Top Lebanese Maronite cleric slams Hezbollah for taking part in regional wars

Top Lebanese Maronite cleric slams Hezbollah for taking part in regional wars
Lebanese Maronite Patriarch Bechara Boutros Al-Rai speaks after meeting with Lebanon's President Michel Aoun at the presidential palace in Baabda, Lebanon July 15, 2020. (Reuters)
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Updated 17 July 2020

Top Lebanese Maronite cleric slams Hezbollah for taking part in regional wars

Top Lebanese Maronite cleric slams Hezbollah for taking part in regional wars

CAIRO: Lebanon’s leading Christian cleric has ramped up his condemnation of Hezbollah saying it has always sidelined the Lebanese state at times of war. 
The head of the Lebanese Maronite Christian Church Bechara Rai told Vatican News that the Iran-backed militant group has taken part in wars in countries such as Syria, Yemen and Iraq.
His remarks are the latest in a string criticism of the heavily armed Hezbollah over its support for Iran in conflicts with Arab states.
Rai said there was a “sort of control from Hezbollah on the Lebanese government and the country’s policies” with its role in regional wars. “Lebanon does not want this.”
Rai said Hezbollah’s interventions have “created a political crisis that contributed to a severe economic and living crisis in the country.” 
“Lebanon is a civil state that operates between the state and religion. Today, for the sake of Lebanon and all Lebanese without any exceptions, there is no solution other than neutrality,” he added.
Lebanon is mired in an economic and political crisis that has left the economy close to collapse.
Hezbollah backs the government of Prime Minister Hassan Diab, but its support has alienated Beirut from countries in the region and the West.
The group is considered a terrorist organisation in the US, Europe and other countries.