AOUN DISCUSSES LATEST DEVELOPMENTS WITH RAHI, MEETS SSNP DELEGATION

The Patriarch of Antioch and the rest of the East, Mar Bechara Boutros Al-Rai, confirmed after his meeting with President of the Republic, General Michel Aoun, at Baabda Palace this morning, that "There is no basic justification for not forming a government in light of the current situation”. Patriarch Rahi also stressed the need for "Not clashing with responsibilities because this will not form a government but will only exacerbate the problems".

The Maronite Patriarch pointed out that the government is the backbone of the state, and it is not permissible to be absent in these days, as more than half of the Lebanese people have become poor, stressing that Lebanon cannot be a gateway for smuggling which loses its civilized face.

The Patriarch arrived at Baabda Palace at nine o'clock in the morning, where President Aoun received him for an hour and a half, during which general affairs and latest developments were tackled.

Patriarch Rahi’s Statement:

“We condemn any attack on the media, but on the other hand, I confirm what the Minister of Information indicated also that the media people must know their limits. Some of them behave in an inappropriate manner and others use social media and allow themselves to direct offense to people. I salute you as the media, because the Church says that the media is a gift from God to humanity, so the media has made the globe one village.

Today I was honored to meet the President of the Republic, and I came to thank him for his visit to congratulate the occasion of the glorious Easter holiday, and we in turn today congratulate the Orthodox Easter. During the meeting, the main issue was discussed, which is the need to form a government, and to overcome the difficulties facing this composition, because there is no basic justification for not forming a government in light of the current situation.

The country is collapsing day after day, the government is the backbone of the country, and when the backbone in the body collapses, all its organs collapse and decay. We should not bicker with responsibilities, for that does not lead to the formation of a government, but rather exacerbates the problems.

During the meeting, many issues were also addressed, and the consequences of not forming the government, such as the increase in poverty and hunger for than half of the Lebanese people were below the poverty line, at a time when the middle class in Lebanon until 1980 was 80%. Today the middle class has disappeared, and this is evidence of the collapse of Lebanon.

During the meeting, discussions were held on the topic of the judiciary and its independence, and to conduct judicial formations. We stressed the dignity of the judiciary, the judge's dignity, integrity and freedom, with this judge not belonging to any of the groups, and the need not to interfere in the affairs of judges, so that a judge can act according to his conscience and justice.

The issue of smuggling, which distorts Lebanon’s face was one of the topics that were raised during the meeting. Especially since Lebanon has become a gateway for drugs and the smuggling of Captagon pills to the Gulf via Saudi Arabia, which has closed the door on us. We know that 80% of our agricultural products are exported to the Gulf, and today a meeting will be held in Baabda Palace on this subject. We cannot bear this, for the state agencies are responsible, but where are the monitoring agencies? Lebanon cannot be a center for smuggling and its eastern and northern borders remain open to entry and exit for that. Lebanon cannot be a transit, as well. We saw this yesterday to Saudi Arabia and then to Greece. This is not Lebanon’s civilized face. I know that all these matters are carried by President Aoun in his heart, but we have to say that all of this harms the dignity of the Lebanese. The big victims are the farmers who suffer at one time from natural factors, and at other times from diseases, then locusts, and today the suffering increased as a result of smuggling. Agriculture is an essential component of the Lebanese economy. And I stress here that when dealing with any administrative, judicial or institutional problem, we must not wear be sectarian. This is not acceptable. We want to live in a diverse society and respect each other and this diversity. The media has a major role in this regard, by stopping shipping. We want to live comfortably away from these tensions. You, as media professionals, have to contribute to that, by putting out the fire and not feeding it with fuel".

Questions & Answers:

Question: "After this meeting with President Aoun, during which the formation of the government was emphasized, is it possible for you to communicate with the parties concerned, including the prime minister-designate?"

Answer: "I do not mediate with anyone. My talk is with all people and officials whom I demand to form the government without entering into any mediation with anyone or providing any solutions. We practice our work within limits, but our importance and the importance of the Church in general is that we remain in contact with everyone”.

Question: Are there any signs of an imminent dissolution within the framework of forming the government?

Answer: "There must be close solutions, especially since there is a move on more than one level. The prime minister-designate recently visited the Vatican, and before that, Russia. This move indicates that there is a follow-up on this issue."

Answer: "Regardless of the issue of drug smuggling, there is a view that says that the intensification of the siege has led to more smuggling, and there are those who say that you are defending the temple dealers. What do you say in this regard?"

Answer: "Where there is poverty, there is terrorism. When poverty increases, the paths open for people to engage in terrorism and work with terrorists, and poverty leads to theft and murder. It is well known that poverty is the door to all terrorism and all problems in the state. I told you that even in 1980, 80% of the Lebanese were from the middle class, and we were enjoying stability during that period. Hunger leads to aggression. The issue today is that smuggling takes place through Lebanon, and the monitoring agencies are "closing their eyes" or they are not aware, or that there is someone covering this matter. This is another topic, and it is not allowed”.

In response to a question, Patriarch Al-Rahi affirmed that "The Vatican and Bkerke do not attack anyone, but rather they attack us”.

SSNP Delegation:

President Aoun received a delegation from the Syrian Social National Party, which included: Rabih Banat, Amer Al-Tal, Rabie Zain Al-Din, Hussam Al-Asrawi, Hassan Saqr, Firas Al-Shoufi, Dr. Emile Al-Akra, and Fahd Al-Basha.

The meeting addressed the general situation in the country and recent developments, where Mr. Banat stressed the difficulty of the economic crisis and its negative repercussions on the living conditions, calling for the formation of a new government as soon as possible to lift the paralysis of political life in the country.

Banat expressed the party's appreciation for the efforts made by President Aoun to extricate Lebanon from its crisis, supporting his position on forensic audit and combating corruption, and the initiative launched by President Aoun to establish an economic market among the countries of the Arab Mashreq because it opens new horizons for the Lebanese economy and the door for cooperation in all fields.

For his part, the President responded welcoming the delegation and pointed out that a set of factors have doubled the existing economic crisis, including the Syrian crisis, the displacement of Syrians, in addition to the Corona virus, the port explosion, the approved financial policy, and finally the locust crisis.

President Aoun also warned that incitement in crises increases their intensity, and that it is dangerous to hold those who have nothing to do with corruption and waste, which diverts attention from the real perpetrators, stressing the need for the Lebanese to be one hand to extricate Lebanon from the current crisis.

Source: National News Agency