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» 01/16/2008
LEBANON
For Cardinal Sfeir Lebanon’s president must be elected in accordance with Lebanon’s constitution
The Maronite patriarch criticises a proposal made by Hizbullah and General Aoun for the direct election of the head of state, saying that he supports “a Lebanese solution in the first place, an Arab solution as a second choice and an international solution as a third option.” Ruling alliance rejects Hizbullah’s call for an “Islamic government.”

Beirut (AsiaNews) – Lebanon’s president ought to be elected in accordance with the constitution, which is to say by parliament, Maronite Patriarch Nasrallah Sfeir said. “We support a Lebanese solution in the first place,” he stressed, “an Arab solution as a second choice and an international solution as a third option.”

Speaking in the wake of the latest car bombing, which killed three people and injured a dozen more, and on the eve of the return of the Arab League chief bringing that organisation’s plan to get General Michel Suleiman elected head of state, the cardinal explicitly rejected a demand made by Hizbullah leader Nasrallah and Free Patriotic Movement's General Aoun for the direct election of the president by the people.

In receiving a delegation of Lebanese newspaper editors headed by Melhem Karam, chairman of the Lebanese Editors Syndicate, Cardinal Sfeir said that an “international solution could be bad for Lebanon, but it cannot fail."

“In the past Syria’s presence was the main obstacle. Today the obstacle comes from within Lebanon but that does not mean that foreigners are not involved. The Syrian presence in Lebanon, which had been a military presence, has currently changed into a political presence. [. . .] What can be done? The truth is that some Lebanese are going to great lengths to help the foreign solution that is not good for Lebanon.”

Meanwhile the 14 March Movement has explicitly endorsed the mission of Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa. For the alliance that holds a majority in Lebanon’s parliament the election of Suleiman “is a priority” and the prime element in the Arab initiative to solve the Lebanese crisis, which also involves the formation of a national unity government and a new election law.

However, establishing a new cabinet remains the stumbling block insofar as the opposition has subordinated its support for General Suleiman on the number of seats it can get in the new executive.

For its part the ruling alliance has rejected Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah's confused reference to an Islamic government, saying that such words “worry a big portion of the Lebanese” and are out of step with Lebanon’s reality. (PD)


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See also
01/18/2008 LEBANON
A ray of hope as Moussa gets Hariri and Aoun to meet
05/12/2008 LEBANON
After winning the armed confrontation, Hizbollah is preparing to cash in politically
by Paul Dakiki
01/11/2007 LEBANON
Bishops act to end divisions between Maronite political leaders
by Yousef Hourany
01/03/2008 LEBANON
A “hateful political climate” prevails as paralysis encourages emigration, say Maronite bishops
by Paul Dakiki
12/19/2006 LEBANON
Maronite bishops urge Christian leaders to reconcile
by Youssef Hourany

Editor's choices
VATICAN
Pope: I am with the persecuted Christians of Mosul and the Middle East "May the God of peace inspire in all a genuine desire for dialogue and reconciliation. Violence is never defeated with violence. Violence is defeated with peace." At the Sunday Angelus Francis comments on the parable of the wheat and the weeds. God is "patient" He knows "the same weeds in the end, may become good wheat". But "at the time of the harvest, that is, of judgment, the reapers will execute the order of the master separating the weeds to be burned".
CHINA - VATICAN
Beijing, seminarians desert graduation ceremony: We will not celebrate Mass with illegitimate bishops The rector of the seminary is the illegitimate bishop Joseph Ma Yinglin: Students refuse to concelebrate with him and reject Msgr. Fang Xingyao, who has participated in several illegal episcopal ordinations. The directors close the year without awarding diplomas and send students home: rumors of some courses being "suspended" in September. The precedent of 2000, when 130 young students chose fidelity to the Pope over compromise with the government.
HONG KONG-CHINA-VATICAN
Card Zen: Religious freedom and civil liberties are united, for China and Hong Kong
by Bernardo CervelleraA wide ranging conversation with the bishop emeritus of Hong Kong: the courage of Msgr. Ma Daqin, who sent a message to Pope Francis; underground Catholics are also prepared to be arrested; suspicions about Beijing’s sincerity towards possible dialogue with the Holy See. And in Hong Kong, the march for a referendum on democracy; support for "Occupy Central"; the fear of the government and arrests. Card. Zen reaffirms that religious freedom and civil liberties go hand in hand.

Dossier
by Giulio Aleni / (a cura di) Gianni Criveller
pp. 176
by Lazzarotto Angelo S.
pp. 528
by Bernardo Cervellera
pp. 240
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