11/17/2008, 00.00
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Pope urges Lebanese to follow the path of reconciliation, tells international community to help

Benedict XVI is full of praise for the steps already taken in the wake of the Doha Agreement. He urges everyone to prevent it from “becoming a land in which regional and global conflicts are played out.” The Holy See continues with determination its efforts in favour of peace in Lebanon and around the Middle East.

Vatican City (AsiaNews) – The Lebanese should put aside partisan interests and make a real commitment towards peace and reconciliation. The international community should contribute to this by preventing Lebanon “from becoming a land in which regional and global conflicts are played out,” said the Pope Benedict XVI as he expressed his hopes for the future of Lebanon on the occasion of the presentation of the Letters of Credence by Lebanon’s new Ambassador to the Holy See, H.E. Georges Chakib El Khoury. In his address, the Holy Father confirmed the determination with which the Holy See is committed to the country.

With a “history of thousands of years,” said the Pope, and many religious confessions who “have shown that they can live together”, Lebanon is at “the centre of a complex region, [that] give it a fundamental mission to contribute to peace and harmony.”

Because of its experience of life and inter-communal collaboration, Lebanon is a “treasure” which the Lebanese must “preserve and develop for the good of the entire nation.”

“At the same time,” said the Holy father, “I hope that the international community may protect and value the country and, through real commitment, contribute to preventing it becoming a land in which regional and global conflicts are played out. Thus Lebanon must be a laboratory wherein we can seek effective solutions to conflicts that have long troubled the Middle East.”

For this reason Benedict XVI welcomed the Doha Agreement, mentioning especially the election of a new president, the creation of a national unity government and the adoption of a new election law, certain that the “national dialogue” that began a few weeks ago will provide “an opportunity to meet the challenges the country must face today.”

“The fundamental attitude that must govern everyone’s commitment to the common good must remain unchanged. Every component of the Lebanese nation must feel that Lebanon is their true home so that their own concerns and legitimate expectations can be taken into account. For this reason it is necessary to promote and develop true education for peace, reconciliation and dialogue, directed above all at the young generations.”

“At this important stage for the country,” said the Pontiff, the Holy See follows “events in Lebanon very closely and pays particular attention to the efforts made to find a definitive solution to the problems facing the country. Particularly sensitive to the sufferings undergone for so long by the people of the Middle East, the Holy See continues with determination its commitment to peace and reconciliation in Lebanon and throughout that region so beloved to all believers.”

Ambassador Georges Chakib El Khoury was born in Baabda on 17 November 1952 and is married with three children.

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