Maronite leader calls for end of conflict in Lebanon

.- The leader of the Maronite Catholic Church has condemned attacks by Hezbollah and Israel, which have killed hundreds of innocent civilians and has asked the United States to help Lebanon work for peace and justice in the region through dialogue.

In remarks at the conclusion of his U.S. tour last week, Cardinal Nasrallah Peter Sfeir, patriarch of Antioch and all the East, condemned the attacks of Israel on targets which have resulted in the deaths of innocent civilians and destroyed Lebanese infrastructure.  The cardinal also expressed his fervent hope, “that Hezbollah will finally lay down its arms and join the other citizens of Lebanon in reaching political solutions to all of the Lebanese problems.”  

The cardinal admitted that the recent eruption of war in the area has made him very concerned and anxious. “As we have said in the past and reassert again today, we are against all aggression wherever it comes from,” he said.

"We look forward to a united, sovereign, free, and truly independent Lebanon, where the Lebanese government exerts its sole authority over all of Lebanon's territory,” he stated.

The cardinal said he made his trip to the U.S. to “strengthen the bridges between East and West, Christians and Muslims” and “to say that the Lebanese are determined to live far from terrorism, tyranny, corruption and despair.”

He also addressed the ongoing difficult relationship with Syria. “Syrian troops have left Lebanon, but their influence is still there,” he said. “We therefore ask again that our two nations develop proper relations befitting of states, which means among other things, delineated boundaries, embassies, respect for international law, and friendly relations.” 


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