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Rai Holds Onto Call for Lebanon’s Neutrality

Rai Holds Onto Call for Lebanon’s Neutrality

Monday, 3 August, 2020 - 06:45
FILE PHOTO: A man walks past concrete barriers erected by authorities to block a street leading to the parliament building in Beirut, Lebanon January 24, 2020. REUTERS/Aziz Taher

Lebanon’s Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rai reiterated on Sunday his call for “neutrality” to resolve the country’s crisis.

During Sunday's mass service in Diman, he criticized the factions rejecting neutrality, saying they want to push Lebanon into international and regional wars.

"I don't know if someone who truly cares about the welfare of Lebanon and its people, as well as its unity and return to prosperity, would reject or question this active neutrality or claim that it does not enjoy consensus or that it is hard to achieve," the Patriarch said.

Rai praised the role of the military institution on the occasion of the Lebanese Army's Diamond Jubilee, in defending the sovereignty of Lebanon and the Lebanese people.

"We must rally around the Lebanese army, because it is the protector of the homeland alongside other security institutions, especially in this difficult stage that Lebanon is going through," the Patriarch said.

Rai congratulated the Lebanese people, in general, and Muslims, in particular, on the occasion of Eid al-Adha, hoping that it would bring about further peace and prosperity.

In early July, the Patriarch launched a call to announce Lebanon’s neutrality and distance the country from regional and international conflicts.

The call, widely supported by several political parties, was met with silence from Hezbollah and the Amal Movement.

However, Grand Jaafarite Mufti Sheikh Ahmed Qabalan, who is close to both parties, said Friday, "The issue of neutrality is impossible, not because we don't want it, but rather because it is totally infeasible."

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