04/30/2008, 00.00
LEBANON
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Sfeir: the election of the president is "paved with bad intentions"

Concerned statements from the Maronite patriarch, according to whom "some" are preoccupied with realising their own interests "at Lebanon's expense". A reminder to parliamentarians of their responsibility, and criticism of the "parallel state" of Hezbollah.

Beirut (AsiaNews) - "Some Lebanese seek to achieve personal goals", and the election of the president is "paved with bad intentions": strong and concerned statements last night from Maronite patriarch Nasrallah Sfeir, who spoke on a television interview with the LBC.  The cardinal maintains that the situation "is deteriorating day after day", and that the country needs the UN.  He also expressed himself on the need for dialogue between the opposing factions, and called upon deputies to go to parliament to elect a president of the republic, saying "responsibility falls on all MPs".  He also denied the existence of prejudice on the part of the patriarchate, and affirmed the unity of the Maronite Church, even if there are different opinions within it.

Dedicated in large part to topics linked to the election of the head of state, the cardinal's comments expressed the common concern that the next meeting of parliament, on May 13, "will see a fate similar to that of previous sessions". "Some Lebanese seek to achieve personal goals . . . at Lebanon's expense. It seems that they don't want to elect a president on time".  Recalling that "they tried dialogue at parliament and outside in the past and it was fruitless and did not bring anything new", the patriarch maintained that "I can see no end to the crisis except for the election of a president above all, to be followed by formation of a government and then parliamentary elections". The head of state, in fact, should have his own "views" on the formation of the new government, and "one should not impose his opinion on him".

Moreover, there are nearby countries that have "aspirations" on Lebanon, which do not have control of the territory.  This statement led to a criticism of Hezbollah, which was not mentioned by name, but with a clear reference when he referred to the "bizarre" existence of a parallel state and added that "there should be no two state rule for Lebanon".

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