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Al-Rahi Meets Political and Spiritual Leaders, Hopes Government Will be Formed Soon to Tackle People's Concerns

(Retrieved from Naharnet on April 5, 2011)

Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rahi held talks on Monday with Prime Minister-designate Najib Miqati at his house in Verdun.
The meeting was also attended by a number of spiritual leaders, including Grand Mufti Mohammad Rashid Qabbani, the Vice President of the Higher Shiite Islamic Council Abdel Amir Qabalan, and Druze spiritual leader Sheikh Naim Hassan.

During the meeting, Miqati stressed the role of Lebanese religious authorities in bridging the difference between Lebanon and bolstering cooperation "in order to save Lebanon from the various crises it is suffering from."

He also added that his efforts in forming a government that can confront major problems are ongoing.

"The key to settling political disputes lies in implementing the constitution … in a way that would ensure that no side eliminates the other," he said.

Miqati stated that partnership cannot exist without trust and understanding.

For their part, the spiritual leaders commended Miqati on his national positions and efforts to form the government, calling on political powers to "facilitate his mission and ease their conditions over the formation."

Addressing Miqati, al-Rahi said: "We appreciate your patience, keenness on implementing the constitution, and all that you are presenting for Lebanon."

"We assure you that we are praying that you achieve your goals and are successful in forming a government that all the Lebanese are impatiently awaiting," the patriarch added.

Al-Rahi later held talks in Ain al-Tineh with Speaker Nabih Berri after which he hoped that a new government would be formed soon "in order to tackle the mounting problems in Lebanon."

He added after the talks that the official visit would "mark the beginning of a long road of cooperation that would benefit all citizens."

"We are in agreement with Berri on all matters," he added.

For his part, the speaker stated that the meeting tackled various issues in Lebanon, including the government formation process.

"It was agreed that communication should be maintained for the sake of Lebanon and the Lebanese," he stressed.

Al-Rahi later held talks with Caretaker Prime Minister Saad Hariri at the Center House on maintaining cooperation on various issues in Lebanon.

"We wanted to inform Hariri that we are in constant contact in order to achieve what is best for Lebanon and the Lebanese," the patriarch said.

"We want this visit to mark the beginning of ongoing cooperation and consultation," he added.

Hariri reiterated al-Rahi's statements, adding: "God willing we will maintain our openness and we will remain in constant contact with you."

The patriarch later met with Grand Mufti Qabbani at Dar al-Fatwa.

He announced after the talks that an Islamic-Christian spiritual summit will be held in Bkirki on the occasion of his election and in order to assert national, humanitarian, and social principles.

"We are seeking to continue the long historic course that the Patriarchate and Dar al-Fatwa have maintained," he said.

Addressing the government formation process, al-Rahi stated: "We hope it will be formed soon because we are in great need for it."

Qabbani meanwhile highlighted the importance of holding the Islamic-Christian summit in light of the patriarch's election, saying that the cooperation between the two sides would enable them to play a comprehensive national spiritual role in Lebanon.