Maronite Patriarch Cardinal Bechara Boutros al-Rahi urged to the United Nations to save Lebanon by holding an international conference – a call that was supported by country’s opposition parties and rejected by Shiites.
“Faced with Parliament’s drastic failure to elect a new president of the republic, with the five sessions being a farcical drama...and the failure of all internal dialogues...we find no solution except to call for an international conference to renew the guarantee of the independent Lebanese entity, the democratic system and the state’s exclusive control over its lands, based on the constitution and then on all international resolutions pertaining to Lebanon,” the Patriarch said during the Sunday mass in Bkerki.
He continued: “Any delay in adopting this constitutional and international solution would drag the country into non-peaceful dangers that no party can withstand.”
Rahi’s call was endorsed by Hezbollah’s opponents. A letter signed by the Meeting of Our Lady of the Mountain, the National Gathering, and the National Initiative Movement, expressed support to the patriarch’s positions and called on Bkerki to establish a national front to defend the country’s “legitimacy, positive neutrality, the international conference for Taif and the constitution, and the resolutions of international legitimacy.”
On the other hand, Rahi’s sermon prompted a response from the Development and Liberation bloc, which is headed by Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri.
Sources from the bloc told Asharq Al-Awsat: “The main problem in the presidential elections is between the Christians themselves.”
“Can Bkerki or any other Lebanese side play a consensual role or at least unify the vision and criteria… especially since the presidential elections… concern the Christians in the first place?” They asked.
For his part, Jaafari Mufti Ahmed Qabalan warned that an international conference would harm Lebanon’s sovereignty.
“The interest of Christians and Muslims is to agree on a national president through Parliament and implement a project for a strong state, national partnership and effective constitutional institutions, away from international stances that consider Lebanon… an arena for settlements,” he stated.