07/15/2014, 00.00
IRAQ
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Baghdad Patriarch calls on parliament to save the country from division

Iraq's National Assembly meets again today. It has failed so far to find a shared line and elect the country's 'three presidents'. Mar Sako says that parliamentarians have an "historical and moral responsibility" to save the nation from the "danger" of division. He includes a prayer to be recited before parliament starts work.

Baghdad (AsiaNews) - The Chaldean Patriarchate appealed to Parliament in Baghdad to "speed up" the election of the country's "three presidents" and avert the danger of further institutional and political chaos that would lead to the country's division.

Mar Raphael I Louis Sako made the appeal in a statement released today and sent to AsiaNews, with attached a prayer to be read together before the house starts its activities. In it he calls for "peace and tranquillity" at a time of violence, division, and extremism.

He believes they can be achieved by invoking "God's help", help from the only one who can  promote "dialogue between us" and "resolve misunderstandings".

Iraq's parliament is set to meet again today. Elected in April, it has failed so far to give some sense of direction to the country. Its last session was held on Sunday and ended after 30 minutes in a stalemate.

The three most important positions, that of president, parliamentary speaker and prime minister are still vacant. Filling them is a critical first step to avert the danger of partition.

"At a time when our dear and beloved Iraq is going through a crisis of security and disorder," the Chaldean Patriarch wrote, the number of "corpses and refugees" grows "every day".

As Christian leaders, "we join our humble voice "to that of" Muslim authorities."

In his letter, Mar Sako addressed the honourable "Shia and Sunni" Members of Parliament, asking them to "speed up the election for the three presidents," reminding them of their "national, historical and moral responsibility" to work hard to save the country and its citizens, whose lives and unity "are in danger."

The Chaldean Patriarch finally offered a prayer to the members of Parliament, to be recited "before starting your work" because the country "has great trust and hope in you."

"Along with millions of Iraqis, we shall patiently wait for the good news".

Here is the prayer Mar Sako sent to parliament:

"God, help us that we may use the dialogue between us and that we may understand each other to resolve the misunderstanding between us, far from restrictions and sectarianism. God help us spread peace and tranquillity among our people, so that Iraq may come out from its problems victorious. Amen".

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