Lebanon’s Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rai revived on Sunday debate over the demarcation of the Lebanese-Syrian border in the southern Shebaa Farms region.
He made his remarks days after parliament Speaker Nabih Berri announced that a framework had been agreed upon to begin indirect US-mediated talks with Israel on land and maritime border demarcation, which will be led by the Lebanese army.
"We should work to demarcate the borders with Syria in the area of Shebaa Farms to end the abnormal and ambiguous situation there," the Patriarch said during Sunday mass.
Rai welcomed the framework agreement, which will allow Lebanon to restore its international border line in the South, facilitate the extraction of its maritime wealth of oil and gas, and end the series of attacks and wars between Lebanon and Israel, according to Resolution 1701 of the Security Council, which places it on a path of peaceful negotiation instead of fighting, without this implying a process of normalization.
“On this occasion, an agreement must be found to resolve the issue of the presence of about half a million Palestinian refugees in Lebanon,” Rai continued, adding that through more resilience, Lebanon is bound to overcome its ordeals.
Touching on the political situation in the country, the Patriarch addressed the ruling class, saying: "You are not the masters of the people, but rather servants," regretting, with great pain, the departure of many Lebanese people in search of work opportunities, security and a decent life abroad.
“As I share their disappointment with everything, yes everything, I invite you, our young women and men, to think carefully before making the decision to migrate," he said.
“Amid the deliberate impasse, where there is no government, no rescue plan, no reforms, no respect for the constitution and no shame, we should all think about making a breakthrough without waiting for foreign developments,” he urged.
“Waiting for the outside proves that parties have loyalties abroad,” he remarked.
He underlined the “enormity of the situation and the possibility that various developments may take place.”
This demands the need to form a government that can meet the aspirations of the people so that constitutional work can take its course and so that no one can take advantage of the “constitutional coma”, caretaker government or coronavirus pandemic for their own interests.
“We hope all spiritual, official, political and partisan leaderships would again turn to the constitution, listen to the people and end the country’s deep crisis,” Rai declared.