Lebanese Muslim and Christian spiritual leaders, who represent 18 religious sects in the country, on Thursday held an interfaith summit, warning of the repercussions of divisions among the rival political parties in the country, dpa reported.
"Such divisions can weaken Lebanon's immunity to regional challenges," the conferees said in a statement.
Meeting at the patriarchate of the Lebanese Christian Maronite Church in Bkriki, in northern
Lebanon, members also called on Lebanese officials to speed up the process of cabinet formation.
"We call on the officials to form a cabinet as soon as possible, on a legitimate and constitutional basis ... so that the cabinet will be able to play an important role at this critical stage of Lebanon's history," the statement read.
Lebanon has been without a government for four months, ever since deputies of the Islamist Hezbollah party decided to withdraw from the cabinet of former Western-backed premier Saad Hariri over a dispute about a UN tribunal probing the 2005 assassination of Hariri's father, former premier Rafik Hariri.
Prime Minister-designate Najib Mikati, who was appointed with the blessing of the Hezbollah-led coalition, has been struggling to form a government after Hariri and his allies refused to join a cabinet controlled by the Iranian-backed Lebanese Shiite Movement.
The spiritual leaders who attended the summit also highlighted in their statement the importance of dialogue between the various 18 religious sects present in Lebanon.
Maronite Patriarch Bechara Boutros al-Rai said that the Christian- Muslim summit "is a necessity because it enhances public and private freedoms."
"Holding such a summit was inevitable in order to confirm national principles and goals that would help officials take national decisions in a free and democratic manner to confirm coexistence between Christians and Muslims," the patriarch stated.
"The developments in the Arab world and their repercussions on Lebanon, given its current divisions, also drove us to hold this summit," said al-Rahi, referring to violence in Libya, Syria and Yemen.