Presidency Sources Say al-Rahi Proposal ‘Not a Priority’

136 Patriarch Beshara al-Rahi’s proposal on Lebanon’s neutrality is not a “priority” at the moment, Lebanese Presidency sources said.

“People’s social concerns and the economic and financial crisis that Lebanon is going through remain more important,” the sources added in remarks published Tuesday by Asharq al-Awsat newspaper, denying knowledge of the presence of any such plan.

“We don’t know what the patriarch possesses, but according to information, there is no roadmap but rather descriptions of the issue of neutrality without any mechanism,” the sources went on to say, noting that al-Rahi “has said that he wants to consult about it with the parties.”

“The issue is not on the table at the moment and the priority now is for addressing the economic, financial and social issues that the people are concerned about in the current period with the increase of daily woes,” the sources added.

Al-Rahi had on Monday urged all Lebanese to show a “unified stance” in order to “reach a resolution from the Security Council and the U.N. stipulating that Lebanon has an active neutral system that should be respected by all countries.”

Asked about the mechanism to achieve “Lebanon’s neutrality” in an interview published Sunday, the patriarch said “one or two permanent U.N. Security Council member states can present a suggestion to the U.N. Secretary General to create a system of positive and effective neutrality” in Lebanon.

“The Secretary-General would then put the issue to a vote… and we are counting on the effective role of the Holy See regarding this issue,” al-Rahi went on to say.


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