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ASIA/LEBANON - Maronite Patriarch Rai: The international community has to recognize and proclaim the "neutrality" of Lebanon

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Posted on: 05/12/16
Paris - The neutrality of Lebanon with regards to the conflicts and contrasts between regional and global forces that disrupt the Middle East region of the opposing sides, must be officially recognized and proclaimed by the international community. Only then the Country, already under pressure due to the institutional paralysis, social strife, and a mass influx of Syrian refugees, can avoid being sucked from the destabilization and wars which for years has been tearing Syria and Iraq apart. This is the proposal made publicly by Maronite Patriarch Bechara Boutros Rai on Monday, May 9 from Paris, during a visit in which the Primate of the Maronite Church was also received by French President Francois Hollande at the Elysee.
"In order for Lebanon to remain a place of encounter, of coexistence and dialogue", the Patriarch said during a press conference held at the Senate, "we wish the international community to declare the neutrality of the Country". According to Cardinal Rai, only in this way we will avoid Lebanon to be dragged into agreements that are at the origin "of wars and international and regional conflicts".
During the press conference, the Maronite Patriarch also issued a warning concerning the emergency conditions in which one million and a half refugees Syrian refugees in Lebanon live: "These human beings", said the Maronite Primate, "live in total deprivation, and in this misery, they can be easily manipulated by terrorist organizations if this state of affairs is perpetuated". In addition, Patriarch Rai criticized those who exploit the Middle East conflict to stir up anti-Islamic sentiments: "the Muslim religion represents one of the most important components of the human family", said the Primate of the Maronite Church, "and it is necessary that the international community respects its religious and human values".


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