Eastern Catholic Patriarchs: We Must Stop Financing, Arming Terrorists

Also Declare Attacks on Christians and Their Property «Should Be Criminalized»

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Eastern Catholic Patriarchs have called on the international community to confront the existence of the Islamic State in order to put an end to the terrorist and fundamentalist organizations responsible for an upsurge of violence forcing thousands to flee throughout the Middle East.

In a statement in the wake of their meeting in Bkirki, Lebanon, the See of the Maronite Catholic Patriarchate, the Eastern patriarchs declared that attacks on Christians and their property «should be criminalized,» and stressed the need to “stop supporting the financing of these terrorists and arming them,” reported Assyrian International News Agency Thursday.

Attended by the diplomats of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, the meeting was aimed at broaching the present situation facing the region’s Christians, as well as to discuss presidential polls in Lebanon, the Middle Eastern nation with the greatest percentage of Christians.

Present there were Papal Nuncio, Archbishop Gabriele Caccia, Russian Ambassador, Alexander Zasypkin, US Ambassador, David Hale, British Ambassador, Tom Fletcher, the Personal Representative of the UN Secretary-General in Lebanon, Derek Plumbly, and Charge D’affaires of the Embassy of France, Jerome Kochar, and Chinese Charge D’Affaires, Han Jing.

Stressing the need for putting pressure on the financers of these organizations to cut off the sources of terrorism, Patriarchal Vicar, Archbishop Boulos Sayyah, while reading out the meeting’s statement, said, «The international community is also responsible for the growing of ‘Daash’ and Takfiri movements.”

It is very painful to witness the silence of world powers, he said, as the assault on Christians threatens the Christian presence in many countries, such as Egypt, Syria and Iraq.

Calling on the international community to «work hard” to find homes for those now without shelter, to “liberate their properties” and to “protect their rights and security,» the Patriarchs underscored that the towns of Nineveh should be liberated.

For those displaced, they said the international community must help them return to their homes, and for those who haven’t, it must prevent their displacement through international guarantees.

To find a solution to the current ordeal, the Church officials said, means addressing the causes that led to these events in the Middle East.

They stressed the need to stop supporting the financing of terrorists and arming them and called for the rise of the civil state so that the countries of the East would be able to live in peace.

Turning to Lebanon, the Patriarchs also implored all political blocs to separate the issue of presidential polls from the path of regional and international conflicts, and said «the election of the President is a duty prior to taking any decision regarding the forthcoming parliamentary polls.»

In April 2014, a presidential election was held in Lebanon, but since no candidate reached a two-thirds majority in the first round and subsequent rounds failed to produce a quorum, an eleventh round is scheduled for 2 September. The acting president is Tammam Salam, an Independent.

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