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2014-08-21

ASIA/SYRIA - Mission of the Patriarchs in Iraq. The Chaldean Patriarch: no to sectarian militias

Erbil (Agenzia Fides) - The defense of the attacked is an absolute right. But only "the forces of the State should take charge of this defense", while the creation of differentiated militia on ethno-religious basis "can destroy Iraq".
This is how - according to Lebanese sources - the Patriarch of Babylon of the Chaldeans Louis Raphael I expressed himself during his participation in the initiatives and meetings organized by the Delegation of the Patriarchs of the Eastern Churches that arrived on Wednesday, August 20 in Erbil, capital of the autonomous region of Iraqi Kurdistan, to express their closeness to refugees from Mosul and other cities which have fallen under the control of the self-proclaimed Islamic Caliphate. On 18 August, the President of the Autonomous Region of Kurdistan Masud Barzani said he was willing to provide weapons to Christian volunteers to form self-defense militias with a mandate to defend their villages currently in the hands of the jihadists. The Chaldean Patriarch also added that in the present situation, speaking in constitutional terms, the proposal to establish an autonomous area in the Nineveh Plain for Christian populations has become possible and according to him "acceptable", adding that such result is obtained "through dialogue and not through conflict".
The delegation of the Patriarchs currently on a visit to Iraq are, besides the Chaldean Patriarch, the Maronite Bechara Boutros Rai, the Greek-Melkite Patriarch Gregorios III, the Syriac Catholic Patriarch Ignatius Joseph III and Syrian Orthodox Patriarch Ignatius Aphrem II. (GV) (Agenzia Fides 21/08/2014)

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