07/03/2008, 00.00
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Bishops: Lebanon needs government, politicians must consider common good

At the end of their national conference, the bishops are urging politicians to set aside their personal concerns, because the economic crisis is making the formation of a government more urgent.

Beirut (AsiaNews) - Concerned about the slow pace of negotiations over the formation of a national unity government, while the economic crisis continues to aggravate the situation in Lebanon, the Maronite bishops are urging politicians to put "the interest of Lebanon and of all Lebanese above the particular considerations of the various political components".

In a document released yesterday afternoon, at the end of their national conference meeting, the bishops stress that "the ethical level of political discourse has fallen considerably, and most of the citizens are taking their distance from it", emphasising the attitude of those who "address one another with respect and concrete arguments, which favours agreement, instead of the vulgar language of disdain that is used by some".

The bishops, moreover, emphasise once again the necessity of placing "at the centre of the debate the problems that the people find themselves facing".  The bishops cite "the rise in prices of essential goods, a problem that is becoming widespread", but especially strikes the poor, who are forced to "live day to day".  This situation is such that "the majority of Lebanese live below the poverty level, which is driving many of them to emigrate".  The beginning of the vacation season, finally, is prompting the bishops to urge Lebanese to show their traditional hospitality toward those who will visit the country this summer. 

Almost as a response to the appeal from the bishops and to the atmosphere of optimism that has spread recently in political circles, a source of the Free Patriotic Movement of Michel Aoun - part of the opposition led by Hezbollah - has communicated that the government formation proposed by prime minister Fouad Siniora should be rejected. (PD)

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