Syriac Maronite Patriarch al-Rai discusses presidential elections with political figures at Patriarchal Edifice

BETH KERKE, Lebanon — On Thursday, Syriac Maronite Patriarch Mor Bechara Boutros al-Rai received President of In Defense of Christians (IDC) Tonia Khouri at the Patriarchal Edifice.

In the meeting, the Patriarch and Khouri discussed the bilateral relations between the United States of America and Lebanon, the importance of Lebanon’s neutrality and the international community’s interest in what is happening in the country. Khouri expressed her willingness to hear the views and suggestions of the Patriarch and convey them to America to ensure that the Lebanese voice is heard.

They also discussed the importance of electing a president who works to lift Lebanon out of its many crises, puts the people’s interest above their personal interests, and does not leave a vacuum in the presidency. The Lebanese people suffer enough and a president who cares about Lebanon’s interest must be elected, they agreed.

They also touched upon the importance of the Christian presence in Lebanon and their fundamental role in the country, as well as the need to provide livelihoods that would allow them to remain in their homeland.

The Patriarch also met with former President of Lebanon Michel Suleiman, with whom he discussed the issue of the illegal detention of Archbishop Moussa el-Hage and the need for authorities to address it. They also discussed the need for the next President of Lebanon to enjoy public good will and national desire to give priority to the interest of Lebanon, and to work on the renaissance of the country and increase cooperation with Arab countries.

The Patriarch also received the head of the National Liberal Party, MP Camille Dory Chamoun, who reviewed with him local political developments and stressed the need for moderation to be the cornerstone of Lebanese policy.

The Patriarch also received Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Kosovo and Head of the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) Caroline Ziadeh, former minister and deputy Fares Boyce, MP Charbel Massad, and Ambassador of Egypt to Lebanon Yasser Alawi. The group discussed the sensitive state of Lebanese affairs and the issue of presidential elections and the necessity of conducting the presidential elections on time as laid out by the constitution.