LEBANON: Syriac Maronite Patriarch Béchara Boutros al-Raï meets with delegations from Lebanese Forces and Albania

DIMANE, Lebanon — Syriac Maronite Patriarch Béchara Boutros al-Raï continues his series of meetings with politicians and prominent personalities to help move Lebanon past its current era of turmoil.

On Wednesday, the Patriarch received a delegation from Lebanese Forces, including a number of representatives.

During the meeting, the Patriarch discussed with the delegation the overall developments in the local arena and negative repercussions of the delay in forming a new government on the national economy and living conditions of the Lebanese people.

The delegation expressed its agreement with the positions of the Patriarch and denounced the campaigns against him.

The Patriarch also received the Albanian Minister of Interior, General Sandër Lleshaj, accompanied by the Albanian Consul General in Lebanon, Marc Gharib, and discussed with the Patriarch’s proposal for Lebanon to adopt a policy of “active neutrality”.

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.

The Albanian delegation expressed its support for Patriarch al-Raï’s proposal and called on all politicians to listen to the Patriarch and proceed with his initiatives.

Minister Lleshaj invited the Patriarch to visit Albania to strengthen relations between the two countries.

The Albanian delegation also met Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch and all the East Youhanna X at his patriarchal headquarters in Balamand.

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 and has taken multiple meetings with Members of Parliament from various parties.

On Tuesday, the Patriarch had meetings with United Nations Special Coordinator for Lebanon Ján Kubiš, retired Brigadier General George Nader, and Director General of the Ecovillage of Khan Al-Saboun Dr. Bader Hassoun.

On 13 September, 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.”