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    » 05/25/2011, 00.00

    LEBANON

    Patriarch Rahi slams irresponsible politicians for Lebanon’s paralysis

    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

    18/01/2008 LEBANON
    A ray of hope as Moussa gets Hariri and Aoun to meet
    Arab League secretary general arrives in Damascus today to get Syria to push its Lebanese allies towards a deal. “Father, Forgive them, for They Don't Know what They're Doing,” said Patriarch Sfeir in response to attacks from Franjieh and Aoun.

    27/11/2006 LEBANON
    Patriarch Sfeir's pain over Christian divisions
    Bringing together Gemayel, Franjieh, Geagea, and Aoun is impossible for the time being. Cabinet gives the go-ahead to the UN-backed international tribunal, but the path is blocked by Lebanon's president and Hezbollah. The danger of civil looms again over the country.

    24/01/2007 LEBANON
    Tense calm in Beirut after general strike suspended
    The final death tally from yesterday’s clashes is still unknown. Prime minister arrives in Paris for donors’ conference. Clashes between Christians are worrisome, provoke rebuke by Patriarch Sfeir.

    20/01/2016 13:24:00 LEBANON
    Aoun-Geagea alliance generates shock and hope

    The leader of the Lebanese Forces supports the candidacy for president of his former enemy. Lebanese Forces and the Change and Reform bloc have the largest number of Christian MPs. Maronite Patriarchate of Bkerke is "happy and relieved". The Lebanese Parliament has failed to elect a president since May 2014. Some Christians and Muslims resist.



    22/05/2006 LEBANON
    Christians at least to agree on Lebanon's independence, sovereignty and freedom, says cardinal
    In the Patriarch's view the next president must be above the parties, experienced, trustworthy and unbiased.



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