to note that the timing of the explosion came 24 hours prior to the Arab committee's meeting, and the place of the explosion is a prime location for popular movements in Damascus, Hariri added.
Regarding his position vis-�-vis the electoral law, Hariri stated that no stand shall be declared in this respect prior to completing deliberations with his allies within March 14th.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - PSP condemns Damascus bomb attack
 

Fri 6/01/2012 17:43

NNA - 06/01/2012 - Walid Jumblatt's Progressive Socialist Party (PSP) declared that the terrorist attack in the Syrian capital Damascus targeted innocent civilians and as such the Party condemned any act of terrorism whenever wrought against innocent civilians. Such despicable acts of bloodshed could only be deplored in the strongest term possible according to the PSP public statement.

G.G./P.BC.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics- Hizbullah deplores Damascus blast
 

Fri 6/01/2012 16:39

NNA - 06/01/2012 - Hizbullah deplored in strong terms the Damascus blast which claimed lives and injured many people on a busy street early today. The Party commented on the Syrian blast accusing the Americans of involvement in order to cover up for the major drawback they suffered in Iraq.

The Party accused the US of fomenting strife in the Middle Eastern region presumably to punish the regime for siding with the Party in its fight against Israel and the West. Hizbullah perceived today's explosion an expression of the magnitude of the onslaught on Syria and the Syrian role.

The Party also accused Syrian oppositionists of rejecting any notion of reform and offered warm condolences for the victims and their families well-wishing the injured speedy recovery.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Berri meets visitors, discusses Lebanese affairs
 

Fri 6/01/2012 14:53

NNA - 06/01/2012 House Speaker Nabih Berri met Friday afternoon at his Ayn Teeneh residence in Beirut with a number of visitors, with whom he surveyed an array of domestic affairs.

Among the Speaker's visitors were Head of National Dialogue Party, Foad Makhzoumy, Head of Lebanese University, Adnan Sayyed Hussein, and Secretary General of Committee for Islamic-Christian Dialogue, Mohammad Sammak.

R.Z.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Qabalan urges prevention of Syrian bloodbath
 

Fri 6/01/2012 14:50

NNA - 06/01/2012 - Deputy Head of the Shiia Supreme Council, cleric Abdul Amir Qabalan, urged the prevention of a Syrian bloodbath in his Friday sermon today.

While calling on Lebanese compatriots from all sects to coexist in a peaceful country, he urged the Syrian people to cast aside what he termed as "wanton killing." He urged them to do so in the true spirit of Islam. He however expressed disgruntlement at the Arab peace initiative saying their approach is too simplistic and myopic.

Qabalan urged Lebanese compatriots to keep up their talk by constantly deliberating over matters of concern. He concluded that they must work hand-in-hand and shoulder-to-shoulder in quest of immunizing the country.

 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Mansour condemns Damascus explosion, says entire region in danger
 

Fri 6/01/2012 14:34

NNA - 06/01/2012 Minister of Foreign Affairs, Adnan Mansour, denounced in a statement Friday the "terrorist" attack on Damascus, foreshadowing the expansion of said assaults into neighboring countries.

A suicide bombing hit Maidan area in Damascus today, killing 25 and wounding 45 of mostly civilians, state media said. The government accused terrorist groups of said attack. The city suffered a similar attack on December 23 of last year.

"Once again hideous terror strikes at the Syrian capital, indicating a new dangerous phase that does not only affect our sister Syria, but also opens the doors wide open for further terrorism operations across regions and borders," Mansour stated.

R.Z.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - President congratulating Armenians, Copts on Christmas
 

Fri 6/01/2012 13:58

NNA - 06/01/2012 - Lebanese President Michel Sleiman offered Armenians and Copts Christmas greetings, according to the Eastern Church Calendar, well-wishing them many happy returns of the day with Lebanon witnessing all aspired for stability and prosperity.

 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Aram I holds Christmas mass
 

Fri 6/01/2012 13:52

NNA - 06/01/2012 The Armenian community celebrated Christmas Friday with a mass held by Catholicos Aram I at the Armenian Orthodox Catholicosate in Antelias, asserting the right of Christians to thrive in the East as an integral part of its history.

A number of high-ranking Armenian officials attended the sermon, held by head of the Catholicosate of the Great House of Cilicia and Catholicos of the Holy See of Cilicia of the Armenian Apostolic Church, most notably representative of Speaker of the House, MP Hagop Pakradounian.

"We, as Christians, support peaceful movements that call for justice and Muslim-Christian co-existence," said his Holiness. He demanded the preservation of the rights of Eastern Christians as a consecration of the principle of equality and citizenship.

He finally hoped that events in the region do not reflect negatively on Lebanon's domestic situation.

R.Z.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - MP Gengenian: LF targets no one
 

Fri 6/01/2012 13:42

NNA - 06/01/2012 - Lebanese Forces Deputy of the House, Chant Gengenian, stated Forces non involvement in targeting of political opponents.

The Deputy and, in a public statement issued today, responded to al-Manar TV allegations that the LF were targeting Defense Minister Ghosn over the issue of alleged Kaeda staging of operations against Syria via Ersal, Lebanon.

Gengenian added that it was al-Manar itself which targeted the forces rather than the opposite. He challenged both Ministers Ghosn and Bassil to produce any documents in their possession about al-Kaeda saying they must be delivered as quickly as possible to judicial authorities concern.

He accused the same TV station of misinterpreting the real LF position while insisting at the same time on involving his party in story-fabrications.

Gengenian concluded that the issue of al-Kaeda has been purely set up by March 8 to sound reactions of the oppositionist camp. He added that this was tantamount to a diversionary ploy intended to cover up for the failure of Mikati-led cabinet particularly in relation to the question of STL, attacks on UNIFIL, and repeated rocketing from the South.

 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Safadi heads to London, Connelly to US
 

Fri 6/01/2012 13:05

NNA - 06/01/2012 - Finance Minister Mohammad Safadi left Beirut Friday to London aboard his private jet.

In other news, US ambassador to Lebanon, Maura Connelly left to the United States.

P.BC.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Rahi calls on Christians of East to cooperate with Muslims
 

Fri 6/01/2012 11:46

NNA - 06/01/2012 Maronite Patriarch Mar Beshara Boutros Rahi held Friday Epiphany Mass at Bkirky, calling upon Christians of the East to work together with Muslims to build a democratic civil state based on true Arab Spring rather than an imported one.

The Arab Spring, which began in Tunisia and spread over numerous Arab countries, brought along controversial standpoints depending on which country it took over. The Arab Spring of Syria was perhaps the most controversial of all for Lebanese politicians, some siding with the Syrian people, others with the regime of Bashar Assad.

"Religious fundamentalism is transforming the spring to a winter of violence and terror," said Rahi.

On a domestic level, the Patriarch hoped for politicians that did not separate between their duties towards the State and God, "and commit to the cause of peace, human rights and human dignity."

Rahi stated that Lebanon was composed of two cultures, the Muslim and the Christian one, and built on equal and just sharing of power and responsibilities. Thus, he urged all Lebanese to work together for a civil state.

R.Z.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - S.Gemayel sees official formula on Al-Qaeda presence required
 

Thu 5/01/2012 18:41

NNA - 5/1/2012 - Member of Parliament Sami Gemayel on Thursday avowed that the state bears the responsibility to prove whether members of Al-Qaeda are present in Lebanon, following claims by National Defense Minister, Fayez Ghosn, that members of the organization were entering Lebanon under the guise of Syrian opposition activists.

"The state must assume its responsibilities in this regard and the government must put forth an official and definitive formula to prove the presence of Al-Qaeda in the country," Gemayel told a news conference at the American University of Beirut (AUB).

As noting no difference between Al-Qaeda and extremists present in the Palestinian refugees' camps, Kataeb Deputy renewed his rejection of Palestinians' armament inside camps.

Besides, he reiterated utter refusal of Palestinians' settlement in Lebanon.

"We have suggested that the law on rejecting implantation be unanimous in order that it should not be modified afterwards," he maintained.



R.A.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Rahi meets diplomat Aoun
 

Thu 5/01/2012 17:41

NNA - 5/1/2012 - Maronite Patriarch Mar Bechara Boutros Rahi, on Thursday met with the Lebanese ambassador to Jordan, Charbel Aoun, in Bkerki.

R.A.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Siniora sees information about Al-Qaeda presence unsubstantiated
 

Thu 5/01/2012 17:39

NNA - 5/1/2012 - Head of Future parliamentary bloc, Fouad Siniora, on Wednesday said talk about the presence of Al-Qaeda organization in Lebanon was untrue and irresponsible, uttering strong belief that such allegations only aimed to libel the country's reputation and serve interests of the Syrian regime.

Addressing a delegation of Future Movement's Sidon committee, Siniora went down in the annals of time only to rake up Future's history of moderation, starting with the late statesman Rafik Hariri.

He added that [Lebanese] officials had best deploy the Lebanese Army nationwide instead of disseminating Minister Ghosn's allegations.

"Our stance is crystal clear as to the return of the state and its authorities to all the Lebanese regions; no weapons should be present but those of the state," he said.

"When we say this, we do not go back on our main position against Israel," he explained.

On the wage adjustment issue, Siniora deemed the related experience as "bad and painful."

"It must be clear enough that the government is not entitled to trespass legislations which determine the fields of an intervention by the government in a country where employers and employees enjoy the right to free contracting," he said.

Turning to Syria, the Deputy did not fail to remind of the necessity to maintain sound relations with this brotherly country.

"We seek ties with Syria built on mutual respect; our position is firm and unchanging," he said.


R.A.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Berri awarded Grand Cross by Maronite General Council
 

Thu 5/01/2012 17:35


NNA - 05/01/2012 - House Speaker Nabih Berri was awarded on Thursday the Grand Cross medal by the head of the Maronite General Council Wadih Khazen, who himself presented said medal - the highest that could be awarded to senior officials or religious figures.

Khazen visited the Speaker at his residence in Ain Tineh and discussed with him general developments.

Afterwards, Berri received the Saudi Ambassador Ali Awad Assiri, with talks featuring high upon overall developments at the local and regional scenes.

Amongst Berri's visitors: Former Minister Joseph Hashem; and a delegation of the Syriac League Command headed by Habib Ifram.

Separately, Berri received from Saudi Prince Nayif Bin Abdul Aziz a telegram thanking the Speaker for congratulating him on becoming a crown prince.
A.M.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved

 

 

 


 


Politics - Al-Qaeda quandary political par excellence, says Qadiri
 

Thu 5/01/2012 16:15

NNA - 5/1/2012 - Member of Parliament Ziad Qadiri on Thursday said the existing much heated quandary over the presence of Al-Qaeda organization in Lebanon was political par excellence.

Interviewed on New TV channel today, Future Deputy said he would duly question the Mikati-led government and Minister of National Defense, Fayez Ghosn, over his claims last week that members of Al-Qaeda were entering Lebanon under the guise of Syrian opposition activists.

"Ghosn's statements are dangerous," he reckoned.

He pointed that Ghosn would face demands of clarifications during the defense parliamentary commission's session next Monday.

In another development, Qadiri lashed out at campaigns leveled by the Free Patriotic Movement against MP Fouad Siniora, saying they were sheer bids to cover FPM failure in many domestic dossiers.

"The Change and Reform bloc was present in Siniora's government for a year and a half, as well as that of Saad Hariri for the same period; why didn't they raise any of these issues back then? Why now?" he wondered.



R.A.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 


Politics - Mikati assures of good cooperation between Army, UNIFIL
 

Thu 5/01/2012 16:12

NNA - 05/01/2012 - Prime Minister Najib Mikati assured on Thursday that a good sort of cooperation between the Lebanese Army and UNIFIL was on track, indicating that UNIFIL's mission would be deemed as unaccomplished before giving the Lebanese Army all the responsibilities to preserve security in the South.

Mikati's word came Thursday in the context of an honorary ceremony held for the Commander-in-Chief of the UNIFIL Forces, Major General Alberto Asarta, due to the end of his mission, at the Grand Serail.

Asarta, for his part, affirmed that the UNIFIL's activities of serving peace and security in the South would not have been executed if the Lebanese Army had not shown efforts of cooperation in this concern. "The Lebanese Army proved many times its commitment to UN Security Council Resolution 1701," said Asarta.

Separately, Mikati received today at the Grand Serail Agriculture Minister Hussein Hajj Hassan. Both discussed the administrative appointments issue as well as agricultural matters.

Amongst Grand Serail's visitors: Deputy Ghazi Zaeter, UNESCO senior Abdul Munim Othman, and the Greek Ambassador Catherine Bora.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Qahwaji's itinerants today
 

Thu 5/01/2012 15:54

NNA - 5/1/2012 - Lebanese Army Chief General Jean Qahwaji on Thursday met with Member of Parliament Al-Walid Sukkariya over the current general situation.

He later met at his office in Yarze with Baalbeck Parish Priest, Bishop Semaan Atallah, and Director General of Water and Energy Resources, Fadi Qmeir.
R.A.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Sleiman follows up on security, political affairs
 

Thu 5/01/2012 15:37

NNA - 5/1/2012 - President of the Republic, Michel Sleiman, on Thursday ventured into an array of political and security affairs with his itinerant visitors at Baabda presidential palace.

On the much heated appointments issue, the President maintained the obligation to hold onto the adopted mechanism, hence voicing utter refusal of the one-basket logic.

Sleiman told a visiting delegation of Press Syndicate Board today that the government had achieved paramount dossiers such as the recuperation of nationality, separation of the legislative and executive powers, project decrees to implement a law to administer oil sector, the electricity plan, and the project to support most deprived households.

He added that the cabinet was to resume discussions over draft laws on legislative elections, state budget, and administrative decentralization.

On the national dialogue item, the President noted positivity as to re-launching this much-desired gathering.

Besides, he avowed that security apparatuses were fully assuming their duties, stressing the necessity to eschew the formation of an environment favorable for terrorism.

Foreign Minister Adnan Mansour had been to Baabda palace today for a meeting with the President over the current general situation and diplomatic ties between Lebanon and foreign countries.

Sleiman later received a delegation of the Organizing Committee of the Conference on Cluster Munitions.

He also met with Army Intelligence Chief, General Edmond Fadel, who briefed him on the security situation in a number of regions and localities.



R.A.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Hajjar: Ghosn paying lip service to Syria
 

Thu 5/01/2012 14:14

NNA - 5/1/2012 MP Mohammad Hajjar Thursday deemed Minister Fayez Ghosn's statements on Al-Qaeda members' presence in Lebanon to be in favor of the Syrian regime.

Hajjar hoped House Speaker Nabih Berri would allow opposition to practice its monitoring role and noted that security incidents were organized and well prepared, so as to create chaos.

He told the Voice of Lebanon radio that Syria's unrest would be internationalized, in case of non-abidance to Arab initiative obligations.


L.W.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Aridi tackles developments with Al-Masri
 

Thu 5/01/2012 13:58

NNA - 5/1/2012 - Jamaa Islamiya Secretary General, Ibrahim Al-Masri, received Thursday the Public Works and Transportation Minister, Ghazi Aridi, with whom he tackled the situation in Lebanon.

Both men agreed on the importance of fortifying the national and Islamic scenes what guarantees stability and immunizes Lebanon in the face of strife.
L.Y.R.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - (updated) Sheikh Mirza invites Rahi to participate in Najaf International Day conference
 

Thu 5/01/2012 13:23

NNA - 5/1/2012 - Maronite Patriarch, Bechara Boutros Rahi, received Thursday a delegation of Najaf scholars on the occasion of nominating Al-Najaf Al-Ashraf as the capital of Islamic culture for 2012.

The delegation was headed by Sheikh Ali Mirza who invited Rahi to take part in Najaf International Day conference to be held in few months at Al-Najaf Al-Ashraf.

Sheikh Mirza hoped peace reigns over Lebanon and Iraq as well as over all countries going through unrest.

Later on, Patriarch Rahi received Environment Minister, Nazem Al-Khoury, who praised Rahi's role in reactivating dialogue between the countries factions and re-gathering Christians under the one and only goal which is Lebanon's higher interest.

Khoury highlighted the coordination between Patriarch Rahi and President Michel Sleiman in this crucial stage.

Separately, Rahi received former MP Mekhayel Al-Daher with whom he tackled the electoral law and the administrative appointments topics. Daher assured that the criteria that ought to be adopted by the Lebanese at this level are knowledge, education and competence.

Also, the Patriarch tackled with former parliament member Nuhad Souaid affairs related to Jbeil region's churches.

Deputy Robert Ghanem, who had also been to Bkirki patriarchate, praised the role of Rahi in boosting Christians' reunion, describing them as "the major component of the Lebanese entity's formula."
D.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Awar, Daoud censure Jumblatt's anti-Assad stances
 

Thu 5/01/2012 12:59

NNA - 5/01/2011 - MP Fadi Awar on Thursday joined his voice to that of former MP Faysal Daoud, deprecating MP Walid Jumblatt's anti-Assad rule stances.

In a coordination meeting between Awar and the Lebanese-Arab Nidal Movement Secretary General, both men agreed that Jumblatt's most recent stances on Syria's unrest unveiled the PSP leader's crystal-clear meddling in Syria's internal affairs.

"His incessant calls to defeat the Syrian regime, and his bias support to the conspiracy against Syria, are no longer secret to anyone," a statement issued following the meeting read.

Both men also suggested that Jumblatt's erratic stances were the end-result of US dictates. "He wagers on the collapse of the Syrian regime, realizes his miscalculations, apologizes (...) to later betray Syria all over again."

Responding to Jumblatt's incitement of Syrian Druze against Assad's rule, both MPs stressed in their statement that Jumblatt represented no one "but himself and his supporters."

"Syrian Druze pay no attention to his [Jumblatt's] stances, they don't even take them into consideration. To the contrary, they sneer at his words," the statement said, expressing the Syrian Druze's utter refusal to be exploited by Jumblatt to the interest of either side.
L.Y.R.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Qabbani: Oil Exploration decision achievement to Lebanon
 

Thu 5/01/2012 12:29

NNA - 5/1/2012 - Head of Water and Energy Committee MP Mohamad Qabbani said that approving oil exploration decree is an achievement to Lebanon and not only to energy ministry.

"Oil exploration is an achievement to all Lebanon and not only to energy ministry", the MP stressed on Thursday to "Fagr" radio.

The Deputy called on all sides not to score points in oil file.

Qabbani warned of foreign ambition on Lebanese oil, calling on the state to stay alert and to refuse negotiation with Cyprus unless on the basis of demarcating southern borders with Israel, stressing not to offer maritime or oil concessions.

The MP called on the concerned sides to form quickly oil sector regulatory committee within a week or two, announcing his readiness to positively cooperate in this field.

A.A.M

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Sheikh Mirza invites Rahi to participate in Najaf International Day conference
 

Thu 5/01/2012 12:22

NNA - 5/1/2012 - Maronite Patriarch, Bechara Boutros Rahi, received Thursday a delegation of Najaf scholars on the occasion of nominating Al-Najaf Al-Ashraf as the capital of Islamic culture for 2012.

The delegation was headed by Sheikh Ali Mirza who invited Rahi to take part in Najaf International Day conference to be held in few months at Al-Najaf Al-Ashraf.

Sheikh Mirza hoped peace reigns over Lebanon and Iraq as well as over all countries going through unrest.

Later on, Patriarch Rahi received Environment Minister, Nazem Al-Khoury, who praised Rahi's role in reactivating dialogue between the countries factions and re-gathering Christians under the one and only goal which is Lebanon's higher interest.

Khoury highlighted the coordination between Patriarch Rahi and President Michel Sleiman in this crucial stage.
D.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Zahra: We are ready to discuss issue of illegal arms
 

Thu 5/01/2012 11:54

NNA - 5/1/2012 - Member of Parliament Antoine Zahra told "Al Sharq Radio" on Thursday that March 14 is willing to discuss the issue of weapons in the next round of the national dialogue provided that the other party (Hezbollah) is ready to debate this matter with the rest of the Lebanese.

"March 14 is ready at any moment to discuss the issue of illegal arms provided that March 8 or more precisely the ones who are carrying these weapons are willing to seriously debate this matter," the MP said.

He reiterated his demand to implement the previous agreements reached between the different parties on disarming the Palestinian military positions outside the refugee camps.

Zahra did not pin any hope on this government because it was created to serve the interest of the Syrian regime.

He highlighted the delicate problems along the Syrian borders and to the difficulties Lebanese exporters are facing.

"March 14 is also following up the attempts of Defense Minister (Fayez Ghosn) to involve Lebanon in the Syrian conflict," he added.

The MP was alluding to the Ghosn's claims that Al-Qaeda members were operating from Lebanon.

Zahra said that the Lebanese Forces' MPs have sent a request to the Parliament to question Ghosn about his allegation on the presence of Al-Qaeda members in Lebanon.

He wondered why the security forces and army did not round up the suspected Al-Qaeda members if they truly existed in Lebanon.

The MP said the government is in a pathetic state, noting the constant bickering and wrangling between the ministers over many controversial issues such as the wages, administrative appointments and other crucial matters.

Zahra warned that March 8 and especially Hezbollah will not hesitate to trigger a conflict in Lebanon to ease the pressure on the Syrian regime.

O.H

NNA 2012 All rights reserved























 

Politics - Salhab: Showdown over wage hike saga farfetched
 

Thu 5/01/2012 11:26

NNA - 5/01/2011 - Member of Parliament Salim Salhab on Thursday ruled out a showdown over the wage hike saga, affirming that the Labor Minister has taken the Shura Council's remarks into account.

The State Shura Council rejected a wage hike plan put forth by Labor Minister Cahrbel Nahhas suggesting to increase the minimum wage to LL868,000 - a sum that includes a LL236,000 transportation allowance. The Council argues that any attempt to add the daily transportation allowance, as a fixed part of the monthly salary, is against the law.

"He [Nahhas] will propose a new facilitated wage law that doesn't wrangle with the wages policy," Salhab told the Voice of Lebanon - Freedom and Dignity - radio.

Albeit, Nahhas said that the Free Patriotic Movement's committee, tasked to scrutinize the Shura Council's comments on Nahhas's plan, shall forward the outcome of its discussions to Nahhas, to be reviewed during the forthcoming cabinet session.

As for pending appointments, Salhab said unanimous agreement had been reached pertaining to a number of posts, where as there still remains incongruity regarding some other vacant positions.

"There is no agreement reached thus far along with FPM's allies over the presidency of the senior judicial council."
L.Y.R.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Merehbi: Ghosn statements bear no proof
 

Thu 5/01/2012 11:18

NNA - 5/1/2012 - MP Mouin Merehbi Thursday said that Minister Fayez Ghosn's declarations about members of Al-Qaeda entering Lebanon bore no proof.

The MP expressed sorrow over the recurrence of such a phenomena inside Sunnite regions.

He told Voice of Lebanon radio that Ghosn's words were a cover up to the bomb attackthat shook Damascus.

Merehbi impelled the government to conduct actual inquiry into the presence of Al-Qaeda in Lebanon as well as into the death of three Lebanese in Wadi Khaled last week.

Also, he shed light on Hezbollah's possession of weapons in Lebanon and said that this party controls aerial and land crossings therefore it is answerable for terrorists' members' entry into Lebanon.
L.W.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Geagea discusses latest developments with Mashnouk
 

Thu 5/01/2012 11:07

NNA - 5/1/2012 - "Lebanese Forces" head Samir Geagea discussed latest developments on the Lebanese and regional scenes with Deputy Nuhad Mashnouk on Thursday at his residence.

Later, Geagea met with Lebanese University delegation.

Geagea urged the students to continue their activities in helping their friends at LU, thanking their support and help to all students irrespective of their political affiliation.

A.A.M

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Politics - Aswad: Mikati bets on time to determine files
 

Thu 5/01/2012 10:53

NNA - 5/1/2012 - Deputy Ziad Aswad said that Prime Minister Najib Mikati is betting on time to take action on the pending files issue.

Aswad suggested that the differences over some files are not purely innocent but rather stem from various political tactics.
"The aim of such acts is to move with Mikati's cabinet from a bitter reality to a better one where law is implemented", the MP pointed out on Thursday to "Voice of Lebanon" radio.

The MP said that "Change and Reform" bloc would remain in the cabinet to achieve what it can, stressing that "it is not wise to stay without a cabinet amid the regional crisis".

A.A.M

NNA 2012 All rights reserved

 







 

 

Politics - Tarek Rabaa's family call for an outcry over the arrogant and spiteful conspirators in Lebanon.
 

Thu 5/01/2012 10:47

NNA - 5/1/2012 - After 1.5 year of imprisoning the engineer Tarek Omar Rabaa, there's a suspicious insistence to keep Tarek in custody though the court has any conviction evidences and has no confession. As the military court is still refusing to release Tarek who is being prosecuted based on a wrong and irrelevant indictment, we have appointed Saturday, January 7, 2012 the day for an outcry over those oppressors and conspirators to bring them to prosecution and to ask for a promptly release of Tarek.

In spite of interrogating Tarek publicly in the court last year and after submitting to the court forensic evidences which prove that Tarek is oppressed and he is a victim of conspiracies and press conferences, our documents with no doubt eliminate their allegations and cancel their indictment. In this context, the continuity of the prosecution and the insistence on not releasing Tarek becomes suspicious and push us to ask the Lebanese people the following question:

What's going on in the case of Tarek? Is it retaliation, revenge and personal passions? Is it to cover what had happened with Tarek, happening and will happen?

To those spiteful conspirators and oppressors we say: "we are the Lebanese patriotic people, we are Tarek Rabaa's supporters who demand to urgently release him and to close this empty file promptly in order to prevent drifting the explanations to another direction.

From another side, we refuse Alfa's intentional neutral position which has directly contributed to the mystification of truth and to the uncover of Tarek's innocence.

Till now, Alfa didn't announce to the public that Tarek has no access neither to CDR (Call Data Registry) nor to the OSS. Also Alfa know the French number which contacted Tarek in 2007 when he was attending a training course at Alcatel-Lucent University based on its orders; yet Alfa is remaining silent. Why Alfa? Is it like this you compensate an employee who had served you 16 years sincerely and consciously? A question mark on the real intentions of Alfa's which is a subsidiary of Orascom holding, the Egyptian company and who is behind them.

Based on that, we invite every honest Lebanese who loves Lebanon to rally peacefully on Saturday, January 7, 2012 at 12:00 pm in front of the military in Beirut to raise Tarek's voice high against oppression, the oppressors and the conspirators.
We also kindly invite all national and international media to cover our patriotic movement.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


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