| 12.09,11. 01:15 AM |
U.S. Official Hints al-Rahi’s Statements Jeopardize his Visit to Washington
Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rahi arrives in Beirut on Sunday at the end of an official visit to France, as his controversial positions on Syria weren’t positively received by French officials and were strongly criticized by the March 14-led opposition.
A high-ranking U.S. official expressed his astonishment and dissatisfaction with al-Rahi’s speech in France regarding the popular uprising in Syria against President Bashar Assad and Hizbulla’s arms.
The official told An Nahar newspaper on Sunday that the Patriarch’s statements were “unjustified and reckless… and harms his reputation and his position.”
He criticized al-Rahi’s remarks that the popular uprising in Syria will help the Sunni extremists in there to control the country.
“These allegations are merely propaganda to help the Syrian regime,” the diplomat said.
He said that the patriarch was “blessing” Hezbollah’s arms by linking the party’s arsenal to the termination of Israeli occupation of Lebanese territory. Noting that “he (the Maronite Patriarch) realizes what many Lebanese know that Hizbullah’s arms don’t exist to defend Lebanon, and it’s just an extension of the Iranian influence (on the region).”
He added: “The way he spoke about the Sunnis reveals that the assassination of ex-Premier Rafik Hariri doesn’t concern him.”
The official expected that al-Rahi’s visit to the U.S. next month will be only “pastoral.” Signifying that the U.S. officials might not meet him.
The Newspaper remarked that Bkirki will witness consecutive meetings after the Patriarch’s return to discuss the repercussions following his statements in Paris.
In an interview with al-Arabiya had stated on Thursday al-Rahi said: “Assad must be given a chance because he is implementing reforms in Syria.”
He warned that the Christians will pay the price if the Muslim brotherhood succeeded Assad.
Al-Rahi added: “As long as there is an occupied Lebanese territory, Hizbullah will maintain that it wants to carry arms in defense of its land. What will we say to it then?”