After returning from the Vatican, Maronite Patriarch Bechara Boutros Al-Rahi met with President Michel Aoun on Wednesday to brief him about the recent meeting with the Pope earlier this month.
Speaking to the press from Baabda Palace after seeing Aoun, Al-Rahi stressed that Pope Francis “carries the Lebanese cause deeply in his heart and will carry it to the international community,” adding that it is crucial in Lebanon “to build our homeland and our home.”
When asked about comments he has for Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri, Al-Rahi called on him to speed up the government formation in “accordance with the spirit of the constitution” because each day that passes is sinking Lebanon deeper into crisis.
“I have said this to him in person before and I reiterate it again,” he said. “The door to solving all problems is to form a government.”
“The absence of the government is what led us here,” he remarked, adding that Lebanon cannot delay the government formation any longer, not even a “quarter of a minute”.
Since Hariri’s return to Beirut, local media reports have circulated speculations about his possible resignation.
There are calls for Hariri to present a new cabinet line-up or step down and name a successor, according to local media.
However, Center House sources told Lebanese newspaper Al-Joumhouria that Hariri was “open to all choices, except for naming a successor,” because he believes it will only be futile, similar to the experience with Mustapha Adib and Hassan Diab.