05/09/2005, 00.00
LEBANON
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There are evil forces at work in Lebanon, but they won't stop us, says Card Sfeir

Beirut (AsiaNews) – There are "evil forces in Lebanon" who carry out "disinformation, place bombs and spread terror", whereas the world of politics is dominated by "lies and double talk", said Card Nasrallah Sfeir, Maronite Patriarch. Yet, "this won't stop the Lebanese from reaching the road to independence".

The Cardinal, who spoke yesterday during a mass celebrated in Bkerke, said that "people have given politicians more than they have received. In any case, the last word belongs to the people, who will soon speak without being mislead, without being afraid, and without falling into temptation, especially financial ones".

After the mass, cardinal Sfeir met a delegation of former students from the country's Catholic schools to whom he expressed his hope that Lebanese unity be something real.

"Although the external barriers have fallen, internal ones are still standing. From within everyone's reality, we must work to pull together so that Lebanon can find again its prosperity, liberty and independence."

"When all the barriers have fallen and the Lebanese are capable of working together without foreign interference, it will be possible to deal with every issue," he added.

Asked about the General Michel Aoun, the Patriarch said "everyone coming home is welcome". However, he refused to make any comment about what happened in the National Assembly on Saturday.

As to jailed Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea, he said: "We have always called for the release of Geagea, but our demands have never been heeded. We can take comfort in General Aoun's return. I hope the day will come when Samir Geagea will be freed and the country reconciled. Lebanon needs everyone to regain its strength".

Finally, the Cardinal noted that "so far the Taif Agreement, which calls for reconciliation, has not been respected. We want freedom but it would seem that the term has different meanings. We are in favour of absolute freedom and everyone must be responsible for his actions". (JH)

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