New York City, N.Y., Jul 28, 2017 / 05:04 am
The Middle East needs peace, human rights, and the continued presence of Christians, a Holy See diplomat told the U.N. Security Council Tuesday.
“Christian communities have existed for over two thousand years in that region and have peacefully coexisted with the other communities. The Holy See urges the international community, through the Security Council, not to forget them,” Monsignor Simon Kassas, interim chargé d’affaires of the Holy See’s permanent observer mission to the United Nations, said July 25.
“The Holy See believes that the rule of law, including respect for religious freedom and equality before the law based on the principle of citizenship and regardless of one’s race, ethnic origin or religion, is fundamental toward the achievement and maintenance of the peaceful and fruitful coexistence among individuals, communities and nations in the whole region and beyond,” he continued.
Msgr. Kassas spoke in an intervention during the U.N. Security Council's open debate on “The Situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian Question.”
He voiced the Holy See’s regret at the loss of lives and property in wars and conflict in the Middle East, particularly in Syria, Yemen, and Iraq. In these places “the dramatic humanitarian situation calls for renewed commitment by all to arrive at a political solution to these conflicts.”
The diplomat said Pope Francis “deeply appreciates the tireless efforts of those toiling to find a political solution to the conflict in Syria.”
“He encourages all actors to work toward a Syrian-led political process leading to a peaceful and inclusive transition,” the monsignor said, stressing the benefits of a peaceful settlement that will restore stability, allow for the safe return of refugees and others who are displaced.
Peace in Syria will also create an environment for effective counter-terrorism efforts and maintain “the sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity of the Syrian state.”