ASIA/LEBANON - Maronite Patriarch says no to the 'naturalization decree': among the beneficiaries there are "suspicious names"

Monday, 11 June 2018 middle east   oriental churches   migrants   refugees  


Beirut (Agenzia Fides) - The so-called "naturalization decree" with which the Presidency of Lebanon is preparing to grant the Lebanese nationality to 375 foreigners must absolutely be withdrawn, also because among its potential beneficiaries there are "suspicious" names. This was stated today by Maronite Patriarch Bechara Boutros Rai, intervening in a decisive manner in the controversy that is affecting the Country with regard to the "naturalization decree" regarding 375 mainly wealthy citizens of Syrian, Palestinian and Iraqi origin. Among them, there are 260 Christians and 115 Muslims.
Media indiscretions on the investigations that the security services are carrying out on some people on the list, considered very close to the Syrian regime of Bashar al Assad, contribute to the controversy. Local sources, contacted by Agenzia Fides, report evaluations - according to which the granting of Lebanese nationality to such personalities close to the Syrian government could represent a ploy to bypass - at least partially - the international economic-commercial embargo which penalizes Syria.
Patriarch Bechara Boutros Rai had expressed his objections to the decree of "naturalization" also in the homily of the Mass celebrated on Sunday 10 June, at the conclusion of the annual Synod of the Maronite Bishops. On that occasion, the Primate of the Maronite Church pointed out, among other things, that the naturalization decree in preparation is unconstitutional, because it violates the introduction of the Lebanese Constitution, which denies the granting of Lebanese citizenship to "foreigners without Lebanese descent". The Maronite Patriarch also returned to express his criticism toward the international community for the lack of support provided for the repatriation of Syrian refugees in their Country. (GV) (Agenzia Fides, 11/6/2018)