Maronite Patriarch Mar Bechara Boutros al-Rahi rejected any military action against Syria in remarks Sunday following his meeting with Greek Orthodox Patriarch Youhanna al-Yazigi of Antioch and all the East. At Balamand Monastery near Tripoli, Rahi said, “We’re against any foreign military intervention in Syria or other [means] that could include weapons and strikes. The crisis in Syria should be resolved with diplomacy and the tragedies we’re seeing are unacceptable”. He said that the sides in the Syrian conflict should look to resolve their disputes through peaceful means, saying, “Not everything can be resolved using iron and fire. We don’t want war to erase what we’ve built in this region, and we don’t want this region to be a means to war”. Rahi also demanded the release of two Syrian bishops kidnapped near a rebel area. Armed men kidnapped Aleppo’s Greek Orthodox Archbishop Boulos al-Yazigi and Syriac Orthodox Archbishop Youhanna Ibrahim in April as they were on their way to Aleppo from the Turkish border.
Meanwhile, Rahi also said that rival Lebanese leaders failed to launch reconciliation or speed up the formation of a new government after recent car bombings in the past two months. He said in a Sunday sermon in Dimane, in northern Lebanon, “If [politicians] had taken courageous and responsible steps on the road to sectarian and political reconciliation, a new government, the restart of national dialogue, and security measures to limit the proliferation of arms, at least, it would’ve consoled the relatives of the martyrs of Beirut and Tripoli”.
1 September 2013