04/22/2021, 10.53
LEBANON
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Eastern Catholic Churches join Patriarch Raï and invoke international conference on Lebanon

The Council of Catholic Patriarchs and Bishops met yesterday in Bkerké. The birth of a "salvation" government that is "free from partisan interference" is a priority. The frontal war between President Aoun and the interim prime minister Hariri, who is meeting the Pope today. The power vacuum slows investigations into the double explosion at the port of Beirut.

Beirut (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The Council of Eastern Catholic Patriarchs and Bishops supports the proposal launched by the Maronite primate, Card. Beshara Raï, for an international conference on Lebanon and the formation of a government "free from partisan interference".

The Eastern Catholic dignitaries of the land of cedars, gathered yesterday in Bkerké and in a note issued following the meeting call for a global initiative to resolve the internal crisis and favour the birth of an executive "of salvation and free from any possible political or party interference".

Chaired by the Maronite patriarch, the meeting saw the participation of the Greek-Catholic patriarch Youssef Absi, the Syrian-Catholic patriarch Ignace Younan and numerous bishops and personalities of the Eastern Church.

Those present recalled that the country has been without a government in office with full powers since 10 August 2020 and that the formation of the new executive has sparked a frontal war of competences and attributions of powers between the head of state Michel Aoun and the Prime Minister in charge. Saad Hariri, today in Rome where he will meet Pope Francis.

On behalf of the Council Fr. Claude Nadra stressed that "Lebanon has lost its sovereignty" and "political forces are unable to sit at the same table", which is why "the organization of an international conference" under the aegis of the UN is increasingly necessary. He added that this initiative is "mandatory to defend" the Lebanese people and to enforce "international resolutions" that have never entered into force (in particular UN 1559).

Catholic leaders also called for the establishment of a new government "capable of making decisions and getting to work", putting an end to a crisis that has lasted for over eight months, insisting that "neutrality" must remain "the identity of Lebanon."

The meeting also discussed the socio-economic crisis that has caused "hunger, misery, poverty and rampant unemployment" in the country. A situation that is not due "only to the new coronavirus pandemic, but to the absence of a government".

A power vacuum that is also at the root of the slowness of the investigation into the twin explosion at the port on 4 August, while the families of the victims and injured are still awaiting the compensation promised by the state.

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