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The Melkite Greek Catholic Church leader will ask the pope to recognize the Palestinian state when he arrives next week for his first visit to Lebanon, a Catholic website said Thursday, according to AFP.

Patriarch Gregory III Laham, the spiritual head of Lebanon’s second largest Catholic community, will be the first to address the pope during a welcome ceremony near the Lebanese capital.

The website has already published the speech Gregory III is to make, in which he will thank the Holy See and its leaders for their “firm and unwavering position on the (Palestinian) cause.”

He will also ask the Holy See to “recognize the Palestinian state in compliance with the resolutions and decisions of the international community and international law.”

The recognition, which the patriarch called a “courageous step of fairness, justice and truth”, would allow the Holy See to remain a “pioneer of world justice” and prompt European and other countries to follow, AFP reported.

It would also “be a guarantee for the solution of most of the very complex problems of the Arab and Muslim world” and stop the emigration of Christians from the region, the report continued.

AFP

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