BEIRUT: Former Prime Minister Saad Hariri said Saturday that the upcoming visit by Pope Benedict XVI is a sign of hope for Lebanon and that its success will shed light on coexistence in the country between Christians and Muslims. “I am confident that the visit by His Holiness will increase the conviction of the Lebanese people in the civilized and humane meaning of their nation and its role in this East, and in the importance of the partnership it is based on, which was and should always be stronger than all misfortunes that beset this country,” Hariri said in a statement. The pope is scheduled to arrive in Lebanon on Sept. 14 to deliver the 2010 special Synod of Bishops document dedicated to Christians in the Middle East. “I pray to God Almighty to make [the visit] successful because its success will be a success for the Lebanese formula, in which the Muslims are as keen on [preserving] the Christian presence as the Christians themselves are,” Hariri said. The ex-premier, who is currently in Saudi Arabia, added that the success of the visit would also emphasize the importance of what he described as the country’s democratic experience, which has seen various sects come together to put an end to oppression and tyranny.
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on September 03, 2012, on page 4.