Patriarch Rai: Lebanese state is the only guarantee


Bechara Boutros al-Rai , the newly elected Maronite Patriarch said on Saturday that he does not support “statelets,” adding that “the Lebanese state is the only guarantee.”

This was a possible reference to Hezbollah which is considered a state within a state

“We have to overcome all past conflicts and preserve state institutions that should remain strong,” Rai was quoted by National News Agency as saying.

He also said that “only the state is the symbol of our unity,” adding that the judiciary “should not be politicized.”

Last Tuesday Rai was quoted as saying: “Lebanon is sick and needs treatment,” stressing that the government crisis has crippled the Lebanese constitutional institutions and led to economic problems. o the delay of government formation

The Iranian and Syrian backed Hezbollah brought down PM Saad Hariri’s government on January 12 over Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) ’s imminent indictment which is widely expected to implicate Hezbollah members in the assassination of the father of caretaker PM

Lebanon has been run by a caretaker government since last January. Nagib Mikati was appointed in January as the PM designate with the backing of the new March 8 majority led by Hezbollah. March 14 leaders have repeatedly said that intimidation from Hezbollah’s weapons helped secure the parliamentary majority for Mikati’s nomination.

Disputes over cabinet formation have prevented Mikati from forming the cabinet. Free Patriotic Movement leader MP Michel Aoun is reportedly demanding a disproportionate share in the cabinet and is being backed by Hezbollah and Syria in his demands . Aoun is also reportedly insisting on being allocated the 2 most sensitive security portfolios : The ministries of Interior and communications and does not want the president to have any share in the cabinet .

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