ASIA/LEBANON - Lebanese crisis, Maronite Patriarch meets President Aoun. His trip to Riyadh into question

Thursday, 9 November 2017 middle east   oriental churches   geopolitics   sectaniarism  


Beirut (Agenzia Fides) - While the entire Lebanese institutional system is shaken by the resignation of Sunni Prime Minister Saad Hariri, Lebanese President Michel Aoun receives today Maronite Patriarch Bechara Boutros Rai at the Presidential Palace in Baabda. From the meeting – report local sources contacted by Agenzia Fides - useful signs to clarify the outlines of a crisis could emerge, and also to understand whether the announced visit that Patriarch Rai was to carry out in Saudi Arabia at the invitation of the Saudi authorities, will be confirmed, postponed or canceled.
On the realization or cancellation of this patriarchal visit, different hypotheses circulate, some of which appear politically oriented. So far the announced trip has not been officially confirmed or excluded by the Maronite Patriarchate. Some Lebanese media have spread rumors that President Aoun would like to see the patriarchal trip to Riyad postponed until the political crisis triggered by the resignation announced by Hariri is resolved.. Other personalities received recently at the Patriarchal Headquarters, such as US Ambassador Elizabeth Richard and Deputy Nadim Gemayel, have instead reiterated that the historic opportunity of a Primate's trip to an Eastern Church in Saudi Arabia must not be set aside.
Meanwhile, President Aoun, with the consent of several political and institutional representatives, and also the Lebanese Republican Mufti, Sheikh Abdel Latif Derian, chose not to accept the resignation of Prime Minister Hariri until Lebanese Premier returns back home. Last night, Hariri's plane landed in Beirut, bringing only some collaborators of his staff back to Lebanon. There are rumors that Hariri is detained in Saudi Arabia because he is suspected of connivance with a supposed attempted coup d'etat attributed to Saudi prisoners imprisoned and politically eliminated on the disposition of hereditary Prince Mohammed Bin Salman. According to the same rumors, France is seeking mediation with Saudi Arabia to guarantee Hariri the opportunity to exile in France. (GV) (Agenzia Fides, 9/11/2017)