Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rahi stressed on Thursday Pope Benedict XVI will call from Lebanon for peace among Christians and Muslims in the Middle East as they share a common destiny, criticizing a film mocking Islam.

The papal visit to Lebanon “is a call on Christians in the east to unite among themselves and with others and to develop their countries as they are native residents and not minorities,” al-Rahi told reporters in a press conference in Bkirki.

He pointed out that Benedict’s call for holding a special synod and the signing of the apostolic exhortation in Lebanon is aimed at urging people in the Middle East to drop their arms, stop the vortex of violence and to sit together at a dialogue table.

The apostolic exhortation represents the conclusion of a Middle Eastern synod in 2010 that emphasized the defense of Christian minorities in the region.

Concerning the situation in neighboring country Syria, al-Rahi called on all parties to end the turmoil as it “has no benefits.”

The pope is due to leave on Friday for a three-day visit to Lebanon.