Geagea Urges Firm Arab Stance on Defending Christians against Terror

In the wake of the recent deadly attacks against Christians in Iraq and Egypt, Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea on Monday called on Arab League chief Amr Moussa to "declare a state of emergency to protect Christians and prevent a worldwide conflict between Muslims and Christians."

In an interview on MTV, Geagea called on Arab states to "agree on taking firm decisions to defend Christians where they are being targeted."

On Saturday a suicide bomber killed 21 people and wounded 79 outside a Coptic church in the Egyptian city of Alexandria.

And on October 31, militants stormed Our Lady of Salvation church in the Iraqi capital Baghdad, leaving 44 worshippers, two priests and seven security force personnel dead, in an attack claimed by al-Qaida's local affiliate, the Islamic State of Iraq.

Ten days after the church massacre, a string of bomb and mortar attacks targeting the homes of Christians in Baghdad killed six people and wounded 33.

Turning to Lebanese domestic affairs, Geagea stressed that "the Special Tribunal for Lebanon is a red line, and (Premier Saad) Hariri is a red line," adding that his party was "not against any settlement that respects these two conditions."

Asked about a possible settlement in the country as a result of the ongoing Saudi-Syrian efforts in that regard, Geagea said: "There's nothing concrete, because the ideas that are being suggested by one side are being cold-shouldered by the other side."

He noted that "March 14's Christians are fully aware of the Syrian-Saudi ideas."

"Reports that the LF and the Phalange Party will be excluded from the so-called settlement are totally unbased," Geagea stressed.

"The Opposition wants to threaten Saudi Arabia with possible unrest in Lebanon so that it pressures the premier to renounce the tribunal, but Saudi Arabia only wants stability for this country," he added.

Commenting on President Michel Suleiman's current role and management of cabinet sessions, Geagea said the Opposition "is telling President Michel Suleiman 'you either be on our side or we won't let you maintain your current role.'"

On a separate note, he said that "the Christian political arena is regaining its role in the best way possible, and contrary to what some might think, there's a significant Christian manpower, and since 2005 up till now, the Christian political sphere has restored its status."

"No one can pose a threat to Christians except Christians themselves, because today we have leaders who lack a political strategy and are limiting their political mindset to their personal interests," Geagea added.

"The other threat the Christians are facing is the current Syrian attitude towards Lebanon, which is still adhering to the same nationalist and Baathist approach that doesn't recognize the Lebanese entity," according to the LF leader.

A U.N. probe into the assassination of ex-PM Rafik Hariri is reportedly set to indict operatives of Hizbullah, the powerful Shiite movement which is backed by Iran and Syria.

Hizbullah has warned against any attempt by the U.N.-backed Special Tribunal for Lebanon to arrest its members, raising fears of instability in the country.

But Saudi-backed Prime Minister Saad Hariri, son of the slain ex-premier, has vowed to see the court through.

The standoff has sparked fears of renewed violence in Lebanon following the STL indictments, and regional power-houses Saudi Arabia and Syria have scrambled to find a settlement that would please Lebanon's rival camps.

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