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Maronite Patriarch seeks revival of Lebanese sovereignty

On the eve of a heavily anticipated visit to Washington, DC, Maronite Catholic Patriarch Nasrallah Sfeir said that Lebanon, has the right to "independence, sovereignty, and freedom".

The religious leader's call comes in the midst of a new setback in progress towards Lebanese independence from Syrian influence. The country's president has asked the pro-Syrian former prime minister to form a new government, 10 days after he resigned amid anti-Syrian protests.

The Maronite Patriarch, who is consulting with US leaders about the unrest in Lebanon, said the country's problems should be resolved through the implementation of the Taef accords and respect the UN resolutions calling for restoration of Lebanon's sovereignty. Patriarch Sfeir has been a longstanding critic of Syrian influence in Lebanese affairs.

Former Lebanese foreign minister Fares Boueiz told AsiaNews that he expects the Patriarch's trip to the US to be a historic event, which could produce dramatic movement toward the restoration of Lebanese sovereignty.

Lebanon has a right to sovereignty, says Patriarch Sfeir ( 7/3/05)
Comeback for pro-Syria Lebanon PM (BBC 10/3/05)

Maronite bishops urge quick formation of transitional government (Catholic News Service 7/3/05)
Maronite patriarch seeks revival of Lebanese sovereignty (Catholic World News 7/3/05)
Bishops in Lebanon Call for Elections (Zenit 2/3/05)
Church leaders demand sovereignty for Lebanon (Catholic World News 2/3/05)
Lebanon's rocky road from Damascus (BBC 5/3/05)

11 Mar 2005