Mikati thanked him for his interest and conveyed to him an invitation to visit Lebanon
During the meeting, President Mikati said: “In these difficult times that Lebanon is going through, we are in dire need of prayer so that God protects our homeland from scourge and evil, and we are in dire need of the support of friends at all levels, especially at the economic and social levels.” He added: “Christians in the East have been among the pillars of freedoms, human rights and freedom of belief, and they have always found a safe haven in Lebanon, and the more Christians in Lebanon feel safe, the more this is reflected on all Christians in the East. I am confident that the Holy See can play a major role in this regard.”
At the end of the visit, Mikati said: “I had the pleasure of meeting Pope Francis today, and conveyed to him the special love of the Lebanese for him from all sects, their appreciation and gratitude for the attention he pays to them and their country through constant follow-up and ensuring that Lebanon remains the homeland of the role and mission. I also conveyed to him the greetings of President Michel Aoun, and confirmed the Pope’s invitation to visit Lebanon soon, because all the Lebanese are waiting for this visit and view it as a new hope for them.
He added, “Pope Francis brought me his great love and sympathy for the Lebanese people in these difficult circumstances they are living in, and he reiterated his confidence that the Lebanese are capable of overcoming the ordeal.” He stressed the importance of continuing the role played by the Lebanese and their interaction with their Arab surroundings, which would keep Lebanon as a pioneering and unique country. He affirmed that he will make every effort in all international forums to help Lebanon cross the difficult stage it is going through and restore peace and stability to it, so that the Lebanese can enjoy a decent life.
Mikati stated that there was a “mutual emphasis on the importance of activating Islamic-Christian relations. She highly valued the human fraternity document that the Pope and Sheikh of Al-Azhar Ahmed Al-Tayeb signed in the historic meeting they held in the United Arab Emirates, as the culmination of joint efforts they made years ago, to spread the culture of dialogue and coexistence among the followers of the heavenly messages. He declared that his talks with the Pope and officials in the Vatican were an opportunity to explain the Lebanese government’s directions regarding the challenges facing Lebanon.
He pointed out that he “felt papal satisfaction with the efforts we are making in maintaining security and stability in Lebanon and addressing the enormous difficulties it is going through, and an encouragement to maintain stability and continue to adhere to the national options on which the Lebanese are unanimous, as well as to strengthen relations between Lebanon and the world.”
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