01/19/2012, 00.00
IRAQ
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For Iraqi bishops, country’s reconstruction needs peace and security

by Joseph Mahmoud
The ongoing power struggle between Shias, Sunnis and Kurds is causing destruction and harming the Christian minority. In two days of meetings, the prelates iron out ideas for national reconciliation, urging emigrants to “come home”. Iraq’s provincial and federal governments have an obligation to guarantee stability.
Erbil (AsiaNews) – Iraq’s Catholic bishops met in assembly for two days (17-18 January) at Ankawa, a town just outside of Erbil, Iraqi Kurdistan. Here the prelates discussed all the issues concerning their pastoral work, with special focus on the country’s ongoing power struggle between Sunnis, Shias and Kurds, which is negatively affecting its Christian minority.

At the end of the assembly, the bishops issued a statement, signed by Mgr Louis Sako, archbishop of Kirkuk and secretary general of the Assembly.

AsiaNews is presenting its main points:

- The Assembly regarding these difficult circumstances in which Iraq is living, calls all groups to reconciliation, harmony and take seriously into consideration the demands of each party in order to establish safety, stability, democracy and civic pluralism.

- The future of Iraqis is Iraq, and therefore the Assembly calls for mutual respect to consolidate co-existence, and to reject all forms of violence and extremism. This is our country since ancient times; all religious and ethnic groups have co-existed in understanding and harmony. The Assembly hopes that this will continue in a peaceful, strengthened way and in a more secure climate of justice and dignity, which could limit emigration and encourage emigrants to return to their homes.

- Migration has many attractions. The country’s many crises have encouraged it; therefore, the Assembly calls upon all Iraqis to hold onto the home country and seek to build it.

- Finally, the Assembly calls on the federal government in Baghdad and the Kurdistan Regional Government to assume full responsibility for providing security and stability for all the components that constitute a mosaic of great beauty.
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