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The Daily Star
THURSDAY, 24 APR 2014
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Maronite declaration to highlight Christians’ role
Lebanon's Christian Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rai gives a press conference in Istanbul on March 31, 2011. (AFP PHOTO/BULENT KILIC)
Lebanon's Christian Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rai gives a press conference in Istanbul on March 31, 2011. (AFP PHOTO/BULENT KILIC)
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The formation of a much-needed all-embracing Cabinet is still obstructed by difficult consultations but is not impossible, well-informed sources told The Daily Star.

“Consultations aimed at forming a new Cabinet are tough but not impossible, although the decisions to be made [by the various political parties] are not easy. And it is impossible to overlook the Christian parties’ demands and form a Cabinet in which the two most prominent Christian parties, the Free Patriotic Movement and the Lebanese Forces, are not represented,” the sources said.

This has been made crystal clear by the Maronite patriarchate’s declaration to be launched Wednesday, a document that would include a historic playback of the body’s role in building the Lebanese state and its steadfast commitment to the principles of partnership, coexistence, the National Pact and protecting the role of Christians in the country.

The declaration will demand the implementation of decentralization as a preliminary step for balanced development in Lebanon and will reiterate the importance of the country’s disassociation policy.

The Daily Star received information that Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rai delegated a committee of civilian and religious specialists to prepare the declaration. It will be similar in its stance to the various famous Bkirki Appeals, the most important among which is the 2005 version, which called for the departure of the Syrian army from Lebanon. The declaration will also propose solutions and suggestions to reassure the Christians.

The sources noted that Rai had made the necessary adjustments to the document and announced his full agreement on every article in it.

The patriarchate’s declaration will focus on three issues, according to the sources.

First, it will remind people of the upcoming first centenary of the 1920 declaration of Grand Lebanon, which will occur in six years, and the importance of this milestone and its patriotic significance. It will point out the basic values on which an independent Lebanon has been built on, such as coexistence among the different components of the national family. The paper will raise a crucial question: What kind of future do the Lebanese want for their country?

Second, it will touch on the current political practice and the necessity of going back to the National Pact, which it says should be the base of inter-Lebanese relations. The declaration will stress that moving forward is dependent on resorting to this pact and every article of the Lebanese Constitution.

Third, it will stress that any attempt to amend the Constitution or the Taif agreement should be done with the goal of developing the pact and the political system in a way that allows all the Lebanese parties and groups to participate in a fair manner in the political process.

Amending the Taif Accord should be restricted to clarifying any confusion or ambiguity in its articles in order to correct the Lebanese political process, the declaration will say, as the Constitution – which was amended under the Taif pact – is being interpreted in different ways by various political parties.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on February 05, 2014, on page 3.
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Story Summary
This has been made crystal clear by the Maronite patriarchate's declaration to be launched Wednesday, a document that would include a historic playback of the body's role in building the Lebanese state and its steadfast commitment to the principles of partnership, coexistence, the National Pact and protecting the role of Christians in the country.

The patriarchate's declaration will focus on three issues, according to the sources.

The declaration will stress that moving forward is dependent on resorting to this pact and every article of the Lebanese Constitution.

Amending the Taif Accord should be restricted to clarifying any confusion or ambiguity in its articles in order to correct the Lebanese political process, the declaration will say, as the Constitution – which was amended under the Taif pact – is being interpreted in different ways by various political parties.
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