ASIA/LEBANON - Patriarch Rai visits Egypt; the election of the President is taking longer than expected

Beirut - Maronite Patriarch Boutros Bechara Rai carried out a four-day visit to Egypt, which ended yesterday, Sunday, December 13, and was characterized by a busy schedule, not only from a pastoral point of view. The occasion for the patriarchal visit was the inauguration of the church dedicated to St. Maron, which underwent major restoration in the Cairo district of Heliopolis. During the visit in Egypt, the Primate of the Maronite Church had high-level contacts and met among others the Coptic Orthodox Patriarch, Tawadros II, the Grand Imam of al-Azhar, Ahmad al Tayyeb, and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.
Egyptian sources consulted by Agenzia Fides report that President al-Sisi, in his meeting with Patriarch Rai, confirmed Egypt's commitment to support the security and stability of the Lebanese nation and its plural identity, and recognized the need to do everything possible to reach consensus among the Lebanese political forces to elect a new President. Above all, the Egyptian Head of State confirmed that he and his country will oppose any attempt to include Lebanon in destabilizing processes that has caused suffering for the peoples of other countries in the Middle East for years.
The visit of Patriarch Rai in Egypt took place during the ongoing negotiations between the Lebanese political blocs around the "compromise solution", which in recent weeks prefigures the election of Suleiman Franjieh as President of the Republic, a Maronite Christian, a childhood friend of Syrian President Bashar Assad and leader of the Marada Movement. According to reports by the Lebanese media, the political problem of the presidential election will not be resolved before the new year.