“War starts with words,” warns Patriarch Sfeir
The cardinal urges once again his fellow Lebanese to take personal responsibility for their future. Arab League’s Moussa announces his return to Beirut next Wednesday but refuses to say whether he is optimistic or pessimistic. Egyptian President Mubarak warns that if Arab League initiative fails, the Arabs “will wash their hands” of the Lebanese crisis.

Beirut (AsiaNews) – “War starts with words” is an old saying that Maronite Patriarch Nasrallah Sfeir quoted yesterday to warn people that Lebanon on the edge of an abyss towards which the entire country is slipping. In doing so he warned his compatriots to assume their personal responsibilities and make decisions for the future. “We are flooded with proposals that contain enigmas that can lead to a disastrous situation.”

“Of course we have to seek help from the outside, but first it should come from within us,” Cardinal Sfeir said. “We cannot let others accomplish our aspirations. People help us, but they help themselves before helping us. They help us at our expense because they have their own goals.”

The patriarch spoke a day after Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak stated unequivocally that the Arabs would “wash their hands” of the whole country if the Arab League initiative to solve the crisis caused by the failure to elect Lebanon’s president was not implemented.

Arab League chief Amr Moussa is leading the charge in favour of the initiative and will be back in Beirut this week. “I am coming back because the situation remains dangerous,” he said.

On Saturday he refused to say whether he was optimistic or pessimistic, saying only that “efforts and consultations with Lebanese political figures” and “Arab and international parties continues.

He added that a” lot of details, and even key issues, still have to be discussed” and that a “problem which has gone on for more than a year cannot be settled in a day, but I hope that it will not take a year.” (PD)