Presidency of the Republic of Lebanon

06/02/2021 | News release | Distributed by Public on 06/03/2021 00:31

The President met the Maronite Patriarch at Baabda Palace

Patriarch Rahi denounced the insults to the dignities contained in the Future Movement's statement, as they hinder and do not help in finding solutions.


Patriarch Al-Rahi: 'I hope for a government of poles that will rescue Lebanon from the hell in which it lives, similar to what happened during the era of President Fouad Chehab'.


Maronite Patriarch: 'I am seeking to unite President Aoun with Prime Minister Hariri. The President of the Republic wants to form a government now and immediately despite everything'.


President of the Republic, General Michel Aoun met Maronite Patriarch, Mar Bechara Boutros Al-Rahi, today at Baabda Palace and discussed with him the general situation in the country and developments related to the ongoing contacts to form the government.

Patriarch Al-Rahi denounced all insults directed towards the other, their adoption as a language in communication, and the violation of dignity, which hinders and does not help in the solution.

The Patriarch was asked whether he meant the statement of the Future Movement, he replied: Of course.

In addition, Patriarch Rahi called for the establishment of a multi-polar government, as it is able to take decisions without returning to those who assigned them, recalling the government formation of late President Fouad Shehab, a four-polar government that led to the establishment of a state of law and institutions.

Patriarch Rahi also stressed that it is not up to him to name the ministers and the positions they will occupy, and that he seeks for a meeting between President Aoun and Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri, considering that it is a national and conscientious duty that they meet to form a government, without the need for an expanded dialogue table.

Then, the Maronite Patriarch pointed out that President Aoun wants now and immediately to form a government despite everything, and called for the atmosphere not to be tense and to keep it respectful and far from insults and humiliation.

Patriarch's Statement:

'I was honored to visit the President of the Republic before going to Rome in response to an invitation addressed by His Holiness the Pope to the Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant heads of churches in Lebanon to discuss two main issues: thinking together for Lebanon, which His Holiness holds in his heart, and praying for Lebanon's salvation and peace.

We carry with us the endeavor for Lebanon to preserve its entity, value, and privacy, it is living together, it is democracy, it is freedoms and dialogue, and this is what the Pope is very keen on and His Holiness has expressed this concern in all his messages.

It is necessary that we go through this visit, because time is short. Next week we enter into a synod that will last for two weeks, and it will not be possible to carry out this visit. This is the main reason, as for the second main reason, is our bitter reality that we live and we all know at unsustainable levels, to the extent that the World Bank said that we have become the third country in the world in terms of tragedies in the twentieth century, and this requires the necessity of establishing a government to confront these matters, and there is no longer any justification to prevent the existence of a government and the establishment of an understanding between His Excellency the President of the Republic and the Premier-designate, who are directly concerned with the formation. Who does not know what is happening? The government must be above all considerations. This is the pain of all the Lebanese. We say that Lebanon is a country of dialogue. We must engage in dialogue and not insult each other. We can differ in opinion, outlook, aspiration, program and solution. Either we come to insult one another, this is unacceptable in any way, and it is outside our Lebanese culture. Therefore, we are hurt if this is the language to be used for communication, and I denounce all this.

In all these issues, we stop at the number of 24 or something else, the division of quotas, and who appoints ministers, all of these things. For a while, I have been thinking and saying out loud, and I say it today with you, if we go back one day to the 1958 revolution, when President Shehab formed a government of poles of four people and established a state and institutions, no two disagree that we were the most important country, so will we continue to disagree on the number and nomenclature? Why not a pole government as it happened before, what prevents? We want a rescue government You will rescue Lebanon from the hell it is in, and we must not forget that when we say Lebanon, we mean the people, the land, and the entity. The country needs a rescue and not a moral shooting, and the media should help us in this regard to establish peace among the people. When we read what was reported by the media, it was as if we were going backwards, and this is unacceptable'.

Questions & Answers:

Question: You failed previously to bring President Aoun together with Prime Minister Hariri... and in light of the differences in viewpoints between them, would you accept the nomination of the two Christian ministers?

Answer: 'I wished and hoped that this meeting would happen daily. Of course, I do not accept the appointment of the two ministers, because it is not my business to name the ministers or specify the ministries... Our position is to form a rescue government from non-partisan people'.

Question: Have you proposed to the President a government of poles?

Answer: 'Today I did not have the opportunity to present the idea to him, as it occurred to me during my conversation with you, and I had previously spoken to him in previous governments. I hope with all my heart that a government of poles will emerge out of this situation in which we are living. And how much time is left from the government? One year, don't we want to save the country? The world is begging us to form a government, and we suffer from a shortage of bread, medicine and fuel... What are we waiting for? Let's go to the essence and leave the formalities. We have to respect each other. Insults do not help they rather disturb matters. Insults are bad and far from culture and civilization. What will people say about us in light of what the media reports? We are a country of dialogue and democracy, we must preserve our dignity and the dignity of each other'.

Question: After the intensification of the debate, is it possible to return to the proposed initiative and to solve the problem of the two ministers?

Answer: 'Imagine that the country is in conflict and the people are dying, and we are talking about two ministers'.

Question: What did you talk about today with His Excellency the President, and what do you mean by the government of poles? Is it a government of politicians?

Answer: 'What is wrong? We want as few ministers as possible and that they can take decisions, and the poles are the ones who decide and they don't have to go back to whoever assigned them. This is what I say, and this is what happened with President Chehab'.

Question: Several months ago, you spoke in generalities at the national level to bring the views closer. As long as you are the first reference on the Christian level and among many Muslims, why not take a position on government affairs?

Answer: 'We do not stand aside. Rather, we work to bring the officials closer, and we say, we strive, and we will remain in this quest, but we want them to help us so that the atmosphere remains respectful, and dignity is not violated, because it disrupts'.

Question: You mean the statement of the Future Movement?

Answer: 'Of course. We have to know how to communicate with each other, even if we differ in opinion, but without insult. This is incompatible with our Lebanese and international culture. We will continue to seek to bring politicians and officials closer, as this is our work without entering into techniques in terms of numbers and appointments, but we want a solution'.

Question: President Chehab was elected by consensus after a war that left 3,000 dead. Do you fear a similar scenario before reaching a new settlement? There was information that you intended to contact Prime Minister Hariri from Baabda Palace to re-establish contact with the President of the Republic. Did that happen?

Answer: 'It is a patriotic and conscientious duty for His Excellency the President and the Premier-designate to meet around a table to form a government.

Question: Do you support the call for a dialogue table?

Answer: 'It is not necessary to establish a dialogue table, as they can negotiate without the need for a large table. I mentioned the late President Chehab to say that he formed a government of four poles and produced the best government in the history of Lebanon, and then things started again, before and after the governments included more than four people, but during this period they saved the country. What I say is that the current situation requires a decision of this kind, and this is what I hope'.

Question: Is it true that time no longer permits the formation of a government? What did Mr. President tell you in this regard?

Answer: 'Mr. President, despite everything, wants the government now and immediately'.

Question: This is what Prime Minister Hariri says as well. Who does not want the government?

Answer: 'They should meet together, and we are striving for that'.