Al-Rahi to Miqati: I Asked Sarkozy to Convince Hariri to Return to Beirut for Reconciliationإقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية
During his meeting with Prime Minister Najib Miqati on Friday, Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rahi told the premier that he had asked French President Nicolas Sarkozy to convince ex-PM Saad Hariri to return to Beirut and reconcile with Miqati, MTV and LBC television networks reported.
“I am ready for any positive step,” MTV quoted Miqati as telling al-Rahi.
In a statement issued by his office after the talks, Miqati noted that “Lebanon has no interest in engaging in regional axes, something the government had stressed in its Policy Statement.”
“We share His Eminence the patriarch’s concerns over the attempts to fragment the Arab world into sectarian states,” Miqati said in the statement, adding that he has “always called for national unity, solidarity and consolidation because these choices are apt to achieve the national immunity needed to foil any suspicious plots that might target our country.”
Miqati also lauded “the responsible role being playing by Lebanon’s Christians in the Arab east and in the entire region.”
“We are all citizens, not majorities or minorities … Sunni Muslims in the Arab region represent the majority, and one should not generalize in tackling the phenomenon of extremism,” he added.
“In Lebanon, Sunnis were the constructive partner in building the independence, and one cannot forget their historic role and their leaders’ role, especially the role of (slain) PM Riad al-Solh, alongside his comrades the independence heroes, without whom the Lebanese formula and real partnership between Muslims and Christians would not have been possible,” Miqati went on to say.
In a recent interview in France with Al-Arabiya television, al-Rahi warned sectarian tensions between Sunnis and Shiites might emerge if the Syrian government was overthrown.
“If the regime changes in Syria, and the Sunnis take over, they will form an alliance with the Sunnis in Lebanon, which will worsen the situation between the Shiites and the Sunnis,” al-Rahi said.
He warned that the Christians will pay the price if the Muslim Brotherhood succeeded Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Speaking to reporters after Friday’s meeting with the patriarch, Miqati voiced his satisfaction with al-Rahi’s “wise” assessment of affairs.
“The patriarch issues his positions based on his convictions … I don’t believe that he will retract his stands,” he added
The premier said his talks with the patriarch addressed “all issues,” refusing to reveal further details.
Miqati’s visit to the summer seat of the Maronite patriarchate in Diman is a tradition followed by prime ministers during the tenure of former patriarch Nasrallah Sfeir.
Al-Rahi on Sunday noted that his recent statements in France on the Syrian crisis and Hizbullah’s arms -- which stirred a storm of controversy in Lebanon -- were not interpreted in a proper manner.
He stated: “I lament the fact that most of us observe things in a shallow manner and not in depth.”
During his trip to France, al-Rahi said “Syrian President Bashar Assad must be given a chance because he is implementing reforms in Syria.”
He also called on the international community to force the implementation of resolutions issued by the U.N. Security Council in order to strip Hizbullah of excuses to possess arms.