Lebanon minister apologizes to Egypt for insulting its cleanliness

A view of the Pyramids of Giza on the southwestern outskirts of the Egyptian capital of Cairo. (AFP)
Updated 06 November 2018
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Lebanon minister apologizes to Egypt for insulting its cleanliness

  • Avedis Guidanian complained that negative media reports about Lebanon were harming his country’s image and hindering tourism
  • Guidanian apologized for his disparaging remarks and visited the Egyptian ambassador to Lebanon

BEIRUT: Lebanon’s tourism minister has apologized to Egypt after criticizing the country’s cleanliness and living conditions in a newspaper interview, Lebanon’s state news agency NNA said.
Caretaker Tourism Minister Avedis Guidanian, in the interview published on Monday by Lebanon’s English-language Daily Star, complained that negative media reports about Lebanon were harming his country’s image and hindering tourism.
“Look at Egypt — is there a place dirtier than it? People are louder than us, there is more traffic than here — people live in graves, OK? But there is tourism, because they know how to sell the country,” Guidanian said.
Late on Monday Guidanian apologized for his remarks and visited the Egyptian ambassador to Lebanon on Tuesday, NNA said.
In Egypt, pro-government TV talk show host Ahmed Moussa said he “does not care for his apology,” but stressed the good relations between the people of Egypt and Lebanon. Moussa dismissed the minister as a “fool” and said the Lebanese government should “intervene.”
An official diplomatic source said the minister’s statement in the newspaper “does not reflect the position of Lebanon as a country or government, nor the Lebanese people.”
“The Lebanese people come to Egypt for tourism in large numbers,” the source added.
A Lebanese tourist in Egypt was sentenced in July to eight years in prison after authorities said she had insulted the country in a Facebook video post. The tourist, Mona el-Mazboh, had made a series of complaints including of sexual harassment. Her sentence was reduced in September to one year and suspended, and she left Egypt.
Lebanon has been without a government for six months since parliamentary elections, holding up vital reforms and raising fears for the economy. Prime Minister-designate Saad Al-Hariri has so far been unable to find consensus among rival political parties to form a national unity government.


Tripoli ceasefire remains steadfast despite recent clashes: UN Libya envoy

Updated 23 min 38 sec ago
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Tripoli ceasefire remains steadfast despite recent clashes: UN Libya envoy

  • Fighting broke out this week between rival armed groups in the south of the capital

UNITED NATIONS: A cease-fire in Tripoli remains steadfast despite heavy recent clashes, UN Envoy to Libya Ghassan Salamé told the Security Council on Friday.

Fighting broke out this week between rival armed groups in the south of the capital, breaching a shaky ceasefire brokered by the UN in September.

In a comprehensive bbriefing, Salamé said the UN mission in libya was cooperating with the Libyan Reconciliation Government to transfer control of prisons to the authority of the state, but armed groups are assuming responsibility for law enforcement rather than official Libyan bodies.
He also said new divisions emerge in Libya every day that should be dealt with.
Salamé said the country can not succeed without a united national leadership, calling on Libyan parties to cooperate constructively to approve and pass the UN backed constitution. Libya has been split between rival parliaments, one in tripoli and one in Benghazi, since a civil war erupted during the downfall of former ruler Muammar Qaddafi.
The UN envoy said “we need additional effort to establish a stable and prosperous economic system in Libya,” adding that the Libyan currency has gained stability, inflation has decreased and progress has been achieved in resolving the liquidity crisis.
He said the UN mission stressed the importance of allowing aid to civilians in Libya without hindrance, noting that all Libyans suffer from violations, violence and difficult humanitarian conditions.
“Without international support, the saboteurs will succeed in undermining the political process in Libya,” he added.
Finally, Salamé said they expect the UN office in Benghazi, in the east, to be reopened before the end of January