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Maronite Patriarch calls on UN chief to play pioneering part in solving Lebanon’s crisis

March 24, 2021 at 12:49 pm

Lebanon’s Maronite Cardinal Mar Bechara Boutros al-Rahi (or Rai) (C-back), Greek Orthodox leader Yuhanna X Yazigi (R) and Syriac Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch, Moran Mor Ignatius Aphrem II (L), leave following a Sunday mass at a Maronite church in the Syrian capital Damascus on June 7, 2015 [LOUAI BESHARA/AFP via Getty Images]

Patriarch Moran Mor Bechara Boutros Al-Rahi has called on UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to play a pioneering part in solving the crisis in Lebanon, Anadolu has reported. The Maronite Catholic Patriarch spoke to Guterres by telephone on Monday evening, the church’s media office said yesterday.

“Guterres expressed his keen interest in the Lebanese situation and confirmed the need to form a government and keep Lebanon away from conflicts,” said the church. “Cardinal Al-Rahi told the UN head that the Lebanese are waiting for the UN to play a leading role, especially since Lebanon is a founding and active member of the international organisation.”

The situation of the Lebanese people and state was explained to the Secretary-General, especially the inability of the political class to sit together and agree on a rescue project. “This is at a time when hunger and poverty have spread in the country, the national currency has deteriorated, and Lebanon is on the verge of total collapse.” The call ended with the two parties agreeing to maintain communication about developments.

On 27 February, Al-Rahi called for an international conference under the auspices of the UN to “save Lebanon” and preserve the country’s neutrality.

READ: Maronite patriarch warns of ‘complete collapse’ in Lebanon

Prime Minister Saad Hariri met with the President of the Republic, Michel Aoun, at the presidential palace on Monday. This was the 18th occasion that he has done so to discuss the formation of a cabinet to succeed the current caretaker government, which resigned on 10 August last year, six days after a catastrophic explosion devastated the port of Beirut and large parts of the capital.

After the meeting, the two sides released statements that, according to observers, further aggravated the situation in a country in which the interests of regional and Western countries are also in conflict.

Lebanon is experiencing the worst economic crisis since the end of the 1975-1990 civil war. The coronavirus pandemic and the Beirut explosion worsened the already desperate situation.