Maronite bishops to Aoun: accelerate repatriation of Syrian refugees, fight against tarfficking

The Bishops' Conference meeting in Bkerké expressed support for the president's intervention at the 74th UN General Assembly. For Aoun they pose a "serious threat" to the future of the nation. From the prelates a request for punitive measures against illegal trafficking and the waste of public funds.

Beirut (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The Conference of Maronite bishops, gathered yesterday in the patriarchal see of Bkerké, confirmed support for President Michel Aoun, who last week at the 74th UN General Assembly denounced - once again - the crisis of the Syrian refugees.

This long-standing problem that has dragged on for years compounding pre-existing difficulties that cast a shadow over the future of the country: corruption and smuggling among many.

Speaking at the assembly, the Lebanese president had stated that Syrian refugees - almost a quarter of the Lebanese population - pose a "serious threat" to the nation's future and its development goals.

The position of the president, the Maronite bishops say, shows "the gravity of the crisis in Lebanon" and the "necessary solutions for its salvation". In particular, the bishops continue in a statement released at the end of the meeting, the request to world leaders to contribute "to a safe and dignified return" of Syrian refugees in their country.

Now they believe is a favorable moment for the repatriation to "most of the Syrian provinces", as also confirmed by "international relations". The bishops therefore seem to confirm a widespread position among political and institutional leaders in Beirut, now inclined to accelerate the repatriation policy.

In addition to the Syrian refugees, the Maronite bishops have touched on other central themes in the political life of the country, among which the economic difficulties and the continuous vicissitudes of corruption. Lebanon cannot promote reforms, say the prelates, unless "we all put an end to the waste of public funds, the smuggling of goods through legal or illegal border crossings, and we do not fight corruption in a courageous and all-encompassing way, without considering anything other than public welfare".

Finally, the Conference of Maronite bishops expressed "relief" for the statement issued the day before by the Lebanese central bank (Bdl), which provides for a mechanism to regulate the financing of imports of wheat, medicines, fuel (petrol, oil, gas) . "We hope - the prelates conclude - that this measure can alleviate the Lebanese fears and allow the government to find a solution to the economic and financial crisis".