09/17/2018, 10.21
LEBANON
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Maronite Patriarch: a 'neutral emergency government' to overcome selfishness and division

Card. Raï appeals to the president and the political forces to "start rebuilding" the process of "national unity". Necessary to "speed up" creation of the executive. Nobody "has the right to feel excluded". Economic crisis fomented by a public debt of over 80 billion.

Beirut (AsiaNews / Agencies) - "A neutral emergency government" which has the task of "starting to rebuild" the process of "national unity", was suggested by the Maronite Patriarch, Card. Beshara Raï, during the Sunday Mass celebrated in the context of a pastoral visit to the north of the capital, Beirut. "We invite the president [Michel Aoun] and the premier in charge [Saad Hariri] to accelerate the formation of the executive" and "we tell them that it is unacceptable to procrastinate" further.

Last May, President Aoun entrusted the outgoing Prime Minister Hariri with the task of forming the new government. However, his efforts have met internal opposition and resistance from many sides of the domestic political front.

On 3 September the premier handed over a list of ministers to the head of state; a few hours later came the reply from the Aoun office, which in a note advanced "perplexities and observations" based on "principles and criteria" linked to the "structure" of the government and to the "interests" of the country.

Over the weekend, Hariri himself renewed the hope of being able to settle the differences and formalize the new government team. "I believe that all political parties - he underlined - can meet the challenges we have to face from an economic, environmental, security and regional point of view". The major challenge, he added, is the economic one on which a public debt of over 80 billion weighs.

The head of the Maronite Church thus renewed his call for a common commitment for the development of Lebanon and all of its citizens. "There is no justification - said the prelate from the region of Iqlim al-Kharroub - for the failure in the formation [of the executive]" and for this reason divisions, personal interests and selfishness must be overcome. Nobody has "the right", concluded Card. Raï, to "refrain" from contributing to the formation of the government and the Lebanese nation, on which weighs power games and internal struggles over quotas and seats.

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