Cardinal Bechara Raï Maronite Patriarch of Antioch and All the East said that he supports the implementation of the Arab Peace Initiative that was formulated in the 2002 Arab League Beirut Summit, and was the basis for the recent peace agreements between Arab countries and Israel. He made these remarks in an interview that aired on Al-Hurra TV (U.S.) on March 2, 2021. Cardinal Raï said that the Maronite Patriarchate supports peace over war, "wars are vile." However, he lamented, in Lebanon it is Hizbullah, and not the Lebanese state, that calls the shots.
Bechara Raï: "The Beirut Summit over the [Arab] peace [initiative] was held in 2002, I believe. Am I right? It was in 2002?"
Raï: "Who held this summit? The Arab League?"
Raï: "It was a summit for peace and was called the Beirut Peace Summit. They discussed peace with Israel and determined its conditions – what Israel is required to do, and what any country that wants to make peace [with Israel] is required to do. All the Arab countries that made peace [with Israel] are implementing [the decision of] the Beirut Peace Summit."
Interviewer: "So you support the implementation of the Beirut Peace Summit [decisions]?"
Raï: "Yes, I support it. It took place here, in Lebanon.
"The Beirut Peace Summit was held for this purpose..."
Interviewer: "Does the [Maronite] Patriarchate today support the 'peace train' that was launched from the Arab [gulf] states?"
Raï: "We support peace over war everywhere. We support understanding between countries instead of wars. We support [peace] conferences between countries instead of wars. Wars are vile and it is the people who suffer their consequences. Wars destroy countries and states and the only things they bring about are hunger, death, and displacement.
"We support peace, not wars. Out of this principle, the relevant countries should thoroughly reexamine this issue. They should revisit the Beirut Peace Summit. They should see what conditions apply to a country that wants to reach an understanding [with Israel], and what conditions apply to Israel. But here, in Lebanon, it is not the government that handles this issue."
Interviewer: "Who is?"
Raï: "A certain party..."
Raï: "Of course. Who is talking war and peace with Israel? The Lebanese state? Who calls the shots? Isn't it Hizbullah?"