11/10/2015, 00.00
RUSSIA - SYRIA
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Ahead of Vienna 2, Syrian Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch and All the East arrives in Moscow

by Nina Achmatova
Mar Ignatius Ephrem II: Russian military intervention gave hope to the Syrian people, now time to proceed with the negotiations. The religious leader is visiting Russia until November 13 and he will meet with both Patriarch Kirill and Foreign Minister Lavrov.

Moscow (AsiaNews) – The need to stem the hemorrhaging of  Christians from Syria and an appeal to the US and its allies to cut off financing to terrorist groups that are forcing Christians to flee from war to Europe. These were the main themes that emerged from the press conference on November 9 in Moscow, with the Syrian Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch and all the East, Ignatius Ephrem II, who arrived in Russia on his first visit, which will end on November 13.

The religious leader revealed that  in the past five years 30% of Christians have left Syria: "Some have fled to neighboring countries and others to Europe. This is a situation very alarming. They are fleeing from terrorism, from those who are taking their homes from them and trying to change their way of life. "

The Syrian Orthodox Patriarch (who in his trip to Moscow will meet with Russian Orthodox primate Kirill, but also Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov) also called on the "United States and other world powers to stop the flow of funds to terrorist organizations and extremist groups ", that are forcing the Syrians to flee to Europe.

"I recognize that Syria needs reforms, a system to the benefit of all the people, but not at this price, the price of the destruction of Syria and its people," said Ignatius Ephrem II.

The religious leader went on to state his support for Russia’s military intervention alongside the regime of Bashar al-Assad, with air strikes against the Islamic state. "We believe that Russia’s intervention has brought hope to all the Syrian people - he said - as we also believe that the role of Russia in Syria is a role of peacemaker and the ultimate goal of Russian efforts in the region is to restore peace for all the people. "

The Patriarch said he hoped that "the result of this effort is that the conflicting parties are able to sit at the negotiating table and find a political solution to the crisis".

The diplomacy of the countries involved in talks on Syria are due to gather for a second international summit in Vienna with the participation of Iran. The meeting is said to be scheduled for November 12 and 14 November. The primary objective of the upcoming summit should be, according to Tehran and Moscow, to draw up a joint list of "terrorist groups" in the country and to identify the representatives of the Syrian opposition that can initiate political dialogue with the current government.

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