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Rai Welcomes Return of Arab Ambassadors, Calls for Voting in Favor of ‘Lebanon’s Identity’

Rai Welcomes Return of Arab Ambassadors, Calls for Voting in Favor of ‘Lebanon’s Identity’

Monday, 11 April, 2022 - 10:45
Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rai presiding over Palm Sunday’s mass in Bkirki. (NNA)

Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rai welcomed the return of the ambassadors of Gulf States to Beirut, saying the move “makes Lebanon feel that it is an active member of the Arab League.”


Rai pointed to three "positive" signs that emerged in Lebanon over the past week, noting the announcement of Pope Francis’ visit to Lebanon in June, the initial agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and the return of ambassadors of the Gulf States to Lebanon.


“These positive steps come while important developments are taking place at the regional and international levels, which we hope the Lebanese state will benefit from within the national framework,” Rai said in comments during Palm Sunday’s sermon in Bkirki.


The patriarch also noted that Pope Francis’ visit comes in the context of the Vatican’s endeavor to help Lebanon overcome its crisis, and maintain its presence within the system of democratic nations.


“The visit of Pope Francis is a blessing for the people, hope for the homeland, and a wake-up call for the officials. The Pope is keen that Lebanon enjoys good governance and a political community that puts the public interest above all considerations… He is aware of the failure to address boldly and seriously the people’s issues, and of the state’s reluctance to respond to international endeavors,” he underlined.


Rai noted that the return of the Gulf ambassadors to Lebanon was aimed at consolidating bonds of friendship and cooperation.


“This return makes Lebanon feel that it is an active member of the Arab family and the Arab League,” he stated.


The patriarch stressed that the upcoming parliamentary elections are a national responsibility “in circumstances that require a new political community and a change in performance and choices.”


He also voiced hope the elections would be an opportunity to revive Lebanon’s identity, by “returning to neutrality, achieving expanded decentralization, calling for an international reform conference, and promoting Arab belonging and global openness.”


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