AL-DIMANE, Lebanon — Syriac Maronite Patriarch Béchara Boutros al-Raï continued his campaign to push for increased government coordination and cooperation on Thursday, meeting with MP Sami Fatfat (Future Bloc) and MPs from Strong Lebanon Bloc.
Patriarch al-Raï received MP Fatfat at the Patriarchate headquarters in Al-Dimane, Lebanon. They discussed the general developments in the country with a focus on the efforts of Prime Minister Saad Al-Hariri to facilitate the formation of a new government.
“Our visit to the Patriarch is to confirm our support for his stance on neutrality and give him an idea about the efforts undertaken by the Future Bloc headed by President Saad al-Hariri regarding the formation of the government,” Fatfat stated.
Patriarch al-Raï also received a delegation from Strong Lebanon Bloc that included MPs Simon Abi Ramia, Salim Aoun, George Atallah, and Deputy Head of Free Patriotic Movement May Khreish.
MP Ramia spoke on behalf of the delegation, saying, “We talked about matters related to many files in light of the situation we are living in and the hope for forming a new government and putting Lebanon on the proper track in order to find solutions to all social and financial problems.”
“The Free Patriotic Movement carries the message of openness, dialogue, partnership, and a message of pluralism that puts right persons in their places within the legal frameworks,” he continued. “We will fulfill everything the Patriarch decides and stand beside him in order to reduce the hate speech being circulated on social media.
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.