BEIRUT: Maronite Patriarch Beshara Rai urged the liberation of Lebanese students from a “hostage situation” imposed by the teachers' boycott of correcting official exams Sunday, calling on teachers to abide by the education minister's call for swift exam correction.
“We insistently call for the liberation of Lebanese students from being used as hostages for the requests of the Union Coordination Committee,” Rai said during Sunday Mass, stressing that boycotting corrections would not resolve the salary scale issue.
Rai renewed Education Minister Elias Bou Saab’s calls for exam correction to commence Tuesday.
With regards to the presidency, the patriarch reiterated his call for a speedy election of a president, calling on political factions to respect the Constitution and carry out their constitutional duties.
Rai expressed hope that politicians would “free themselves from interests, commitments, bids and divisions so that they can elect the most suitable president with regards to pressing local and regional conditions.”
The patriarch said that the Maronite church, out of respect to political parties and lawmakers, would not propose or promote any candidate for the presidency.
As for his regional agenda, Rai renewed his call to the Arab League, the United Nations and the International Criminal Court to act to end assaults on Christians in Iraq.
Rai said that urgent action was necessary so that the Christians could return to their homes and so they could prosper in their own states with full rights of citizenship.
The Maronite patriarch also called for cooperative initiatives between the church and civil society aimed at aiding Christians in Mosul.