08/13/2018, 13.15
IRAQ
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Chaldean bishops call for peace in Syria and dialogue between Iran and the United States

The Synod 2018, held  August 7 to 13 in Baghdad, gathered local prelates and those from the diaspora. The tensions between Washington and Tehran worry: no sanctions but diplomacy. The return of Christians and the reconstruction work that are fundamental for the rebirth of Iraq.

Baghdad (AsiaNews) - A prayer for the end of the war in Syria and in all other areas of the Middle East, such as Yemen, where a conflict is taking place, and the call for a common effort for the region to finally enjoy a "stable and lasting peace". 

This is the appeal contained in the final declaration from the 2018 Synod of the Chaldean Church, which took place August 7 to 13 in Baghdad, under the leadership of patriarch Card Louis Raphael Sako.

 The leaders of the Iraqi Church discussed Iran and the United States, increasingly at the center of a "psychological war" [the words of President Rouhani] which, should it escalate, risks precipitating the situation in the region.

In a statement shared with AsiaNews the bishops call on Tehran and Washington to adopt the path of dialogue and diplomacy to solve problems, not try to impose restrictive measures and punitive actions that only go to the detriment of the civilian population. 

Th price for all  violence, they add,  is paid by "innocent people" as was the case in Iraq in the 13 years in which the sanctions were in force. "Wars and sanctions - they warn - bring nothing but negative results".

In addition to the violence that is bleeding the region, the Iraqi bishops led by Patriarch Sako analyzed the situation in Iraq and the condition of the local Christian community, which has started a slow process of rebirth after the recent drama of the Islamic State (IS, ex Isis). The Iraqi Church confirms its support to those who work with a view to strengthening national unity.

Urging the political class to a common fight against corruption, the Iraqi and Diaspora bishops - there were prelates from the dioceses of Australia, the United States, Canada, Europe, Iran, Lebanon and Syria - are calling for the economy to be strengthened and the creation of employment. They observe that this is a key objective especially for the new generations, overcoming the sectarian mentality and the quota system. 

If this is to be achieved then a strong national government must be created. One that treats all citizens in the name of equality, freedom, democracy and respect for pluralism. The future executive, with the support of the international community, is also responsible for ensuring the return of displaced families, arranging for housing and restoring infrastructure.

The Iraqi Church does not hide its fears for the future of Iraq and the region, in addition to the problems facing the Chaldeans of the Diaspora. For this reason, the first point, they warn, is to ensure the return of the largest number of displaced people to the Nineveh Plains, the area with a Christian majority in the north of the country. This will be the starting point to then strengthen security and strengthen pastoral, social and humanitarian activities, while the faithful are called to show "patience and constancy" keeping faith and hope alive.

The message of the Chaldean bishops ends with the wishes of the "Muslim brothers and sisters" for the feast of Id al-adha (the Feast of the Sacrifice) which is celebrated on August 21st and commemorates total submission to God in Islam.

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