Sunday,March 18,2007


Maronite Patriarch Nasrallah Butros Sfeir said on Sunday that the current "state of chaos" in Lebanon was not only affecting political life but was also having "drastic effects" on "the social and intellectual lives of the Lebanese." "Lebanese from all social classes and religions are complaining about the uncertain situation in Lebanon, because they find that their future as well as all their aspirations and dreams are being threatened," Sfeir said during a mass at Bkirki.

The prelate urged all security departments in Lebanon to "assume their responsibilities" to "allow the Lebanese to be confident about their future and that of their country."

Both the Internal Security Forces (ISF) and the Lebanese Army "ought to be properly funded and equipped" so that troops can perform their duties properly, he added.

"We would also like to congratulate the ISF for uncovering the assailants behind the February twin bus bombing in Ain Alaq," Sfeir said, commenting on the latest development in ongoing investigations into a string of killings and bombings dating back to October 2004.

Sfeir explained that the purpose of financial, material and technical "support allotted to security services" was to help the various departments "protect the lives of the Lebanese even more and uncover the truth about any potential attacks that are likely to threaten the lives of the Lebanese."

After mass, Sfeir met with Democratic Gathering MP Fouad Saad, who called on MPs to attend the inauguration assembly of Parliament for 2007, "if they are still keen on preserving democracy in Lebanon."

"I urge all my colleagues to attend the March 20th assembly, and express their wish that regular parliamentary sessions for the 2007 term be convened," Saad said following his meeting with Sfeir.

The Democratic Gathering MP said his parliamentary bloc had always hoped that its relations with Speaker Nabih Berri would remain positive, but that "Berri’s biased stands and his unconstitutional behavior" had produced discord.

Saad slammed Berri for having yet to call for the opening session of Parliament, which he deemed a "blunt violation of the Constitution."

"For the first time since the Lebanese Constitution was crafted in 1926, a speaker has not called for an opening parliamentary session," he said.

Saad said that Berri had "lost all credibility" since he "neglected his role as speaker and favored his role as head of the Amal Movement."

"Berri no longer plays a unifying role because he has taken sides," Saad said.