Baghdad (AsiaNews) - The Chaldean Patriarchate has made an appeal to "all people of good will" to find a "political solution" to the Iraq conflict.
In an official statement sent to AsiaNews, the country's Catholic religious leaders call on the parties concerned "to use reason" to form a "national unity government representing all" citizens.
"We need a political solution to the current crisis," the Patriarchate noted, "which poses a serious threat"" to the nation's unity and is making civil war increasingly likely.
If the current situation continues, "there will be neither winners nor losers because everyone will be a loser, starting with Iraq's national unity and its various ethnic groups will be lost forever."
Although the Catholic Church has always opposed Iraq's possible division into three parts (Shia, Sunni and Kurdish), the latter appears to be ever more likely, as the Kurdish region's prime minister suggested recently.
This morning, US Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Baghdad for a brief surprise visit to reiterate Washington's concerns over the Iraqi crisis, in particular, in the west of the country.
Over the weekend government forces lost control of other cities - Anbar, Rawah and Ana - and some strategic crossing points along the borders with Syria and Jordan. Amman, in response, closed its borders with its neighbour.
At present, the al-Qaeda-linked Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) is moving towards the city of Haditha, a strategically significant place because it is hub of the national power grid and is home to a mega dam, the destruction of which would cause devastating flooding.
The meeting between Kerry and Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki comes a time of strong tensions between Washington and Baghdad, as the US government pushes Iraqi leaders for a change of direction.
The United States is exerting diplomatic pressure on the Shia-dominated government, a close ally of Tehran, to be more "inclusive" towards Sunnis in order to neutralise an important ally of jihadist forces.
In its appeal, the Chaldean Patriarchate warns that "foreign powers" only pursue "their own interests", not those "of our country."
At this critical juncture, "everyone should be encouraged to listen to the voice of reason," Chaldean leaders said. If "we continue to pursue our own interests, we will remain divided" and "if politics fails, then the rights of the people will be lost."
Chaldean leaders call for "greater confidence in our political leaders" who must listen to "the voice of reason and promote dialogue" in order to form rapidly a "national unity government" that is authoritative and respected by all Iraqis.