Lebanon faces escalating tensions amid Israel-Hamas conflict, diplomatic moves aim to avert widening of conflict

BETH KERKE, Lebanon — Unprecedented tensions are gripping Lebanon’s southern borders in the wake of the conflict between Israel and Hamas, prompting swift diplomatic efforts to safeguard Lebanon from being drawn into any potential war scenario on its soil.

US Ambassador to Lebanon Dorothy Shea engaged in crucial talks with Syriac Maronite Patriarch Mor Bechara Butros al-Rai, emphasizing the imperative of preventing Lebanon’s entanglement in a conflict that could exacerbate the already fragile country. Patriarch al-Rai stressed the dire consequences such a war could impose on Lebanon.

Ambassador Shea underscored the critical need to preserve security and stability in Lebanon, emphasizing the strategic importance of keeping the country neutral amidst the ongoing conflict in the Gaza Strip. The shared commitment to Lebanon’s stability was a focal point of the discussions.

Patriarch al-Rai reiterated the paramount importance of maintaining stability in Lebanon. “The return of normal life to Lebanese institutions will begin with electing a president to Lebanon,” he stated.

In a separate meeting, the Patriarch also conferred with Joanna Wronecka, the Representative of the UN Secretary-General in Lebanon, to delve into the broader implications of the current situation. These diplomatic engagements underscore the concerted efforts to navigate Lebanon through these challenging times while preserving its stability and averting any direct involvement in regional conflicts.