Thursday, November 13, 2014

Statement by U.S. Ambassador David Hale Following His Meeting with Maronite Patriarch Cardinal Mar Bachara al-Rai

November 13, 2014
I had an excellent meeting with His Beatitude.  We discussed his recent visit to Washington.  On the part of the United States, we were so pleased to receive him at the White House, along with the other patriarchs, and that they and the President were able to spend so much time together.  The President emphasized that the U.S. recognizes the importance of the historic role of Christian communities in the region and of protecting Christians throughout the Middle East. 
The Patriarch and I also discussed the political situation in Lebanon.  The United States is deeply concerned about the paralysis of Lebanon's political institutions, which started with the failure to elect a president in May and led to the regrettable, recent decision to postpone parliamentary elections and extend the term of the current parliament again.  We once again call on Lebanon's parliament to elect a president as soon as possible and in accordance with the constitution and the National Pact.  The election of a president is a decision entirely for the Lebanese to take, but take it, they must.  We also urge Lebanese leaders to schedule and hold parliamentary elections as soon as possible.