Maronite Patriarch calls for Lebanon’s ‘active neutrality’


    “My position on neutrality is not against Hezbollah, but has the good of all Lebanese at heart because today poverty affects everyone”, commented Maronite Patriarch Bechara Boutros Rai

    Maronite Patriarch Bechara Boutros Rai
    Maronite Patriarch Bechara Boutros Rai

    Newsroom (September 13, 2020 Gaudium Press) Many analysts attribute the ineffectiveness of the State in Lebanon to a simple fact: each faction fights for its own interests, to the detriment of the common good.

    This incapacity also leads to circumstances such as those that generated the explosion last August 4 in the port of Beirut, resulting in hundreds of deaths.

    In this factional environment, Maronite Patriarch Bechara Boutros Rai has proposed the so-called “Lebanese neutrality” as a remedy and possible solution to the crisis. Once again he presented this proposal to the representatives of the Spiritual Rassemblement, an interreligious body that brings together members of different Christian and Muslim confessions present in the country. The meeting took place at the patriarchal summer residence of Diman. Patriarch Boutros encouraged neutrality based on two defining traits of his nation: Lebanon is a multi-religious and multi-cultural country.

    Non-neutrality could disintegrate Lebanon

    If the country does not walk in the path of this neutrality-explained the Maronite Cardinal, “the Maronites will move towards France, the Sunnis towards Saudi Arabia and the Shiites towards Iran”. That neutrality and plurality was put in crisis during the civil war, resulting on a bloody struggle between sectarian forces

    Lebanon risks being caught up and torn apart in the clashes between geopolitical blocs fighting each other in the Middle East. This process is at the root of the international isolation and impoverishment of the Lebanese people, he said.  The only way out of this is to assert Lebanon’s plural identity and the consequent Lebanese neutrality in face of the regional conflicts.

    In the meeting, the representatives of the Spiritual Rassemblement unanimously affirmed their support for the “Lebanese neutrality” outlined by Cardinal Rai. they appreciated it as a historical position that protects Lebanon from any foreign intervention aimed at making the Country a vassal of other States.

    The reaffirmation of Lebanon’s “active neutrality” was raised organically by Patriarch Rai in the ‘Memorandum for Lebanon’, a document published in mid-August.

    The Maronite Patriarch, in his speech to the Spiritual Meeting, expressed that all Lebanese political forces reacted to his proposal in various ways, except for the Hezbollah Shiite Party.

    In this sense, Cardinal Rai denied that his initiative of active neutrality is destined to isolate Hezbollah, and to the spotlight its links with Iran.

    Everything that has been written in the newspapers”, said Patriarch Rai in this regard “does not concern me and does not affect me. My position on neutrality is not against Hezbollah, but has the good of all Lebanese at heart, because today poverty affects everyone”.

    With information from Fides



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