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» 05/25/2011
Patriarch Rahi slams irresponsible politicians for Lebanon’s paralysis
by Paul Dakiki
The country is deadlocked, slipping deeper into economic crisis, as tourism and trade shrink. Politicians fight over positions, whilst more and more people are forced to emigrate. The patriarch tries to mend fences between Christian leaders on opposite sides of the political divide.

Bkerke (AsiaNews) – Lebanese politicians have left the country in a state of paralysis with officials fighting over governmental positions, Maronite Patriarch Beshara Rai said Tuesday after his daily meetings at the patriarchal see.

“I regret that politics has brought us to the position we are in today of a governmental, economic, tourism, and trade crisis along with a complete halt to constitutional institutions,” he said.

Lebanon has been deadlocked for the past four months because of Hizbollah’s demand for key ministries as a precondition in participating in a government of national unity.

Hizbollah and some Christian politicians like former General Michel Aoun are part of the “8 March” alliance.

The “14 March” alliance is the main opposition. It demands Hizbollah surrender its weapons to join the government.

Hizbollah is the only group with its own armed wing, ostensibly to free Palestine and fight Israel.

“All of us, Muslim and Christian Lebanese, are looking forward to building a country that we inherited from our grandfathers,” the patriarch said, a country “dubbed as a country with a message” as John Paul II called it, with an important vocation for equality, respect and participation.

Beshara Rahi also wants to reduce tensions among Christian politicians. For this reason, he met on 19 April various Christian leaders from opposite groups: Free Patriotic Movement chief Michel Aoun, Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea, Kataeb leader Amin Gemayel and the head of the Marada Movement Sleiman Franjieh

During the meeting (pictured), described as cordial, the Patriarch focused on the serious problems affecting Lebanon’s Christians, namely emigration, economic crisis, job opportunity in the public sector, and the reduction of large-scale property and land sales to non-Christians.

The next meeting is scheduled for 2 June.

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See also
01/18/2008 LEBANON
A ray of hope as Moussa gets Hariri and Aoun to meet
11/27/2006 LEBANON
Patriarch Sfeir's pain over Christian divisions
by Paul Dakiki
01/24/2007 LEBANON
Tense calm in Beirut after general strike suspended
by Youssef Hourany
05/22/2006 LEBANON
Christians at least to agree on Lebanon's independence, sovereignty and freedom, says cardinal
02/15/2010 LEBANON
Commemorating Rafik Hariri’s death, demanding answers from March 14 leaders
by Fady Noun

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