Erbil (Agenzia Fides) - Potential conflicts triggered by the referendum on the independence of Iraqi Kurdistan can only be prevented by "genuinely sitting at the table of negotiation for dialogue". The clash between the government of Baghdad and the regional government of Erbil must be resolved internally and must not be "internationalized". It is important that divisions and clashes do not lead to a territorial and administrative dismemberment of the Nineveh Plain. These are some of the considerations expressed by the Bishops of the Christian Churches present in Kurdistan in a joint statement – widespread on Sunday, October 1 - on the dangerous and unstable situation created in the area after the referendum on independence wanted by the government of the autonomous region of Iraqi Kurdistan. The Bishops do not take a stand for or against the proclamation of Kurdistan's independence, but hope for an "internal solution" to the conflict, pointing out that external force interventions will expose even more the entire population, its various components, to further suffering.
The Bishops, who signed the document, do not fail to express gratitude to the regional government of Kurdistan, which since 2014 has welcomed tens of thousands of Christian refugees from Mosul and Nineveh Plain, forced to leave their lands conquered by the self-proclaimed jihadist Islamic State (Daesh). "Undoubtedly", the document reads, sent to Agenzia Fides, "we Christians can never forget how our brothers in Kurdistan Region, as a people and government, received us and supported our displaced persons, not only Christians but also other components of the Iraqi people". But Christians - add the Bishops - must avoid being used in conflicts, even because their condition of objective vulnerability continues to make their future and the possibility of continuing to live in their own country of origin uncertain. In this respect, the Bishops explicitly ask the territorial unity of the Nineveh Plain to be preserved also in the future, avoiding that the clash between the government in Baghdad and the government in Erbil provokes its fragmentation.
Among the signatories of the statement: Bashar Warda (Chaldean Archbishop of Erbil), Nicodemus Daoud Sharaf (Siro Orthodox Archbishop of Mosul), Timotheus Musa al Shamani (Siro Orthodox Bishop of the Monastery of Mar Matti) and Rabban al Qas (Chaldean Bishop of Zakho and Amadya). (GV) (Agenzia Fides, 3/10/2017)