07/23/2007, 00.00
LEBANON
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Obstinacy on both sides can lead to the country’s downfall, says Sfeir

The cardinal calls on all parties to give up their attitude of total inflexibility towards one another. French envoy is expected today in Beirut; his visit should lead to a second round of talks.

Beirut (AsiaNews) – Nasrallah Butros Sfeir warned on Sunday that Lebanese politicians' "inflexibility and obstinacy” and their refusal to make any concessions might lead to the country's downfall. Meanwhile the controversy over by-elections to replace murdered lawmakers continues, especially in the riding of Metn, where ex President Amin Gemayel, father of MP Pierre Gemayel who was killed on November 21, spoke. Whilst not saying anything on the issue of the by-elections, the Maronite patriarch urged Lebanese lawmakers to prevent any more divisions on the Lebanese political scene "rather than contribute in creating more conflicts.”

The cardinal’s intervention was part of a reflection on the problems that affect the family.  “The nation, which is the great family, suffers the same destructive damages that the family experiences when each of its members is closed-minded and refuses to change opinion even at the cost of dismantling and destroying the fatherland. When each group stays on its own position, refusing to budge, it is not a good sign.” Instead, the “nation deserves from us a little bit of humility and concessions to achieve the common interests.”

After the meeting at La Celle Saint-Cloud Château, a new meeting between political parties is the objective set out by French envoy Jean-Claude Cousseran, who should arrive in Beirut today.

In his visit in Damascus Mr Cousseran was told that Syria demanded France's “clear recognition of Syria's influence and interests in Lebanon.” (PD)

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