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Lebanon: Celebrations Of 'Mountain Reconciliation' Reveals Disputes Among Christians - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Beirut- Lebanon’s political circles were busy on Monday following the repercussions of a ceremony held Sunday to commemorate the Mountain Reconciliation anniversary in the presence of President Michel Aoun.

The ceremony ended up revealing a dispute between the two main Christian parties, the Lebanese Forces and the Free National Movement and the rest of the mountain’s Christian entities, mainly representatives from the Phalange party and the National Liberal Party (NLP), who were absent from the ceremony.

Also, head of the Progressive Socialist Party (PSP) MP Walid Jumblatt did not attend the inauguration of “Our Lady of the Hill” Church in Mount Lebanon’s Deir al-Qamar due to “a health problem.” However, parties close to Sunday’s event said that the Druze leader’s absence was triggered by “political motives.”

The Mountain Reconciliation between local Christians and Druze culminated in 2001 with a historic visit to the mountain region by former Maronite Patriarch Butros Sfeir.

Member of Jumblatt’s Democratic Gathering parliamentary bloc MP Fouad Saad told Asharq Al-Awsat on Monday that Jumbaltt “does not enter in the disputes of the Christian parties, but remains equidistant at both the Christian and national levels. He cares to keep the reconciliation coherent. Our role as Christian MPs lies in this spectrum, and we refuse to enter the corridors of political and electoral contests.”

For his part, when asked about his absence at the Reconciliation ceremony on Sunday, NLP President MP Dory Chamoun told Asharq Al-Awsat: “What reconciliation are you talking about? The reconciliation happened in 2001, and therefore, what happened on Sunday is a folklore and an electoral and political show. I did not attend because I had a lunch with my family.”

Member of the Phalange parliamentary bloc MP Fadi Habr said that the role of the Lebanese Forces party is currently to eliminate the historic presence of the Phalange Party.

“However, we strongly exist,” Habr said, adding that the Phalange was the party that had built the Mountain Reconciliation with MP Walid Jumblatt in 2001.

“What happened on Sunday is a mockery,” he said, adding that the absence of Jumblatt on Sunday came due to the nonattendance of the Phalange party, the NLP and other Christian forces at the ceremony.