Skip to comments.Lebanon: Bkirki (Maronite Patriarchal See) dilutes support for prime minister
Posted on 12/07/2006 9:31:41 AM PST by NYer
BKIRKI: The Maronite Church signaled a significant shift from its resolute support for the government of Prime Minister Fouad Siniora on Wednesday by calling for the creation of a "reconciliation government" inclusive of all national parties.
The call by Lebanon's most influential Christian institution came in a statement issued after a meeting of the Council of Maronite Bishops headed by Patriarch Nasrallah Boutros Sfeir at Bkirki.
Politicians must do "whatever is necessary" to end the political deadlock and mounting threats to security, the statement said, stressing that the decision should not be construed as a withdrawal of support for the embattled Siniora.
If such a government cannot be formed, it added, efforts should be focused on forming a government of "independent" figures to be tasked with drafting a new electoral law based on the qada, which the Church said would "truly represent" Lebanon's many communities.
The Church further called for early presidential elections to help "settle the serious crisis that is threatening to divide Lebanon" and the convening of an urgent parliamentary session to discuss a way forward.
"Nothing is left except Parliament, but it doesn't convene," the statement said. "That is why we plead with its speaker, Nabih Berri, to convene Parliament so it may find a way out of the crisis."
The Church also called for full implementation of the Taif Accord, while stressing the right of return of all Palestinian refugees and the need to resolve the issue of armed Palestinian factions in Lebanon.
Commenting on Hizbullah's weapons, but without mentioning the resistance group by name, the statement said all arms in Lebanon should be "strictly controlled by the legitimate security forces."
The declaration stressed the need to ratify an agreement with the United Nations on an international tribunal to try those accused of the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri and other "related terrorist crimes," while warning against linking Lebanon to regional and international conflicts and calling for the formation of a "reconciliation government" to contain the "explosive situation."
Calling for an end to threats of violence and provocations, the Church statement urged all political and religious leaders to agree to a "code of honor" by which to settle their differences through dialogue.
In a separate statement read by Monsignor Youssef Tawk, the council acknowledged that protesting was a constitutional right of all Lebanese, but warned that opposition demonstrations being held in Downtown Beirut would not resolve the current crisis and could lead to "bloody clashes," which would only worsen the situation.
The council said it was also concerned about Lebanon's economy and asked officials to "find the means to overcome the crisis."
The Maronite Bishops issued a statement read by Bishop Mazloum pointing on seven constants in the vue of the Maronite Church regarding domestic politics in Lebanon plus a roadmap to resolving the present crisis. The seven constants are summarized as follows:
1- Freedom as known to the Maronites through the times
2- opening to the others
3- consensual democracy
4- permanence of the Lebanese entity
5- commitment to the international decisions (UN Security Council)
6- preserving the Lebanese State (my comment: the State is the People, the Land and the Government)
7- commitment to the Taef agreement stressing on clarifying some of its dubious facets
The roadmap or guideline is summarized as follows:
1- pact of ethics among the different political sides
2- ratify the International Tribunal treaty with the UN
3- staying outside regional disagreements and problems while retaining openness to the others
4- work for the formation of a government of national agreement (or understanding, in arabic tawafoq)
5- if this is unattainable, then for an independent government that will issue an electoral law based on small constituencies AND ON GIVING THE LEBANESE IMMIGRANTS THE RIGHT OF CONTRIBUTION IN THE ELECTIONS, and organize early legislative elections on these bases.
6- find a solution to the presidency (? early presidential elections)
7- application of the Taef Agreement clauses regarding a wide administrative decentralization and stressing on refusing the implantation of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon.
Most of the newspapers are omitting these details. Notice that Bkerke has been always inclined to small constituencies in the elections. The hasty adoption of the 2000 electoral law with broad and heavily gerrymandered constituencies in May 2005, went against the wishes of Bkerke and brought us to this crisis.I leave it all to your judgement.