ASIA/LEBANON - The Patriarchs of Antioch: in order to stop the conflict, arms trafficking must be stopped

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Bkerké (Agenzia Fides) - The wars that devastate the Middle East, starting from Syria and Iraq will end only when the flow of arms and money destined to armed factions and terrorist groups by allies and sponsors regional and International will stop. This is how the Patriarchs and Heads of Christian Churches of the East expressed themselves during a meeting on Tuesday, January 27th in Bkerké, at the headquarters of the Maronite Patriarchate, and once again highlighted that the arms trade and the current financial resources made available to the jihadi groups are the key factors in the conflicts that disrupt the lives of entire peoples, destabilizing the geopolitical framework in the Middle East.
The meeting, hosted by the Maronite Patriarch Bechara Boutros Rai, was also attended by all the other Bishops who carry the patriarchal title of Antioch: Greek-Orthodox Patriarch Yohanna X, Greek-Melkite Patriarch Gregoire III, the Syrian-Orthodox Patriarch Aphrem II and the Syrian Catholic Youssef III.
In the meeting - which was attended by the Armenian Catholic Bishop of Damascus Joseph Arnaouti and Archbishop Gabriele Caccia, Apostolic Nuncio in Lebanon – what emerged was the common judgment and shared pastoral concern which unites the Heads of Churches of the East before the emergencies that afflict the peoples of the area and, in some cases, threaten the very survival of the indigenous Christian communities.
"Even in Lebanon - refers to Agenzia Fides Father Paul Karam, President of Caritas Lebanon, who attended the meeting - the general impoverishment, political paralysis and the growing danger of an offensive by the jihadi militias are destabilizing society and push the youth to flee, especially young Christians, who go abroad to find work.
The efforts of the Churches and ecclesial institutions, even though have doubled, cannot make up for the inaction of civil institutions. There is also a decline in international aid to the benefit of refugees, while humanitarian emergencies and the number of refugees continue to rise".
In the document, published at the end of the meeting, the Patriarchs and Heads of Christian Churches insist on the need to end conflicts with "peaceful means" and "through political negotiations" involving all the contending parties. Among other things, the text reaffirms support and solidarity with the Lebanese armed forces, who since last Friday, January 23, have been engaged in the area of Ras Baalbek, in operations against jihadi militias from Syria, "to foil a subversive plan of enormous gravity, with the help of God". (GV) (Agenzia Fides 28/01/2015)