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Politicians praise Rai’s National Charter, but some remain silent

Maronite Patriarch Beshara Rai, center, heads a meeting in Bkirki, Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2014. (The Daily Star/Maronite Patriarchate Bkerke, HO)

BEIRUT: Politicians Thursday hailed the National Charter announced by the Maronite Church a day earlier, saying it reflected Bkirki’s eagerness to preserve coexistence and the Lebanese state. After visiting Maronite Patriarch Beshara Rai Thursday, caretaker Social Affairs Minister Wael Abu Faour, from the Progressive Socialist Party, said the National Charter reflected the will of the Lebanese to live together in peace.

“We are here today to convey the greetings of [PSP leader] MP Walid Jumblatt to his eminence and his great praise of the National Charter that was announced, which represents the conscience of all the Lebanese and their will to build a state, have coexistence, stability, civil peace and build institutions,” Abu Faour told reporters.

Abu Faour said he and Rai also discussed efforts to preserve Lebanon and coexistence, adding that he briefed the patriarch on the Cabinet formation talks.

Rai announced a National Charter after a meeting of the Council of Maronite Bishops Wednesday.

The charter stressed the need for the timely election of a new president and for Muslim-Christian partnership to run Lebanon.

Prime Minister-designate Tammam Salam commended the National Charter during a telephone conversation with Rai.

“It was released at the appropriate time amid this tense atmosphere. It relieved people by calling for implementing solutions to overcome the crisis we are going through,” Salam said. “People need to hear this type of rhetoric.”

Former Prime Minister Saad Hariri, the leader of the Future Movement, telephoned Rai and said the National Charter reflected the conscience of the Lebanese.

Rai also received calls from former Prime Minister Fouad Siniora and Batroun MP Butros Harb.

Metn MP Ghassan Moukheiber, from Michel Aoun’s Change and Reform parliamentary bloc, praised what he called “the positive approach” of the National Charter.

Moukheiber said that although the National Charter expressed concern over the current state of coexistence in Lebanon, it also expressed hope and called for citizens to keep building a civil state.

Hezbollah, the Amal Movement and Aoun’s Free Patriotic Movement have yet to comment on the charter.

Lebanese Forces MP Strida Geagea hailed the document, calling it “historical and decisive in this delicate period.”

“This is because it included basic principles and convictions which the Christians of Lebanon adhered to for hundreds of years,” Geagea said in a statement. “Bkirki has always expressed these principles and convictions, which constitute the major pillars of the Lebanese entity.”

The Kataeb Party said the National Charter would help resolve Lebanon’s crisis.

“It was announced in this difficult period and constitutes a safe passage for coming up with the needed solutions for the current crisis with all its political, security, social and economic repercussions,” the party said.

It added that the document supported the principles that the Kataeb had been struggling to achieve since its formation in 1936, namely diversity, administrative decentralization and positive neutrality. It called on all Lebanese citizens to embrace the National Charter.

Chouf MP Marwan Hamadeh, from the Democratic Gathering bloc, said that the charter was as important as the Baabda Declaration.

“A thorough reading of the National Charter shows that not only does it complement the political, security and social aspects of the Baabda Declaration, but it is of the same importance [in terms of being] a pioneering political and social declaration by the church,” he said.

Hamadeh added that the National Charter and the Baabda Declaration were important for the future of Christians in Lebanon and the Lebanese in general, and that the documents backed a united and democratic Lebanon where arms were only in the hands of legitimate forces.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on February 07, 2014, on page 3.

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Summary

Politicians Thursday hailed the National Charter announced by the Maronite Church a day earlier, saying it reflected Bkirki's eagerness to preserve coexistence and the Lebanese state. After visiting Maronite Patriarch Beshara Rai Thursday, caretaker Social Affairs Minister Wael Abu Faour, from the Progressive Socialist Party, said the National Charter reflected the will of the Lebanese to live together in peace.

Rai announced a National Charter after a meeting of the Council of Maronite Bishops Wednesday.

Prime Minister-designate Tammam Salam commended the National Charter during a telephone conversation with Rai.

It called on all Lebanese citizens to embrace the National Charter.


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