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Rai: Lebanon should foster peace in region

Maronite Patriarch Beshara Rai, center, meets with MP Mohammad Raad and Hezbollah politburo member Ghaleb Abu Zeinab in Diman, north Lebanon, on Thursday, Sept. 6, 2012. (The Daily Star/Antoine Amrieh)

BEIRUT: Maronite Patriarch Beshara Rai said Thursday that Lebanon should foster regional peace, not disorder, and that the Lebanese should unite in order to resolve their issues.

“We are experiencing difficulties that we have to overcome, or else these difficulties will undermine the essence of Lebanon's role. We should be an element of peace and not disorder in the Arab world,” Rai told reporters after his meeting with a delegation from Akkar, north Lebanon -- which he recently visited.

"Akkar is a microcosm of Lebanon's coexistence between Muslims and Christians and it is unfortunate that some Akkar areas are being affected by events in Syria," Rai said.

The delegation included Future Movement MPs Khaled Daher and Hadi Hobeish, who visited Rai in his summer residence in Diman, north Lebanon.

The parliamentarians spoke to Rai about Syria’s daily violations against Akkar border villages, asking him to follow up the case with Michel Sleiman. They also apprised him of development projects in the northern region, including the opening of a branch of the Lebanese University in Akkar.

Later, Rai met with a Hezbollah delegation to discuss domestic political and socioeconomic issues as well as the planned visit by Pope Benedict XVI to Lebanon later this month.

The meeting was attended by Head of the Loyalty to the Resistance Parliamentary bloc MP Mohammad Raad and Hezbollah politburo member Ghaleb Abu Zeinab.

After the meeting, Raad told reporters that the delegation discussed with the patriarch a wide range of issues on the domestic and regional levels.

“The views expressed were similar to one another and the Patriarch is always keen on calming the situation and strengthening stability and; this is only done via bilateral dialogue and general ones among Lebanese,” he said.

 

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