Pope Says Visit to Beirut Hinges on Government Formation

  • Date: 02-Jul-2021
  • Source: Asharq AL-awsat
  • Sector:Economy
  • Country:Lebanon
  • Who else needs to know?

Pope Says Visit to Beirut Hinges on Government Formation

The pope and Christian leaders from Lebanon arrive in St. Peter's Basilica to attend a prayer for Lebanon at the Vatican, Thursday, July 1, 2021. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

Pope Francis met Thursday in the Vatican with 10 senior Christian leaders and said he hoped to visit Lebanon early next year if politicians agree on a cabinet lineup.

The meeting came amid the rise of existential concerns and fears over the role of Christians in the Middle Eastern nation, which suffers from economic, political, financial and social crises.

On Thursday, the Pope met with the Christian leaders at the house of Saint Martha in the Vatican as part of the "Day of Meditation and Prayer for Lebanon" to discuss the alarming situation in the country.

Francis said he hopes to visit Lebanon once a government is formed. The Vatican's foreign minister, Archbishop Paul Gallagher, said if that happens soon, Francis could make a trip to Beirut at the end of 2021 or the beginning of 2022.

In his final remarks at the ecumenical prayer service, the Pope urged political leaders to find solutions and appealed to the international community to help the country recover.

"Stop using Lebanon and the Middle East for outside interests and profits!" he