Pope Francis has appealed for Lebanese political officials to set aside their personal interests and unite so the country can escape a three-year economic crisis and political void.
“Lebanon now is suffering,” the pope said. In December, he said he would have liked to visit the country but was forced to postpone, but he did not directly answer a question about it. Francis was greatly pained by the country’s deterioration and sent a plea for prayers and for the international community to aid Lebanon. He urged Lebanese politicians to set aside their personal interests and think about the nation as a whole. He said, “I take this opportunity to appeal to Lebanese politicians to put your personal interests aside and speak about the country and come to an agreement,” he said. “First God, then country, then personal interests.”
Lebanese President Michel Aoun’s term ended without a successor at the end of October, leaving Lebanon in a political void that will likely worsen its financial crisis. Many fear that an extended delay in naming a successor will keep efforts to finalize a deal with the International Monetary Fund in limbo, which would provide Lebanon with $3 billion in financial aid, a critical step in the country’s economic recovery.
Image Credit: AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino