Spiritual summit will avoid STL, Hezbollah arms issues

The Christian -Islamic spiritual summit that will be held at Bkirki on Thursday is expected to avoid two controversial issues which relate to Hezbollah . This condition was reportedly stipulated by Hezbollah in order to allow the top Shiite cleric to attend the summit.
The two issues that will be off limits are:

– The Special Tribunal for Lebanon
– None -state ( Hezbollah) arms

MP Walid Jumblatt reportedly also visited the top Sunni cleric on Tuesday to deliver Hezbollah’s message over the controversial issues and to also link the attendance of the Druze spiritual leader to a deal on these issues

The focus of the summit according to local reports will be issues like coexistence, the national charter, developments in the region and their repercussions on Lebanon, “religious extremism” , violence against Christians in the region, especially in Iraq and Egypt,

The summit will reportedly urge the “Arab leaders to protect the minorities.”

According to al-Liwaa newspaper the concluding statement was finalized and presented to all spiritual leaders to comment on it.

“The statement will not tackle the above mentioned controversial issues and will focus on urging officials to speed up the cabinet formation and the resumption of the national dialogue.” al-Liwaa said

The newly elected Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rai will be hosting the summit which will also be attended by , Grand Mufti of the Republic Mohammed Rashid Qabbani, the Vice President of the Higher Shiite Islamic Council, Abdul Amir Qabalan, Druze spiritual leader Sheikh el Akl Naim Hassan, Syriac Orthodox Patriarch Zakka I, Syriac Catholic Patriarch Ignatius Joseph III Younan, Melkite Greek Catholic Patriarch Gregorios III Laham, Armenian Catholicos of Cilicia Aram I, and Patriarch of Armenian Catholics Nerses Bedros XIX.

Lebanon cabinet

Following its monthly meeting the Maronite Bishops Council stressed on Wednesday the need to form a government capable of tackling the citizens’ concerns and thwarting dangers against Lebanon.

The meeting which was headed by Patriarch al-Rai said in a statement “We hope that Thursday’s spiritual summit will provide a push towards achieving national unity and that the gatherers would seek to bolster coexistence between all sects.”

“We also hope that they would respect religious diversity and commit to dialogue,” the council added in a statement.

Addressing the recently held Maronite summit, the statement said: “It provided a step forward towards reconciliation and will hopefully bolster the role of Christians in Lebanon.”

The summit brought together Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea, Free Patriotic Movement leader MP Michel Aoun, Phalange Party leader Amin Gemayel, and Marada Movement leader MP Suleiman Franjieh

Summit delayed

The summit was supposed to be held about a month ago at Bkirki
according to local reports but Hezbollah to torpedo it by instructing Sheikh Qabalan to veto any statement by the summit that will deal with the Special Tribunal for Lebanon ( STL) or the non-state ( Hezbollah ) arms.

Hezbollah also called Jumblatt and urged him to instruct Sheikh Hassan to do the same .

Hezbollah reportedly considered the idea of the summit came from caretaker PM Saad Hariri in order to reinforce the statement that was issued by the Sunni Dar al Fatwa which reiterated Lebanon’s support for the Special Tribunal for Lebanon and rejected the presence of any non-state arms.