APRIL 25, 2015 (REFERRING TO THE NATIONAL NEWS AGENCY – LEBANON) Maronite Patriarch, Cardinal Bshara Butros Al-Rai, sent out Saturday an appeal from the UNESCO headquarters in the French capital, Paris, urging “the international community to adopt the necessary measures to protect the East and the Christian presence in it.”
Al-Rai’s launched appeal came upon his visit to the UNESCO within the framework of celebrations marking 70 years since the Organization’s foundation.
In his talks with the UNESCO Director General, Irena Bokova, Al-Rai shed light on “the situation of Christians in the Middle East and their supportive role to the culture of peace,” stressing on their “historical and deeply-rooted presence in the East for more than two thousand years.”
The Patriarch also highlighted various issues of concern to Lebanon and the region, especially dialogue between religions and the threatened heritage and culture. Concerns related to the hundreds of displaced Syrians seeking refuge in Lebanon also featured high during their discussions.
Al-Rai praised the efforts exerted by Bokova in the educational field with regards to Syrian student refugees, as well as her undertaken measures in preservation of cultural and ancient sites in the Middle Eastern conflict zones.
Bokova, in turn, thanked the Patriarch for his relentless efforts and role within the Lebanese Patriarchate and the East.
SOURCE: NATIONAL NEWS AGENCY – LEBANON