Al-Rahi: We Asked France to Eliminate Hizbullah’s Excuses to Retain Arms
Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rahi revealed on Tuesday that he had requested from France that the excuses for Hizbullah to maintain its possession of arms be eliminated.
He said during the Dar al-Fatwa spiritual summit: “We requested French assistance in eliminating its excuses to keep its weapons and help in strengthening the Lebanese army because only then can we say that the party no longer needs its arms.”
He made his request during his visit to France a few weeks ago.
Addressing Arab developments, he stated: “Regarding Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime and the need to introduce democracy in Syria, we as a church do not oppose any political system, but we support democracy, reform, justice, and freedoms.”
“We oppose violence regardless of which side it comes from,” al-Rahi added.
“We have seen the example of Iraq where democracy has turned into a civil war, which resulted in the immigration of Christians,” the patriarch noted.
“We hope that the developments in Syria won’t develop into a civil war between Sunnis and Alawites that may spread to Lebanon seeing as it too has Sunni and Alawite populations,” he warned.
He reiterated his fear of the ascension of extremist groups to power in Syria.
“Political choices are left to the political leaders, but the Patriarchate is demanding that national principles and mutual coexistence be respected,” the patriarch stressed.