Naharnet

Al-Rahi Says Vast Challenges require Further Unity

Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rahi stressed on Thursday the necessity to implement peace and dialogue, saying that the country is facing an immense challenge that requires the unity of the Lebanese.

“We should fortify the coexistence culture that should include mutual respect and knowledge,” al-Rahi said during the opening of the Antiochian Conference.

The Patriarch called on people to denounce the “extremism phenomena” and the “secular atheism.”

He stressed the importance of coexistence and unity that would be only guaranteed by a “consensual president.”

“A new head of state should be elected today,” al-Rahi said, denouncing the delay imposed by some parliamentary blocs that he held responsible for impeding the polls.

He noted that it is an “utmost necessity to achieve peace through dialogue away from any violence and oppression.”

The conference opened at the Balamand University under the title the "Antiochian unity."

Lebanon has been plunged in vacuum in the presidency since President Michel Suleiman's term ended in May.

Lawmakers have so far failed to elect a new president despite staging seven elections sessions.

Six of the sessions were obstructed due to a lack of quorum caused by a boycott by the March 8 camp's Hizbullah's Loyalty to the Resistance bloc and the Change and Reform bloc.

March 8 MPs justified the boycott by saying that consensus should be reached over a presidential candidate.

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