Beirut, Lebanon, Dec 13, 2006 / 22:00 pm
Maronite Patriarch Nasrallah Sfeir has had several meetings with political meetings recently, urging them to resolve the current political crisis in Lebanon through dialogue and peaceful means. He has also urged all Lebanese to stand united, in order to end the prevailing political crisis and to restore security, stability, peace, and independence in Lebanon.
During his Sunday homily in Bkirki, the seat of the Maronite patriarchate northeast of Beirut, the patriarch warned that the prevailing Lebanese political deadlock and the exchange of sharp speeches by rival political leaders could ignite war, The Daily Star reported.
"War starts with a word ... listening to the current speeches, which are loaded with insults, one can say that a war is on the verge of igniting," he told the congregation.
"We ask God to lighten the minds of those (political leaders) in charge to have mercy on the people," he added.
He said “no one cares about the Lebanese people," who are mostly unable to meet their daily needs since the country's economic and social activity “is completely paralyzed."
A day earlier, the patriarch met with Free Patriotic Movement leader MP Michel Aoun. After the meeting, Aoun said he hoped all Lebanese parties would accept the Maronite Church's "declaration of principles" issued last week.
The Maronite Council of Bishops issued a conciliatory statement on Wednesday suggesting ways to end the political deadlock, which include the implementation of "a code of honor" for all parties, the creation of an international tribunal to try suspects in the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, a new electoral law and the formation of a "reconciliation" government that would hold early presidential elections.
Meeting with Hezbollah
On Friday, a Hezbollah delegation, led by parliamentary bloc MP Mohammed Raad, met with Patriarch Sfeir, who called for resolving Lebanon's political crisis through dialogue. Raad seemed to say that Hezbollah agrees and does not see the solution to lie “in the streets”.
The meeting in Bkirki followed announcements by Prime Minister Fouad Saniora and Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah that they are both willing to negotiate, despite trading sharp words and accusations.
They also both welcomed the Maronite bishops’ proposal to form a new government and to hold early presidential elections.
Raad said the meeting with Patriarch Sfeir was aimed at passing on "our political reading of the current crisis and of the position adopted by the Lebanese opposition which is seeking the salvation of Lebanon and the Lebanese through the formation of a national unity government that will guarantee both partnership and equilibrium in political decisions and crucial issues," reported Naharnet.