Maronite Patriarch: no to money and incentives for the naturalization of refugees

Card Raï returns to attack the international community that wants to unload the issue of Syrian and Palestinian refugees on Lebanon. He points to the "danger" of further "rifts" among Lebanese, in a context of strong tension. At the same time he asks for "unity" in the face of foreign pressure.

Beirut (AsiaNews / Agencies) – A new warning from the Maronite patriarch, Cardinal Beshara Raï, against a global community that wants to unload the issue of Palestinian and Syrian refugees on Lebanon, offering a financial contribution in exchange for their naturalization.

“We reject any type of international policy that tries to burden Lebanon with the price of everything that is going on in the region,” al-Rahi said.

“The danger lies in a rift among the Lebanese should (naturalization) occur,” the patriarch added, urging citizens to show unity in the face of any foreign pressures.

“Lebanon cannot bear the burden of the new policy represented in ‘the deal of the century’ and its negative repercussions,” al-Rahi said, referring to U.S. President Donald Trump’s controversial peace plan for the Middle East.

In recent years, the Lebanese Church has also repeatedly denounced the danger of a serious economic, political and social crisis for the country, linked to the presence of Syrian refugees who will end up being "forgotten just like the Lebanese". At the time of greatest criticality, the country of cedars had welcomed about 1.5 million people fleeing war and poverty, compared to a population of about 4.4 million inhabitants.

The refugee issue is also part of a context of profound turbulence in the Land of Cedars. Anti-government protests escalated in mid-December, and not even the recent appointment of the new executive - vacant since 29 October - was enough to calm them.

On several occasions patriarchs and bishops have unsuccessfully recalled the ruling class to the sense of responsibility and the urgency to define a leadership for a country that is increasingly in danger of sinking.