Al-Rahi Arrives in Paris: Electoral Draft Law Requires Lebanese Consensus
Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rahi described the Lebanese army on Saturday as Lebanon’s backbone saying the country has no pride or dignity without a strong army.
In remarks at Beirut airport before traveling to Paris on an official visit, al-Rahi said: “The army is Lebanon’s backbone, it is Lebanese pride and honor.”
The patriarch made the remark in response to a question about a campaign launched by al-Mustaqbal movement officials and MPs against the army.
“It is not worth responding” to every individual who attacks the army, he said, adding that the point of view of one person does not represent the entire Lebanese.
No one can attack the sanctity of the army, the presidency, the government, parliament and state institutions, al-Rahi told reporters.
“We appreciate the role of the state and its institutions,” he said.
Al-Rahi also thanked French President Nicolas Sarkozy for inviting him to Paris. The two will meet on Monday.
He told reporters aboard the plane that consensus has been achieved among Christian officials on a new electoral draft law.
“The electoral draft law will be discussed during the broad meeting in Bkirki that will be held on Sept. 23, we want a law that everyone have consensus over and preserves the citizens’ right to elect their (parliamentary) representation,” he stressed
Concerning the dispute in the town of Lassa in the Jbeil district over the issue of construction on church property in the predominately Shiite town, al-Rahi said that the issue is neither political nor religious “it is strictly related to real state.”
“We’re trying to solve the issue and we can reach comprehensive solutions, the issue shouldn’t be giving a political or a religious aspect… the solution would be by agreeing on the issue or through the law,” he said.
He said: “The political disputes can’t stop the country’s development.” Urging officials to differentiate between the personal interests and partisan and the public good.”
The patriarch arrived in Paris on Saturday afternoon.