President of the Republic General Michel Aoun discussed the general situation with the papal ambassador to Lebanon, Monsignor Joseph Spitry, after Pope Francis’s recent visit to Iraq and the impact that the region has left in general, and his focus on the importance of dialogue between the various components.

Monsignor Spitrie pointed out that the Holy See “is currently interested to find a solution to form the government and carry out reforms, without forgetting the fight against corruption, which Pope Francis has always mentioned, and the President is convinced of this path to fight corruption”.

On the visit of Pope Francis to Lebanon, Monsignor Spitrie said, “There is no date yet for this visit. I think you have heard what Pope Francis said, as he is convinced and he wants to come. We have to prepare the matter”.

Papal Ambassador’s statement:

After the meeting, the papal ambassador made the following statement to the journalists:

“I was honored to meet His Excellency the President of the Republic and we deliberated the regional situation, especially after the visit of the Holy Father Pope Francis to Iraq, who gave hope to our Iraqi brothers and sisters, Christians and other sects. The matter was an example to the entire region. I hope that it will be with regard to Iraq and Lebanon. We have also witnessed the importance of Pope Francis’s meeting with Ayatollah Sistani, in addition to his prayers in Mosul, in the heart of devastation. He responded to the hatred with a message of peace, solidarity and brotherhood.

I spoke with His Excellency about the importance of dialogue. You will remember that Pope Francis always stresses, whether in the Human Fraternity Document he signed in Abu Dhabi or in his various teachings, on dialogue that should be the basis for all our activities, not only between different religions and their leaders, but also within the same family and among politicians, especially in order to reach a solution to form the government. I wished to reach a speedy solution to this issue.  Pope Francis always mentions it, and even the president of the republic is convinced of the conduct of the anti-corruption course.

We also touched on the Human Academy for meeting and dialogue that was adopted by the United Nations, and the support of various countries for it. But unfortunately, because of the pandemic, the matter took place, as well as with regard to the issue of tourism and spiritual tourism, where there were a lot of projects. We are looking forward to regaining momentum”.

 

Questions & Answers

Monsignor Spitrie was then asked whether there was any date for the Pontiff’s visit to Lebanon, after he announced his promise to make such a visit, on his way back from Iraq.  He replied: “There is no date yet for this visit. I think you have heard the words of Pope Francis, as he is convinced and wants to come. We have to prepare the matter. We have spoken about this with the Ambassador of Lebanon to the Holy See. There may be visits by the Holy See. We are at the beginning of the matter, and we are more than hopeful, but rather in front of a decision by Pope Francis”.

He was asked if there is any initiative that the Vatican can take to solve the Lebanese crisis?

He replied: “There are many initiatives so far. We support all of them, and we seek dialogue with everyone, and with all the main components. But we cannot talk about an initiative in the sense of the initiative on the part of the Holy See in this direction”.

Concerning the continuation of the aid that the Holy See recently provided to Lebanon, he replied: “Yes, there is continuity to it, and I told to His Excellency the President that. And you know that the Holy See is not like the great countries, but we have sent many aids last year, especially after the explosion of the Port of Beirut.  We thank God that we received more aid that we distributed. We are witnessing the reconstruction of hospitals that serve everyone, in addition to helping schools and citizens. And now we are thinking about sending medicines slowly, slowly, because there is a terrible shortage. You certainly know the amount of aid provided by Caritas and the various Catholic organizations in Lebanon, in the service of all the Lebanese”.

 

Former MP Amal Abu Zeid:

The President also received his advisor for Russian Affairs, former MP Amal Abu Zeid, and Miss Maral Najarian, who thanked him for the role he played in bringing her safely back to Lebanon, after she was detained in Azerbaijan during the war that broke out between Armenia and Azerbaijan.

She explained that her detention took place while she was in the Armenian town of Shusha with her family members, expressing her great gratitude for President Aoun’s intervention to release her after Abu Zeid was assigned to follow up her case with officials in Russia.

She also pointed out that President Aoun’s efforts are continuing to release her fiancé, Vikan al-Jakshian, who was detained with her, expressing her hope that he will be released soon.

 

Source: National News Agency