01/05/2021, 17.18
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Patriarch Al-Rahi again calls for an impartial and competent government

by Fady Noun

Former Minister Sejean Azzi points out that the patriarch is not only trying to see a government formed, but also wants to save Lebanon. “Some people really want to eliminate the Patriarch. It is no coincidence that a few days ago four different articles mentioned the Patriarch's departure.”

Beirut (AsiaNews) – Maronite Patriarch Bechara Boutros al-Rahi is continuing his efforts to bring President Michel Aoun and Prime Minister Saad Hariri closer together. in this endeavour, he is supported by former minister Sejean Azzi, who is close to the patriarch.

“It is no secret that Patriarch al-Rahi said that he will continue his initiative and that he will not limit himself to the formation of a government, but will try to help Lebanon. Forming a government will be only the first step.”

The former minister insists that the patriarch’s move is not a formal “mediation”. “Before he took this step, the patriarch hesitated a lot. He deeply believes in the separation of Church and state and believes that the formation of a government should follow specific rules defined by the Constitution and not require a patriarchal, or papal or Syrian, or Iranian, or international action ...

“Every day in the world, governments fall and others are formed. Only in Lebanon is the nation itself questioned whenever a new government is formed. As if the fate of Christians depended on one or more minister, or on the third party blocking it, or as if the fate of Sunnis depended on the appointment of one or other minister, or if that of the Shias depended on the Ministry of Finance. This is wrong. What determines our present and our future is not a ministerial portfolio, it is our mutual love, our desire to live together, our solidarity.”

“I do not like to go further into this, but in reality. we do not live in a state, nor in a society, nor in institutions. Everything we experience is lived outside the legality we have set ourselves.

“Our situation is abnormal. For a foreign observer, Lebanon is not a federal state, nor a decentralised state, not even a divided state. It's a shattered state that's collapsing. That's not what the Lebanese want, even though some leaders find their interest in it.”

For Azzi, the Patriarch is trying to promote the formation of an impartial, competent government composed of extraordinary people, not affiliated to any political parties. “A government as required by the international community.”

“Therefore, the Patriarch is hostile to the existence within the government of the sources of his own bloc,” said the former minister, alluding explicitly to the blocking third party.

“However, the conditions were not accepted. Certain alliances that unite some of political forces present have opposed it.”

In his view, a decision was taken at the regional level not to allow government formation in Lebanon, but to consider this process as part of an exchange in the struggle between the United States and Iran.

“US sanctions, the 'thaoura' (the peaceful uprising of 17 October 2019), the government and maybe, some think, the 2022 presidential election are all elements that will play a role in what happens.”

How will the Patriarch push his initiative? For Azzi, “he will do so depending on what he will see, conscious that some groups are trying to undermine relations between the head of state and the head of the Maronite Church. Some people want to eliminate the Patriarch.

“It is no coincidence that a few days ago four different articles mentioned the patriarch's departure. I'm a former journalist and I know how this information is built up. Some people make a connection between a visit by the Pope this summer and the patriarch’s departure.”

Azzi laughs at this. “How would a journalist be informed of the Pope's travels before Bkerké,” the patriarchal see.

“The Pope is afraid for Lebanon’s existence, and has spoken at length about it with Patriarch al-Rahi, making this clear in his Christmas message to the Lebanese. These fears are justified when we know that some people want to turn Lebanon into a place of confrontation.”

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