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Rai pressing for spiritual summit to overcome crisis
Maronite Patriarch Beshara Rai, center, receives former Prime Minister Fouad Siniora in Bkirki, Monday, Dec. 2, 2013. (The Daily Star/HO)
Maronite Patriarch Beshara Rai, center, receives former Prime Minister Fouad Siniora in Bkirki, Monday, Dec. 2, 2013. (The Daily Star/HO)
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BEIRUT: Maronite Patriarch Beshara Rai is pressing for the convening of a Muslim-Christian spiritual summit aimed at exerting pressure on rival leaders to resolve the deepening political crisis, officials in Bkirki said Thursday.

Hares Chehab, secretary-general of the Islamic-Christian National Dialogue Committee, met Rai in Bkirki to brief him on the results of three conferences held in Vienna recently which discussed Muslim-Christian relations and the prospects of Christian presence in the region given the threats facing them as a result of the Arab Spring uprisings.

Delegates from 91 states attended the conferences, said Chehab, who represents Bkirki on the dialogue committee.

“In view of the escalating security incidents in Lebanon, in addition to the political deterioration, Patriarch Rai sees there is an urgent need for convening a spiritual summit to discuss ways of resolving the crisis,” Chehab told The Daily Star.

He said Rai would consult with religious leaders of Muslim and other Christian communities on the possibility of convening a spiritual summit.

“Once it is held, a spiritual summit will serve as a means of pressure on political leaders to act to resolve the crisis,” Chehab said. “The country’s spiritual leaders represent the real voice of the people and they can play an influential, positive and unifying role.”

He added that Rai was pressing for a spiritual summit “because the deteriorating situation in Lebanon has reached an intolerable limit.”

“The patriarch stressed that Lebanon will not overcome this dangerous crisis except through the unity and cooperation of its people,” Chehab said.

Separately, Rai met with U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon David Hale, with whom he discussed local and regional developments, the National News Agency reported.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on December 06, 2013, on page 4.
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