12/07/2020, 09.45
LEBANON
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Card Raï: political crisis and attacks have erased the identity of the Lebanese state

The Maronite patriarch criticises the "suspicious" slowness of the judiciary in investigating the causes and perpetrators of the double explosion at Beirut port. He also criticizes the "intentional lack" of reference to the nation as an entity during the last conference of donor countries. Renewed appeal for the formation of the government.

Beirut (AsiaNews / Agencies) - In his Sunday Mass homily, the Maronite Patriarch, Card Beshara Raï, returned to comment on the political situation - local and international - of the nation, defining the slowness of the judiciary over the double explosion at the port of Beirut as "suspicious" and criticizing the "intentional lack" of reference to the Lebanese state during the last conference of donor countries chaired by France and the United Nations on 2 December last.

The Maronite primate said: "The most disturbing fact we are witnessing today is that the world is no longer dealing with Lebanon as a state, but as a people in difficulty in need of aid". The cardinal posed the question as to where was “the Lebanon of prosperity and glory? It is sad to note that the final declaration of the Paris conference avoided mentioning the word 'Lebanese state', addressing only the Lebanese people".

Card Raï also criticized the slowness of the local investigation into the double explosion on 4 August, underlining that the more the delays increase, the more suspicions the population grows. Suspicions amplified by a series of high profile, and mysterious, killings of leading security figures. "The most recent - said the cardinal - took place three days ago in Qartaba", where the police found the body of Mounir Abourjeily, a retired colonel of Lebanese customs.

On December 2, the agents found his lifeless body inside his home in Jbeil (Qartaba). "There are problems - said the ard Raï -  of judicial prerogatives, as if the people involved in the investigation blame each other".

In mid-October, Aoun tasked three-time Prime Minister Rafic Hariri with putting together a new cabinet. The crisis of the last year is but one of the many difficulties affecting Lebanon’s political and economic life, as well as its very political institutions.

The already precarious situation has worsened with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and the two explosions that rocked the port of Beirut in August, finally pushing 55 per cent of the population below the poverty line amid a permanent emergency.

The extreme instability has triggered a spike in suicides and a rush to buy the few remaining drugs, whilst hospitals are in catastrophic conditions.

The Maronite primate concluded his homily with a reference to the political crisis and the serious delay in the formation of the new government. "Whatever the real reasons are that delay the announcement of a new cabinet - he underlined - we ask the President of the Republic and the Prime Minister in charge to ignore all these reasons and to form an exceptional rescue team, outside the quota system".

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