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Lebanese protesters gather for the speech of Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rai in Bkirki, on February 27, 2021. (courtesy AFP)

Lebanon’s Maronite Patriarch calls for UN led International Conference to save Lebanon

Maronite Patriarch Beshara el-Rahi said Saturday that his calls for a UN-sponsored international conference for Lebanon are meant to face a “coup situation” in the country.

“Our calls for a UN-sponsored international conference are to face a coup situation. Leaving the situation as it is while the state collapses and people get devastated is completely unacceptable for us,” said Rahi addressing crowds of Lebanese who came to Bkirki to support his calls.

“No two can disagree that failure to abide by neutrality involves us in problems. The independent Lebanese entity is based on neutrality,” he added.

On the outcome required from an international conference, Rahi said: “What do we want from an international conference? We want it to stabilize the Lebanese entity which is seriously endangered. We want it to support the democratic system, freedom and justice. We want it to announce Lebanon’s neutralization. We want it to take all measures needed to implement all international decisions for Lebanon to save Lebanon’s sovereignty and allow the Lebanese state to spread its authority on all Lebanese regions. We want it to support the Lebanese army to make it capable of solely defending the country.”

The Patriarch also voiced rejection of any attempt to naturalize Palestinian refugees in Lebanon, pushing for the return of Syrian refugees back home. “We want the international conference to set a clear plan preventing the naturalization of Palestinians, and to return the Syrian refugees back home,” he said.

With enthusiasm, the crowds cheered as Rahi’s word echoed. He urged the Lebanese to seek their rightful rights to live in dignity.

“No right shall be wasted. I understand your pain and anger well. I understand your revolt. Do not stay silent about politicizing the judiciary. Do not stay silent about illegal arms. Do not stay silent about innocents kept in prisons, or the naturalization of Palestinians. Do not stay silent about the coup against the state and system. Do not stay silent about the delayed government formation, or about reforms or our martyrs. Do not stay silent about illegal arms.”

“We liberated the land, so let us liberate the state from everything that hinders its authority and its performance. The greatness of the liberation and resistance movements in the world fall in the interest of the state and its legitimacy,” he concluded.

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