"Lebanon is a diverse country and its citizens enjoy their religious and social freedom," President Michel Aoun said on Thursday. "We want to see Lebanon's reality being applied in the countries of the world as a whole, especially to the people of Cyprus, Maronites in particular," Aoun added.
President Aoun's remarks came during a meeting at Baabda Palace with visiting head of the Maronite diocese of Cyprus, Bishop Youssef Sweif, and Maronite representative in the Cypriot parliament, Yanniks Mousa. The meeting reportedly touched on the general situation in Cyprus, especially that of Lebanese Maronites residing in Cyprus.
"It is true that we belong to Cyprus at heart, and we are part of the basic Cypriot fabric, but we cannot forget our roots and our beloved country, Lebanon," Bishop Sweif said.
"Today we renew our love to Lebanon and our spiritual, emotional, humanitarian, and emotional attachment to it, especially the Maronite link between the two countries -- despite the challenges they face today in Cyprus," the Maronite bishop said. He explained that Maronites in Cyprus did not have the full freedom to perform their religious practices in two of the four Cypriot villages they reside in.
In turn, MP Moussa thanked President Aoun for receiving the delegation and conveyed to him greetings from the President of the Republic of Cyprus, Nicos Anastasiadis, reiterating his official invitation to President Aoun to visit Cyprus.
In turn, Aoun expressed keenness on enabling Maronite Cypriots to return to exercise their religious rights "based on our respect for freedom of believes in all communities."
Aoun also noted that he was following up on the efforts of Minister Gebran Bassil in this regard, wishing that he will succeed as soon as possible so that the Maronites of Cyprus will return to exercise their freedom.
Aoun also welcomed on Thursday President of the Asian Federation of Martial Arts, Wissam Abi Nader, with whom he discussed the performance and results of Lebanese nationals in the World Championship, the Asian Championship, and the European Championship in 2019.
He also had an audience with President of the Socio-Economic Council, Charles Arbid, and discussed with him the economic situation in the country, as well as the work of the Council.
Aoun finally welcomed MP Ali Darwish, with whom he held a tour de horizon on the most recent political developments.
Source: National News Agency