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Lebanese Bishops Chastise Hizbullah, Back Siniora
September 6, 2006
By Maroun Khoury
Daily Star, Lebano
Beirut -- Lebanon's influential Council of Maronite Bishops barely veiled its criticism of Hizbullah on Wednesday, saying some factions were monopolizing the country's decisions and leading the Lebanese to "unwanted situations."
In a strongly worded statement, the council, headed by Patriarch Nasrallah Butros Sfeir, called on the Lebanese to take full advantage and "benefit from the international embrace they are enjoying at the moment."
"There are 18 sects in Lebanon with equal rights and duties," the statement said. "But in reality, we see that some groups are monopolizing the decision-making process and leading the country to unwanted situations."
Referring to Hizbullah, the council said: "A Lebanese faction continues to bear weapons despite the Israeli withdrawal from most of the South in 2000. This continues to be in violation of the Taif Accord."
"This group has become a religious, military and political organization and led us to a war that was launched on July 12, 2006," the council added.
"Powerful countries and regional forces have also interfered more than enough in Lebanese affairs and are backing one sect or another."
The council said that despite the end of Syria's tutelage over the country, there are still many problems and divisions among the Lebanese.
"Each party pretends to seek Lebanon's interests, but it reality it seeks to fulfill sectarian ambitions. This is a chronic disease that has to be extracted," it stated.
Slamming the presidency, the council said: "Sectarianism's symptoms are embedded in the presidential post at this time in particular." http://www.dailystar.com.lb
It added that the Christians have become "marginalized due to the absence of an efficient role of the presidency."
"The Christians, particularly the Maronites, are hurt by world leaders and local political figures' disregard of the Lebanese presidency," it said. "This weakens the status of the presidency and needs a solution."
But it cautioned that not any Maronite is eligible to replace President Emile Lahoud, insisting that the future president should be "prepared to sacrifice much to serve the nation as a whole and not use the post for personal gain."
"Lebanon is considered a nation of minorities that coexist in peace and love and thrive for the common national good," the statement said.
Shoring up support for Prime Minister Fouad Siniora's increasingly embattled government, the council also called on the people to back their government "as the sole authority on Lebanese territory."
"Only the government can bring trust and reassurance to the citizens," it stated.
"The state has to be responsible for developing the South
and looking after the villagers there. It has to oversee the distribution of aid through the bodies it is monitoring," the appeal said. "It is the duty of every Lebanese to rebuild the country and swathe its wounds."
The council also called on the Lebanese to respect the country's Constitution.
"The Lebanese should know that any violation of the Constitution will lead to a major void," it said.
Ealool = September
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