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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