Nuncio Stresses Need for Security and Jobs in Iraq

BAGHDAD, Iraq, AUG. 19, 2004 ( The papal nuncio in Baghdad says that Christians need security and jobs if they are to remain in Iraq.

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Archbishop Fernando Filoni was commenting on statements of Iraqi Displacement and Migration Minister Pascale Isho Warda, who reported that 40,000 Christians have left the country since the start of August, following attacks on a number of churches.

«I cannot endorse or contradict the numbers, but they seem to be really high. Studies here are estimated by families, not by individuals,» the archbishop told AsiaNews.

«We know that families are going, and leaving their homes and work,» he added. «Parish priests also tell us that whole families are leaving, but we don’t know if the figure corresponds to the truth.»

The strife in Iraq affects the whole population, «not just Christians,» the nuncio said. «The first thing hoped for is the possibility to re-establish common coexistence and greater security for the whole civilian population. Another factor that must not be neglected is the need for work to be able to support the family.»

The key is to have all parties involved in Iraq guarantee stability and tranquility, he said. «If the initial will is there, the rest will be easier to attain.»

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