Qabalan Meets al-Rahi: Bkirki a Sanctuary for All Lebanese, We Must Open New Page of Cooperation


During a visit to Bkirki on Friday to congratulate the new Maronite patriarch Beshara al-Rahi on his election, Deputy Head of the Higher Shiite Islamic Council Sheikh Abdul Amir Qabalan stressed that "Bkirki is a sanctuary for all the Lebanese."

"We must open a new page of cooperation and harmony as the country can only rise through its Muslim and Christian wings," Qabalan added after meeting both al-Rahi and outgoing patriarch Nasrallah Sfeir.

Qabalan, who was accompanied by a delegation from the Higher Shiite Islamic Council, wished good health for Sfeir, describing him as a "dear brother."

"Lebanon can only rise through the unity of its people. Christians and Muslims are brothers," the Shiite leader said, calling for protecting the country.

Addressing al-Rahi, Qabalan said: "We're ready for permanent cooperation with your eminence in order to build Lebanon upon solid foundations."

For his part, al-Rahi said after the meeting: "It's true that we as spiritual leaders are not involved in the technicalities of politics, but we deal with what is more important: principles and constants which we hope political leaders would put into practice."

Outgoing patriarch Sfeir also spoke after the meeting. "We have always lived as partners in this country in weal and woe, and we ask God to make our upcoming days prosperous," he said.