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Lebanon’s Christians Celebrate Christmas With Hopes for an End to Ordeal

(NaharNet) Lebanon’s Christians celebrated Christmas Day with wishes from Maronite Patriarch Nasrallah Sfeir that efforts by the international community would help find a fair settlement to the ongoing political crisis and urged rival leaders to salvage Lebanon from its “ordeal.” In his Christmas Day address, Sfeir hoped that the international community would help find “swift, balanced and peaceful settlements for Lebanon and the Middle East.”

“I pray to God to inspire the (Lebanese) leaders to pass through the right track (in order) to get our country out of its ordeal,” Sfeir added at the mass in the Saydit church in Bkirki.

Under the title “Don’t be Frightened,” Sfeir also urged pro- and anti-government leaders to direct their attention to the “welfare of this country.”

Sfeir chaired the central mass in Bkirki which was attended by several cabinet ministers and parliament members in the absence of President Emile Lahoud.

Sfeir wondered why “matters don’t get straight here! Isn’t it because the greedy want to share power and (benefit) from what that power hauls behind from wealth and influence to prestige?”

The Majority March 14 coalition that supports the government of Prime Minister Fouad Saniora has accused the Hizbullah-led Opposition of seeking to block an international tribunal to try suspects in the 2005 assassination of ex-Premier Rafik Hariri and related crimes.

The March 14 camp blames the crimes on Syria.

The opposition demands a new unity government with greater representation, ensuring veto power, to organize parliamentary elections on the basis of a new electoral law to be followed by presidential elections.

The anti-Syrian camp, however, wants the ouster of pro-Damascus President Emile Lahoud whose term was extended for three years in September 2004 under pressure from Syria.

The Saniora cabinet has resisted the round-the-clock pressure of street protests organized by Hizbullah outside the Grand Serail in downtown Beirut