BEIRUT: Maronite Patriarch Beshara Rai Monday called on “all political parties to shoulder their decisive and historical responsibilities.” Rai’s comments came during a mass in the upper Metn village of Mtein, where he concluded a two-day tour of the area.
The mass was attended by more than 3,000 people, including caretaker Tourism Minister Fadi Abboud and a delegation from the Druze community in the village.
“We call on the political parties to shoulder their decisive and historical responsibilities, for Lebanon can’t continue with such a state of disintegration in its constitutional, economic and social institutions,” Rai said.
“ Lebanon needs, today rather than tomorrow, to recreate its entity as a systemized and capable state which embraces all its components. New choices and alternatives should be made based on the National Pact of 1943 ... to fill the constitutional gaps and adopt mechanisms that prevent the paralysis of the constitutional institutions,” he added.
The patriarch also reiterated his stance regarding the kidnapping of two Turkish Airlines crew members Friday. The pilots were forced from their hotel shuttle bus by gunmen shortly after leaving Beirut’s international airport.
“I’m sorry that Lebanese security on the Airport Road and Lebanon’s reputation were tarnished with the professional and targeted kidnapping the Turkish pilots, while the security of the state is absent,” Rai said.
Rai also addressed Lebanese officials, saying: “Stop your irreverence toward security and the interests of the people, and respect the foreigners. Stop indulging in your personal differences at the expense of the country, its institutions and people.”
He went on to demand the release of the Turkish hostages, the Lebanese hostages in Azaz and the bishops Boulos Yaziji and John Ibrahim, who were kidnapped in Syria earlier this year.
Only two of the 11 Lebanese pilgrims kidnapped in May 2012 by rebels in Azaz on the border with Turkey have been released.