01/18/2021, 09.12
LEBANON
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Patriarch Raï calls for Aoun and Hariri to hold 'National reconciliation meeting'

The Maronite primate denounces the "state of regression" enveloping Lebanon, after five months of political crisis. The government is "immobile", justice "exposed to political and sectarian interference", the economy is "paralyzed". The need for an "salvation" executive comprising leading personalities.

Beirut (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Lebanon, described by Saint John Paul II as a "value of civilization", has plunged into a "state of unexpected regression" on the eve of the centenary of its birth.

This harsh indictment was part of Sunday Mass homily by the Maronite primate Card Beshara Raï yesterday in Bkerké. The cardinal speaks of "immobile government, a justice exposed to political and sectarian interference, an economy paralyzed in all sectors, half of Beirut destroyed, a population on the ground, families of the victims and impoverished people".

Addressing the president Michel Aoun and the interim prime minister Saad Hariri, the cardinal stressed that "the solution" consists in the formation of a national "salvation" executive composed "of personalities who excel in their respective sectors, in Lebanon and in the world". They must be "eager to serve their homeland" without ulterior motives, and not characters "who are distinguished by their alliance with a party or candidate".

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.

Hence the new appeal to the two political leaders, to promote a "national reconciliation meeting" that can favor the birth of the new government, putting aside personal tensions which, over the weeks, risk creating an irremediable rift. Card Raï underlines his personal commitment in a perspective of dialogue, in the interest of Lebanon and the Lebanese in the face of a situation of inaction which has now lasted for five months. The agreement is essential for implementing reforms and unlocking the delivery of aid from the international community.

"In this regard - added the Maronite primate - our hope is that the President of the Republic will take the initiative by inviting the Prime Minister in charge for a meeting". A rule of law, which separates the civil sphere from the religious sphere, is essential to ensure "a new dawn" on Lebanon, of which "it is not necessary to modify the system, but rather - concluded Card Raï - to respect the dictates" which are at the origin of its formation.

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