Iraqi People Will Decide the Future, Say Church Figures

Nuncio and Patriarch Give Their Overview

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BAGHDAD, Iraq, NOV. 22, 2004 ( Even as the international community discusses Iraq’s future, key Church figures think the country’s future is in the hands of its people.

Archbishop Fernando Filoni, papal nuncio in Iraq, and Archbishop Emmanuel III Delly, Chaldean Catholic patriarch of Baghdad, shared that view with AsiaNews.

«The main problem is not support for the Allawi government, which has already been confirmed by the international community,» said Archbishop Filoni.

«This government represents the present, but the great unknown remains the future, or rather future possibilities,» he said.

Elections set for Jan. 30 will be a milestone, but the nuncio’s uncertainty about the vote is betrayed by an emblematic expression he uses: «Inshallah [God willing], if elections take place, the country will take a decisive step forward.»

There can be no certainties until the very end, even if «the political will for elections exists,» he cautioned.

The archbishop stressed that Iraq’s situation must be addressed «day by day, because there are hundreds of parties and the nuances and positions of all of them are not known.»

Every day, the Western media report on carnage and attacks, but life goes on in the country.

«Violence is only one aspect of Iraq today,» Archbishop Filoni said. «There are millions of people who are trying to live in peace. In the provinces, for example, life is simpler, while in Baghdad and Mosul, things are more complicated.»

Greatest concern goes to large urban centers, he added, since «there is no guarantee of security. We are still at the mercy of terrorists.»

The nuncio contrasted the Allawi government, which is supported by the international community, and parts of the Iraqi people.

«It is Iraqis themselves who must push forward the country’s democratic process and today,» the nuncio said. «The overall picture is certainly not positive.»

Archbishop Delly, the Chaldean patriarch, supports Prime Minister Ayad Allawi’s efforts and stresses that he will do whatever possible to ensure that government directives are carried out.

The patriarch reiterated that the Chaldean Church «has always been obedient to the government and trusts its efforts.»

«The whole population wants peace and is tired of violence and conflict,» he said. «Everyone must act for the good and the security of Iraq, even those who do not support the government’s work.»

He added: «We must all work together to bring Iraq to new life and government efforts are to be supported for the good of everyone.»

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