The Vatican’s silent diplomacy to preserve the Lebanese model

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But the Vatican, a deeply knowledgeable body of Lebanon’s cultural dimension, is today more concerned than ever that the Lebanese model of diversity and pluralism is under threat.

by Ziad El Sayegh -Source: Annahar

A mass rally outside the Mohammad al-Amin mosque and the nearby Maronite Cathedral of St George in the downtown district of Beirut’s Martyr’s Square, Lebanon.(AFP)

BEIRUT: For decades, the Vatican has sought to defend Lebanon’s sovereignty, safeguard its neutrality, and protect its pluralism all while pushing for good governance under the country’s participatory political system.

But the Vatican, a deeply knowledgeable body of Lebanon’s cultural dimension, is today more concerned than ever that the Lebanese model of diversity and pluralism is under threat.

These concerns have prompted the church to silently spearhead an international initiative involving Arab stakeholders to rescue the Lebanese model. The Maronite Patriarch’s latest call for a neutral Lebanon is simply an echo of the Vatican’s positions and an invitation for the political class to prioritize the country’s interests and security.

The Vatican’s message is clear: Lebanon must remain a model of coexistence for the world, a position the Pope has clearly conveyed during a meeting I attended in Rome last September.

The head of the Roman church spoke about the latter’s role in the public sphere, touching on issues ranging from politics to public policies, and the need to promote peace.

The Vatican’s silent initiative vis a vis Lebanon is an opportunity to build on. In fact, the church has to set the stage for the establishment of a national civic front that shares its diplomatic values of a peaceful, diverse, and prosperous Lebanon rather than the Machiavellian sinister interests of the country’s political elite.

And we must seize this opportunity.

Ziad El Sayegh is an expert on Public Policies and Senior Policy Fellow at IFI/AUB

 

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