Beirut, May. 6, 2008 ( - Maronite Catholic Patriarch Nasrallah Sfeir has embarked on a 3-week foreign tour, during which he hopes to rally international support for Lebanon's sovereignty.

Cardinal Sfeir, the leading Christian voice in Lebanon, has been severely critical of the nation's political leaders, and expressed misgivings about the prospects for a presidential election. Before leaving Beirut on a trip that will take him to South Africa and the United States, the Maronite prelate told reporters that "if the Lebanese cannot re-establish security and the sovereignty of the state, the United Nations might take the necessary steps for that purpose."

During his week-long visit to the US, Cardinal Sfeir will speak with President George W. Bush and with the secretary-general of the UN, Ban Ki-Moon.