26 June 2008

* FM meets with P.Suleiman

Mr. Fouad Makhzoumi meets with President Suleiman to congratulate him and to urge the maintenance of national unity and civil peace.

The head of the National Dialogue Party, Mr. Fouad Makhzoumi, stated his opinion that Lebanon needs, for the sake of its people, to get itself out of the crisis surrounding the formation of the national unity government and to work for the improvement of the social, health and economic problems facing the country.

Mr. Makhzoumi’s statement came during his meeting with President Suleiman at the presidential palace in Baabda, during which he congratulated him on his presidency, and reiterated the total confidence held by the National Dialogue Party in the president and his leadership abilities. Mr. Makhzoumi remained wary of the possibility that the role laid out for the president would be limited to simply managing the crisis and that Lebanon and the Lebanese people would face a new chapter of continued problems and disputes similar to those with which they have been battling for the past three years.

Mr. Makhzoumi stated that whatever the intentions of the various political groups behind the congestions and difficulties facing the creation of the government, whether personal, factional, regional of international, this state of procrastination which has gone on for so long and the devastation of the spirits of the Lebanese people must be dealt with. Mr. Makhzoumi emphasized that President Suleiman should serve as the guarantor of national unity and the keeper of civil peace. 


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Lebanon Time-Line

Introducing Lebanon

Coolly combining the ancient with the ultramodern, Lebanon is one of the most captivating countries in the Middle East. From the Phoenician findings of Tyre (Sour) and Roman Baalbek's tremendous temple to Beirut's BO18 and Bernard Khoury's modern movement, the span of Lebanon's history leaves many visitors spinning. Tripoli (Trablous) is considered to have the best souk in the country and is famous for its Mamluk architecture. It's well equipped with a taste of modernity as well; Jounieh, formerly a sleepy fishing village, is a town alive with nightclubs and glitz on summer weekends.

With all of the Middle East's best bits - warm and welcoming people, mind-blowing history and considerable culture, Lebanon is also the antithesis of many people's imaginings of the Middle East: mostly mountainous with skiing to boot, it's also laid-back, liberal and fun. While Beirut is fast becoming the region's party place, Lebanon is working hard to recapture its crown as the 'Paris of the Orient'.

The rejuvenation of the Beirut Central District is one of the largest, most ambitious urban redevelopment projects ever undertaken. Travellers will find the excitement surrounding this and other developments and designs palpable - and very infectious.

Finally, Lebanon's cuisine is considered the richest of the region. From hummus to hommard (lobster), you'll dine like a king. With legendary sights, hospitality, food and nightlife, what more could a traveller want?

Introducing Beirut

What Beirut is depends entirely on where you are. If you’re gazing at the beautifully reconstructed colonial relics and mosques of central Beirut’s Downtown, the city is a triumph of rejuvenation over disaster.

If you’re in the young, vibrant neighbourhoods of Gemmayzeh or Achrafiye, Beirut is about living for the moment: partying, eating and drinking as if there’s no tomorrow. If you’re standing in the shadow of buildings still peppered with bullet holes, or walking the Green Line with an elderly resident, it’s a city of bitter memories and a dark past. If you’re with Beirut’s Armenians, Beirut is about salvation; if you’re with its handful of Jews, it’s about hiding your true identity. Here you’ll find the freest gay scene in the Arab Middle East, yet homosexuality is still illegal. If you’re in one of Beirut’s southern refugee camps, Beirut is about sorrow and displacement; other southern districts are considered a base for paramilitary operations and south Beirut is home to infamous Hezbollah secretary general, Hassan Nasrallah. For some, it’s a city of fear; for others, freedom.

Throw in maniacal drivers, air pollution from old, smoking Mercedes taxis, world-class universities, bars to rival Soho and coffee thicker than mud, political demonstrations, and swimming pools awash with more silicone than Miami. Add people so friendly you’ll swear it can’t be true, a political situation existing on a knife-edge, internationally renowned museums and gallery openings that continue in the face of explosions, assassinations and power cuts, and you’ll find that you’ve never experienced a capital city quite so alive and kicking – despite its frequent volatility.