Audeh Calls for Respecting Constitutional Deadlines, Resumption of Dialogue

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Greek Orthodox Archbishop of Beirut Elias Audeh called on officials in his Christmas sermon on Wednesday to respect the constitutional deadlines and resume dialogue among each other.

“The country will not be well and will collapse of we didn't exert efforts to find consensus,” Audeh said at the St. George cathedral in downtown Beirut.

He called on officials to prioritize the national interest and respect constitution and apply it.

“Vacancies in state posts must be occupied , the punishment and reward principle must be applied and regulatory bodies revived,” Audeh pointed out.

He called for the swift formation of a new cabinet and the revival of parliamentary work to confront the recent challenges in the country.

Audeh warned of sectarian division in Lebanon, expressing fear that the state is breaking down and that constitution is not followed.

He pointed out that security chaos is spreading across the country.

Prime Minister-designate Tammam Salam was appointed in April but has so far been unable to put together a government over the conditions and counter conditions set by the rivals parties as fears mount that the differences between the March 8 and 14 camps would lead to a vacuum the presidential post.

President Michel Suleiman's six-year tenure ends in May 2014.

The President had recently suggested the formation of a government capable of staging the elections regardless if it does not enjoy parliament's confidence.

The March 8 alliance however rejected the proposal, deeming it unconstitutional.

Audeh called for the release of bishops Youhanna Ibrahim and Boulos Yazigi, who were kidnapped on April 23 in the northern Syrian province of Aleppo while they were on a humanitarian work.

He also urged it to take similar action in ensuring the release of the nuns, who were kidnapped from Syria's town of Maalula.

Last week, jihadists and opposition fighters entered the Syrian Christian town of Maalula and took 12 Lebanese and Syrian Greek Orthodox nuns from the Mar Takla Monastery to the Yabrud area in Qalamoun, near Damascus.

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