Sfeir: STL should continue its work


In an interview with Al-Ousbou al-Arabi magazine to be published Friday, Lebanon’s Maronite Patriarch Nasrallah Boutros Sfeir warned that Lebanon and the entire Middle East were in danger.

“Not only is the Lebanese Republic in danger, but the situation in the Middle East as a whole,” he said.

He voiced concern over the possibility of the re-occurrence of events similar to the May 2008 events (when gunmen led by Hezbollah occupied the western part of Beirut and tried but failed to occupy the Druze strongholds of MT Lebanon) and said that a certain faction’s extension of control over an area in Lebanon or over the entire country would be out of the ordinary.

Sfeir believed the government was facing difficulties, pointing to Cabinet’s failure to convene.

Commenting about the talk over a Cabinet change, Sfeir said “this is up to them.”

Commenting on the Syrian-Saudi efforts pertaining to Lebanese issues, Sfeir said that Lebanon should have good relations with neighboring countries particularly Syria and Saudi Arabia.

Sfeir stressed that it is important that the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) continues its work despite the pending indictment’s potential repercussions.

Commenting on the meeting that Bkirki sponsored in early November and that included Christian March 14 ministers and MPs , he said:

“We do not prevent anyone from visiting Bkirki, and we welcome all those who want to visit us no matter what their political affiliation is.”

March 8 alliance including MP Michel Aoun criticized criticized the meeting

Tension escalated in Lebanon following reports that the Special Tribunal for Lebanon will soon issue its indictment into the 2005 assassination of Lebanon’s former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. Last July, the Hezbollah chief said that the tribunal is “an Israeli project” that will indict Hezbollah members. Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah accused Israel of being behind Hariri’s assassination but refused to provide the evidence to STL to support his claim. Hezbollah and its March 8 allies have been calling for the abolition of STL.

Some leaders are concerned that should the court indict Hezbollah members, it could lead to the re-occurrence of events similar to the May 2008 (events).

The Pro Syrian Al Akhbar newspaper reported last week that Hezbollah has prepared a plan to take over Lebanon when STL issues its indictment for the 2005 murder of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.

Nasrallah said in his speech last Thursday that Hezbollah will not allow the arrest of any of its members if indicted by STL : “Any hand that will touch any of them will be cut off, ” he said

On October 28, he called on all Lebanese to boycott the STL and to end cooperation with its investigators.