Tuesday, June 22

Rahi welcomes Swiss President, says refugee return must not be linked to political solutions

Maronite Patriarch Cardinal Beshara Rahi on Tuesday welcomed President of the Swiss Confederation, Alain Berset, accompanied by Caretaker State Minister for Anti-Corruption Affairs, Nicolas Tueni, with a panel of communities' representatives attending the reception.

In a word delivered on the occasion, Rahi maintained that Lebanon's particularity lied within the coexistence among its various Muslim and Christian communities.

"We live with our brothers, with whom we share the same culture and destiny," he said, highlighting the necessity to respect all religions.

Rahi added that all Lebanon's sects were cooperating with the international community to resolve the issue of Syrian, Iraqi, and Palestinian refugees, and to secure their return to their countries.

"The right of return is a key priority; and it must not be linked to the political solutions that might take long years," he underlined.

For his part, Berset indicated that his visit to Lebanon aimed to maintain communication and exchange between the two countries.

"Our visit to Lebanon is a sign of Switzerland's embrace of Lebanon, this dear country; it is also an occasion to felicitate the Lebanese on solving their problems through dialogue and communication," he said.

"We are aware that such means can be very difficult (...) but we must all exert the necessary efforts to reach permanent and comprehensive peace," he added.

"This visit also aims to remind Lebanon that it is not alone concerned with the refugees and the displaced," he went on to say. "I met yesterday with the President of the republic, the House Speaker, and the officials only to confirm our concern about helping Lebanon."

"Lebanon is a world center for civilizations and for dialogue between religions and people," he stressed.

"This visit is important to me; and we shall carry on communicating with each other," the Swiss President concluded.

Source: National News Agency