Source Article Link: Assyrian International News Agency
Lebanese Leader Concerned About Middle East Christians
Phalange party leader Amin Gemayel said Lebanon’s Christians have concerns over their existence in the region following a sharp drop in their numbers in Iraq and Syria and attacks on Copts in Egypt.
In an interview published in An Nahar daily on Sunday, Gemayel said that Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rahi’s concerns over the Christians in the East are not new.
“We are very much aware of the drop in the number of Christians in Iraq, as well as Syria and the attacks that took place in Egypt on places of worship before and during the revolution” that toppled President Hosni Mubarak, Gemayel said.
Hadn’t there been also a concern in Lebanon, former Prime Minister Saad Hariri and his slain father ex-Premier Rafik Hariri before him wouldn’t have stressed the division of power between Muslims and Christians, he told An Nahar.
The former president stressed that only dialogue would appease the fears of the Christians in the country.
Asked if the Phalange would agree to a possible Hizbullah offer to sign a memorandum of understanding with it, Gemayel said: “Of course we would accept. Why wouldn’t we?”
“We believe that Hizbullah represents a major faction of Lebanese and has its legitimate objectives,” he said, adding “we should understand them the way they should understand the concerns of the Lebanese over their approach, their practices and their military arsenal.”
Gemayel expressed optimism that the March 14 opposition and Hizbullah would one day reach an understanding on a joint vision to Lebanon’s future which cannot be built unless both sides respect each other and get convinced that only state institutions guarantee stability and protect everyone.
“This can be achieved only through a strong and democratic state,” he stressed.