High-profile visitors gather at Maronite Patriarchate in Lebanon to discuss national crisis

BETH KERKE, Lebanon — The Syriac Maronite Patriarchal Edifice in Beth Kerke (Bkerke), Lebanon, was abuzz with several high-profile visitors who had gathered to celebrate the Easter holiday and discuss the current state of Lebanon, particularly in light of Syriac Maronite Patriarch Mar Bechara Boutros al-Rai’s recent attendance at the Catholic Churches of the Middle East conference in Cyprus.

Among the visitors was former President of Lebanon General Michel Suleiman, who exchanged Easter greetings with Patriarch al-Rai and discussed local developments, including the ongoing presidential leadership vacuum.

Also in attendance was Mr. Samir Assaf, Chairman of the Board of Directors of HSBC Bank in the Middle East, who engaged in a conversation with the Patriarch about the worsening economic conditions in Lebanon and the political crisis that exacerbates the situation. Both agreed that the election of a new president was necessary to bring about positive change.

Later, Representative Ibrahim Kanaan joined Patriarch al-Rai for a presentation on the current nation state of affairs. On the stairs of Beth Kerke, Kanaan said:

“The power vacuum is deadly, and everyone is required to be aware of that. The situation needs solutions and reforms … It is not possible to delay in carrying out this basic task, and there is hope, but what is required is to get out of authoritarian struggles for power and move toward a marriage of reconciliation and reforms.” 

Kanaan explained that his visit was intended to prepare the Patriarch for upcoming meetings with the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and the US administration. He also emphasized the need for Christians to work towards building a state that is free from power struggles, as the current situation is concerning.

Finally, Mr. Asaad Nakad, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Zahle Electricity, extended his greetings and congratulations to the Patriarch on the Easter holiday. Nakad recognized Patriarch al-Rai’s positions as a roadmap to resolving the crises afflicting Lebanon and urged political parties to expedite the election of a president to ease the social and economic hardships that the Lebanese people face.