LEBANON - Maronite patriarch in Holy Land to "welcome", not accompany Pope Francis [AN]

Card Beshara Rai reacts to attacks by groups close to Syria, Iran and Hizbollah, who accuse him of wanting to normalise relations with Israel. Instead, he notes that, as head of the Maronite Church, it is his duty to welcome the pope during his apostolic visit, a stance backed by Mahmoud Abbas, for whom the matter is religious, not political.

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