Syriac Maronite Patriarch Béchara Boutros al-Raï discusses issues facing Lebanon with MPs and representatives of relief organizations

BEIRUT, Lebanon — Syriac Maronite Patriarch Béchara Boutros al-Raï met with MP Joseph Isaac (Lebanese Forces) to discuss the developmental affairs in the Al-Jubbah region, in addition to the general conditions in the country and the harsh economic and living conditions that the Lebanese people suffer from.

The Patriarch also met with MP Farid Haykal el-Khazen and discussed with him the general situation in the country, especially the delay in the formation of a new government.

Moreover, Patriarch al-Raï met a delegation from Caritas, a Catholic relief organization, and discussed with them the aid program provided by Caritas International to Lebanon.

He also received the Chairman of the Maronite Cooperation Fund, Father Georges Saqr, as well as members of the Board and advisors.

During the meeting, the prepared report was discussed which included the Fund’s mechanism to cope with the current crisis, the distribution of health services, and the initiative to support and relieve those affected by Beirut explosion.

The Patriarch praised the Fund’s work and called for solidarity with it, stressing the importance of joint initiatives between patriarchal institutions.

Patriarch al-Raï has been outspoken about the issues facing Lebanon and the need to tackle corruption in the wake of the Beirut port explosion.

On Monday, the Patriarch stated that an impartial and international investigation is needed because of the confusion in the local investigation, the conflicting information, the disunity of the state, the increasing doubts about the causes behind the explosion, and the continued neglect of officials which has resulted in a second fire at the port, stating that, “If the Lebanese authorities refuse an international investigation, then it is the duty of the U.N. to impose it, because what happened is close to a crime against humanity.”

Last week, the Patriarch called on Prime Minister-designate Mustafa Adib to form a “small, qualified and strong” emergency-government.

On 7 August, Patriarch al-Raï penned a memorandum proposing Lebanon adopt a policy of “active neutrality”

The memorandum calls for Lebanon to pursue a policy of “active neutrality” and extract itself from regional and international conflicts and, given the ethnic and religious diversity of its population, act as a mediator in the region.