Mobile  |  About us  |  Photos  |  Videos  |  Subscriptions  |  RSS Feeds  |  Today's Paper  |  Classifieds  |  Contact Us
The Daily Star
WEDNESDAY, 16 APR 2014
06:11 AM Beirut time
Weather    
Beirut
18 °C
Blom Index
BLOM
1,214.01down
Lebanon News
Follow this story Print RSS Feed ePaper share this
Aoun in Rome to discuss Christians’ challenges in region
File - FPM leader Michel Aoun speaks during a press conference in Rabieh, Friday, July 26, 2013. (The Daily Star/Charbel Nakhoul, HO)
File - FPM leader Michel Aoun speaks during a press conference in Rabieh, Friday, July 26, 2013. (The Daily Star/Charbel Nakhoul, HO)
A+ A-

BEIRUT: Michel Aoun left Beirut Sunday for a three-day visit to Rome, where he will meet with senior Vatican officials to discuss the difficulties Christians are facing in Lebanon and the Middle East.

Aoun is heading up a Free Patriotic Movement delegation that does not include MPs or ministers. He is scheduled to meet Cardinal Giuseppe Bertello, president of the Governorate of Vatican City State, and Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, the de facto foreign minister. He is awaiting confirmation for a request to meet Pope Francis.

FPM sources said that Aoun’s meeting with senior Vatican officials would address the problems that face Eastern Christians as a result of the unrest in the Arab world in general and Syria in particular, turmoil that has driven some to leave their home countries.

Aoun will also raise internal Lebanese issues during the talks, including the Syrian refugee crisis that is altering the demographic balance of the country, the Cabinet crisis and the need to conduct presidential elections on time. He is expected to stress that the future president of Lebanon must be credible and represent a large percentage of the Christian community, the sources said, rather than be chosen as a result of external negotiations as in previous years since the Taif Agreement.

The sources said Aoun would request that the Vatican use its influence to protect the rights of Christians in Lebanon and let them choose their own president and members of Parliament in the same manner as the country’s other sects.

With respect to the ongoing discussions on the Cabinet’s formation, the sources said the current negotiations were limited to the issue of the contents of the government statement, particularly with regards to the Baabda Declaration as it relates to involvement in the Syrian war and Hezbollah’s role there. The March 8 Christian groups will OK any agreement that Hezbollah accepts in this regard, the sources added.

The sources said events outside the country had spurred Lebanese political blocs to begin serious negotiations to create a Cabinet. They said that Aoun’s preconditions for joining the Cabinet could be an obstacle, but added that the issue would not become a major problem as in previous situations due to time limitations.

On the other hand, the Christian groups in March 14 – particularly the Lebanese Forces – reject entering a government with Hezbollah before the party announces outright its withdrawal from Syria, where it is fighting rebels alongside President Bashar Assad’s forces.

Parliamentary sources said that if there was local and international consensus on forming a Cabinet, the Lebanese Forces could remain outside it, particularly as sources in the party consider its share of one Orthodox minister a political loss to the group.

However, if the Lebanese Forces sticks to its principle of rejecting a seat at the same table with Hezbollah, this will increase its popularity among March 14 supporters and Christians.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on January 13, 2014, on page 3.
Home Lebanon News
 
     
 
Lebanon
Advertisement
Comments  

Your feedback is important to us!

We invite all our readers to share with us their views and comments about this article.

Disclaimer: Comments submitted by third parties on this site are the sole responsibility of the individual(s) whose content is submitted. The Daily Star accepts no responsibility for the content of comment(s), including, without limitation, any error, omission or inaccuracy therein. Please note that your email address will NOT appear on the site.

comments powered by Disqus
Story Summary
Michel Aoun left Beirut Sunday for a three-day visit to Rome, where he will meet with senior Vatican officials to discuss the difficulties Christians are facing in Lebanon and the Middle East.

FPM sources said that Aoun's meeting with senior Vatican officials would address the problems that face Eastern Christians as a result of the unrest in the Arab world in general and Syria in particular, turmoil that has driven some to leave their home countries.

Aoun will also raise internal Lebanese issues during the talks, including the Syrian refugee crisis that is altering the demographic balance of the country, the Cabinet crisis and the need to conduct presidential elections on time.

The sources said events outside the country had spurred Lebanese political blocs to begin serious negotiations to create a Cabinet.
Related Articles
 
 
Regional powers’ stance on presidency not yet known
 
 
Lebanon's Arabic press digest – Apr. 15, 2014
 
 
What is needed,a fireman or a firestarter?
 
 
Lebanon sees international, regional support
 
 
Sleiman chairs Dialogue session without substantial discussion
Show More
More from
Hassan Lakkis
 
 
MPs form committee to restudy wage hike bill
 
 
Salam assumes office with little fanfare
 
 
New government might emerge within days
 
 
Parliament faces public outcry over newly extended mandate
 
 
Contacts frozen within March 8, but no split
Entities
Advertisement


Baabda 2014
Advertisement
Follow us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Follow us on Linked In Follow us on Google+ Subscribe to our Live Feed
Multimedia
Images  
Pictures of the day
A selection of images from around the world- Tuesday April 15, 2014
View all view all
Advertisement
Rami G. Khouri
Rami G. Khouri
Silencing Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s hate talk
Michael Young
Michael Young
The presidential chess game has begun
David Ignatius
David Ignatius
China moves to the scary side of its boom
View all view all
Advertisement
cartoon
 
Click to View Articles
 
 
News
Business
Opinion
Sports
Culture
Technology
Entertainment
Privacy Policy | Anti-Spamming Policy | Disclaimer | Copyright Notice
© 2014 The Daily Star - All Rights Reserved - Designed and Developed By IDS