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    » 11/10/2012, 00.00

    LEBANON

    The Maronite Patriarch seeks dialogue with Hezbollah



    The meeting between the cardinal-designate and a delegation of the Party of God is followed by those with the opposition and Christian politicians. Agreement on the need for dialogue to end the crisis and the need, in principle, for a truly representative electoral law.

     

    Beirut (AsiaNews) - An important meeting for the future of Lebanon took place yesterday in Bkerke between Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rahi and a delegation of Hezbollah, led by Sayyed Ibrahim Amin al-Sayyed, head of the political council of the Party of God ( in the picture).

    The formal motivation was the presentation of congratulations on the Patriarch's appointment as cardinal, to which he responded with a less formal invitation to the ceremony in Rome on 24 November.

    The occasion was used, however, for an exchange of views on key issues, such as the new electoral law and, above all, for finding a way out of a crisis that has long held the Land of Cedars in political stalemate.

    Card. Rai is very cautiously moving on this front. The meeting with the Shi'ite group in fact follows those with the opposition, the 14 March party led by Fouad Siniora, and with Christian politicians such as Michel Aoun.

    This in an attempt to "open a breach in the wall" in place between the political forces. A line that actually sees the patriarch sided with President Michel Sleiman.

    For his part, Sayyed called the meeting with the Patriarch as "an opportunity to discuss issues affecting the Lebanese" and for agreement on the "use of dialogue to resolve differences".

    The same Sayyed, however, has denied that there is the possibility of creating a "neutral government" suggested by March 14.

    In principal, the Patriarch and Shiites have both agreed on the need for a new electoral law. Card. Rai wants it to be "truly representative of all parts of society and that safeguards coexistence." Sayyed explained that Hezbollah's support for a proportional electoral law "means that we reject that of 1960" and the new one "must ensure effective representation and maintain collaboration between the public and the political authority."

    What concrete steps these affirmations will produce remains to be seen. (PD)

     

     

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    See also

    29/09/2012 LEBANON
    Maronite Church: electoral reform, for full Christian representation
    Patriarch Bechara Rai rejects the existing system, which refers to the majority system established in 1960, and calls for a reform that grants the vote to expatriates. He calls for "respect" for the election date scheduled for the spring of 2013. Meanwhile, the March 8 and March 14 factions bring battle over reform into the open.

    30/04/2008 LEBANON
    Sfeir: the election of the president is "paved with bad intentions"
    Concerned statements from the Maronite patriarch, according to whom "some" are preoccupied with realising their own interests "at Lebanon's expense". A reminder to parliamentarians of their responsibility, and criticism of the "parallel state" of Hezbollah.

    25/02/2008 LEBANON
    Today's meeting in Beirut could seal the failure of the Arab initiative
    The second day of meetings between Moussa, Gemayel, Hariri, and Aoun appears to be crucial. Patriarch Sfeir invokes God, that "he may spare us the worst". Yesterday, a meeting between Saudi Arabia and Egypt to apply pressure to Syria.

    05/04/2006 LEBANON
    Lebanon must overcome crisis, say Maronite bishops
    Prelates and Cardinal Sfeir criticise adjournment of 'national dialogue'. For the Patriarch, President Lahoud is no longer qualified to lead the country.

    11/01/2007 LEBANON
    Bishops act to end divisions between Maronite political leaders
    The initiative comes following the release of a statement last month highlighting the crisis within the Maronite community and offering some suggestions as to how to solve it. A bishops’ commission met Michel Aoun this morning and will meet Suleiman Frangieh and Samir Geagea later in the day.



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