March 16, 2005


Sfeir to meet Bush to talk Hizbullah and bilateral relations (Rita Boustani, March 16, 2005, Lebanon Daily Star)

Maronite Patriarch Nasrallah Butros Sfeir said Tuesday he was in Washington as a "friend of democracy" and to promote friendship between Lebanon and the U.S.

Speaking upon his arrival in the American capital, where he is due to meet U.S. President George W. Bush Wednesday, Sfeir said: "We want for Lebanon to live in peace, to be a free, sovereign and independent country, a country for all people. Let's give it an opportunity to regain its special status within the international community."

It has been understood that Sfeir's visit is aimed at convincing the Bush administration to soften its stance toward the Lebanese resistance group Hizbullah, which the U.S. deems a terrorist organization.

But Sfeir said his visit to the U.S., which he described as a "democratic country par excellence," was aimed at promoting "brotherly relations between Christian and Muslim communities in Lebanon and the people of this great and noble nation."

He added: "The message I am carrying is that of love, respect and appreciation for the United States. We appreciate and thank all those who can help Lebanon regain its sovereignty and independence."

Posted by Orrin Judd at March 16, 2005 8:14 AM
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