| 21 April 2024, Sunday |

Aoun will visit the Vatican bearing public and private concerns

The visit of the President of the Republic to the Vatican on the 21st of this month stands out, and is surprising, especially since the visit of the Vatican’s Secretary of State for Relations with Countries Richard Gallagher to Beirut and his meeting with President Aoun was only two months ago.

The visit, according to special information, was requested by Aoun from Gallagher, and he will focus on the concerns of Christians.

Under this loose title, the President of the Republic will raise fear of a presidential vacuum when the due date comes next October. He will try to obtain the papal blessing for the extension in order to avoid a vacuum in the first Christian position in Lebanon. He may, of course, raise the issue of the parliamentary elections and his insistence on holding them, unless some obstacles occur that may require postponing them for a while.

Diplomatic sources reveal that in the context of Christians’ concerns, President Aoun will raise the issue of US sanctions and French measures, which particularly affect Christian figures, foremost of which is, of course, the head of the Free Patriotic Movement, Gibran Bassil. The sources did not rule out that Bassil would accompany the President of the Republic on this visit.

And based on the permanent coordination between France and Lebanon, and a contact was recorded between Le Drian and Gallagher upon the latter’s return from Beirut, Aoun will ask for the help of the Vatican to convince France of the issue of the extension. Noting that the position of France, as well as the Vatican, is strict regarding the need for future benefits to take place on the dates stipulated by the constitution.

He also counts on the Pope’s intervention to resolve the issue of sanctions against Bassil, based on the close relationship that binds His Holiness the Pope with the US President.

Diplomatic sources expect that the Vatican’s circles will approach the President of the Republic with the issue of neutrality, which the Maronite Patriarch calls for as a basic solution for Lebanon amid the ongoing conflicts around it. After the Vatican, Aoun is scheduled to visit Italy on the 22nd of this month, and this is his first visit to Rome since assuming the presidency of the republic.

  • Sawt Beirut International