Maronite Patriarch, Cardinal Bechara Boutros Al-Rahi, criticized the continuous prevarication and indifference regarding the new government formation issue, stressing that “failure to facilitate the formation of a new cabinet with full constitutional powers, enjoying national, political and charter representation, is an act of sabotage.”
He added: “Leaving the country without a government at the end of the covenant and on the eve of the presidential elections will inevitably lead to the weakening of the representation factor of the Lebanese legitimacy as a national reference for negotiations with the international community…whereby the de facto forces remain in control of the national decision and the fate of Lebanon.”
Al-Rahi feared that “this would increase the collapse of the state and anger the people, as it would render the region’s conflicts and settlements at the expense of Lebanon, as has been the case in recent decades.”
The Patriarch’s words came in his homily this morning as he presided over the sixth Sunday Mass of Pentecost at the Patriarchal Summer Church in Al-Diman.
He went on to underline rejection of any “manipulation of the presidential entitlement,” stressing “the need to respect this entitlement at its constitutional deadline, and to elect a president who is politically experienced, respectable, courageous and impartial, a statesman who is neutral in his integrity and committed to his patriotism.”
Al-Rahi affirmed that all disputants must place the country on the path towards real salvation and positive change, adding that “the conditions of the country require that this president be elected at the beginning of the constitutional period, not at its end, in order to reassure the people, calm souls, and revive hopes.”
Referring to the negotiations to demarcate the maritime borders between Lebanon and Israel, so that Lebanon can extract its rightful oil and gas resources, al-Rahi considered that “the success of these negotiations depends mainly on the strength of the unity of the Lebanese position behind legitimacy.”
He added: “The state cannot negotiate while others test the negotiations militarily…Despite the international assurances we receive, no one can predict whether the region will be on the eve of military or peaceful events, but it is certainly on the eve of certain developments. Therefore, Lebanon’s supreme interest requires that the dossier of border negotiations be neutralized from the political game, internal entitlements, and regional conflicts, as it is time for all parties to rally around Lebanon’s interest.”