Middle East News
Pope, Lebanese president call for resolution of Arab conflicts
Feb 24, 2011, 15:54 GMT
Vatican City - Pope Benedict XVI and Lebanese President Michel Sleiman on Thursday expressed the need for an end to the unrest currently sweeping several Arab nations.
Benedict received Sleiman, a Maronite Christian, for 'cordial discussions,' the Vatican said in a statement.
The statement made no direct reference to the recent uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt nor to the ongoing unrest in Libya where hundreds are believed to have been killed by government forces.
However, it noted that the talks dwelt on the situation in the Middle East, 'with particular reference to recent events in certain Arab States.'
The pontiff and the Lebanese president expressed 'their shared conviction that it is vital to resolve the ongoing conflicts in the region,' the statement said.
The talks also focused on Lebanon which, 'because of the presence of various Christian and Muslim communities there, stands as a message of freedom and respectful coexistence, not only for the region but for the whole world.'
According to Lebanon's constitution, the three highest state offices must be occupied by representatives from three different religious groupings, with the president a Maronite Christian, the premier a Sunni Muslim and the parliament speaker a Shiite Muslim.
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