The Lebanese Center for Human Rights (CLDH) is a local non-profit, non-partisan Lebanese human rights organization in Beirut that was established by the Franco-Lebanese Movement SOLIDA (Support for Lebanese Detained Arbitrarily) in 2006. SOLIDA has been active since 1996 in the struggle against arbitrary detention, enforced disappearance and the impunity of those perpetrating gross human violations.

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July 22, 2011

The Daily Star - Lebanon's Arabic press digest - July 22, 2011

Following are summaries of some of the main stories in a selection of Lebanese newspapers Friday. The Daily Star cannot vouch for the accuracy of these reports.
A-Akhbar: Williams warns against sectarian clashes in Lebanon
While the Lebanese are busy in a row over land survey in Lassa [Jbeil] and refusing to sit at one table to talk with each other, there came Michael Williams, the U.N. special coordinator for Lebanon, from New York warning against sectarian clashes in Lebanon as a result of the uprising in Syria.
But sounding the alarm did not reveberate in Lebanon. Despite Williams’ warning, Lebanese remained busy with the dispute over land survey in Lassa.
Al-Mustaqbal: Harb: Qortbawi’s comments violated Lebanon obligations
Negative government signs regarding STL
The government which has just embarked on its mission, goes on vacation with Prime Minister Najib Mikati and several other Cabinet ministers going on a holiday. The ruling party [Hezbollah], however, is present to cover up violations and fill gaps during the vacationers’ absence - whether regarding the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, the Lassa incidents, national dialogue or public appointments which the opposition [March 14] believe are not based on efficiency and transparency, but on a quota system.
Meanwhile, a statement made by Justice Minister Shakib Qortbawi in which he said “the decision regarding arrest warrants issued by the STL is in the hands of Cabinet” shocked political and legal circles in Lebanon, as it contradicted the text of the agreement between the STL and the government of Lebanon, which gave Lebanon’s state prosecutor the exclusive prerogatives decisions on correspondence and memorandum issued by the tribunal.
In this regard, former Labor Minister Butros Harb was surprised by Qortbawi’s statement and stressed in remarks to Al-Mustaqbal that “Lebanon’s commitment to STL resolutions is no longer a political issue discussed in Cabinet which is a political institution."
Harb said the “issue of cooperation was still in effect between the Lebanese judiciary and the STL unless Cabinet decides to stop cooperation with the tribunal.”
As-Safir: Williams warns against sectarian clashes as a result of Syria turmoil
U.N: Lebanon seven years too late in oil exploration
Nawaf Salam: 8000 Israeli violations of 1701 ... And a call to arm the military
Lebanon hastened steps to strengthen the issue of maritime economic borders as Michael Williams briefed the U.N. Security Council on Lebanon and warned against sectarian clashes as a result of the upheaval in Syria.
Significantly, Western diplomatic sources in Beirut said successive visits by U.S. envoy Frederick Hoff to Beirut who was officially tasked to follow up on the Lebanese-Israeli maritime border issue in the company of a number of cartographers and experts in survey work, is a clear indication that Washington is interested in the oil and gas issue in the region, on the one hand, and ensuring a secure and stable environment for any U.S. investment in this sector in the future, on the other.
The sources said that the main objective of Hoff’s visits is to ensure that oil is a source for investment and stability and not vice versa.
Energy Minister Jibran Bassil told As-Safir that the government has made the oil and gas issue a priority.
"We expect to complete the procedure soon,” Bassil said. “We were able to finish the unfinished work between 2007 and 2011 in just a few weeks, and if we continue to work at this speed, it would be a great success to the government.”
In response to a question, Bassil said that “if the U.N. is unable to implement the international law and impose respect for international law, this means that it is setting a precedent – establishing a rule allowing chaos to prevail in maritime and non-maritime borders at the global level.”
“There are those who are trying to portray Israel as the world's empire and that the international community must set up laws to appease it,” Bassil added.
“But neither the U.N. nor any country in the world can manipulate Lebanon’s economic borders,” Bassil warned.
Meanwhile, Lebanon’s ambassador to the U.N. Nawaf Salam rejected Israeli allegations about arms smuggling, citing a report by U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, and called on the international community and friendly countries to continue to help enhance Lebanese military capabilities to enable it to carry out the tasks entrusted to it.
An-Nahar: “False witnesses” after Lebanese response to STL
Jumblatt phones Hariri, reiterates call for dialogue
Williams fears Syria turmoil could have consequences on Lebanon
Feltman: I was told that search is underway to arrest murder suspects
The country went on an early holiday after three Cabinet meetings resulted in the appointment of the first batch of public appointments considered to be urgent as preparations were under way to approve the second batch of Grade A civil service posts.
The sources noted in this regard that there were different viewpoints within the majority camp on the issue of “false witnesses” despite hints by Prime Minister Najib Mikati suggesting the possibility of bringing up the issue again. Some of the forces represented in the government, however, showed no desire in rushing to tackle the issue of “false witnesses” before the 30-deadline to carry out the arrest warrants issued by the STL against four Hezbollah suspects in the 2005 assassination of statesman Rafik Hariri.
Information made available to official sides said France and the U.S. were readying to restrict or suspend military aid to Lebanon depending on how the Lebanese government would deal with the STL request to arrest the murder suspects.
In the absence of any significant political development, An-Nahar has learned that the head of the National Struggle Front MP Walid Jumblatt, who returned along with Cabinet Minister Ghazi Aridi from a visit to Moscow, telephoned former Prime Minister Saad Hariri Thursday afternoon to thank him for his recent interview with MTV.
Jumblatt did not reveal details of the phone call, but he told An-Nahar: “I heard touching words from him [Hariri] and I do not wish to reveal them.”
Jumblatt said that Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, whom he met in Moscow, welcomed Hariri’s remarks that he would not close the door to dialogue with Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah.
Jumblatt also stressed “Russia’s aid to Lebanon in the military sector,” saying the assistance was under way and that Moscow “was even ready to assist in the railway sector.”
On the STL, Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Jeffrey Feltman said: “As I understand it, and as I was told, the search is under way to arrest the suspects. It’s the responsibility of the Lebanese government.”
Feltman said the United States “intends to continue to support the Lebanese Armed Forces if it continues to maintain sovereignty over all Lebanese territory.”

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