Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rahi on Sunday threw his support behind Central Bank Governor Riad Salameh and criticized Prime Minister Hassan Diab over his latest remarks.
“We were expecting the premier to announce the government’s fair and necessary reformist plan… that would eradicate the main flaws, corruption, fund waste, theft, shady deals and looting, but we were surprised by his final verdict against the central bank governor without hearing him or giving him the right to defend himself in a scientific way,” al-Rahi said in his Sunday Mass sermon.
“The way that he targeted and insulted the dignity of the person (Salameh) and the institution (central bank) is totally unacceptable,” the patriarch added.
“We ask: who benefits from undermining the central bank governorship? Those who would benefit know but we know the dire consequences that would result from this, which will be the destruction of the confidence of the Lebanese and the world countries in our state’s constitutional foundations,” al-Rahi warned.
“Is this approach that doesn’t resemble our Lebanese political system part of a plot to change the face of Lebanon? It seems so!” the patriarch went on to say.
He added that the “patriarchal seat” of the Maronite church, “which is historically, nationally and morally entrusted with the Lebanese formula, warns against carrying on with this approach which is unfamiliar in our Lebanese political literature.”
In a sign of a deepening political crisis, Diab accused on Friday accused Salameh of orchestrating the Lebanese currency’s crash and criticized what he called his “suspicious” and “ambiguous” policies that he said covered up major banking sector losses and capital flight.