Washington D.C., Jul 20, 2018 / 14:30 pm
The U.S. State Department is set to host the largest and highest-level global meeting on religious liberty next week. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told EWTN he is prepared to talk with countries with whom the U.S. government has “deep disagreements.”
The Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom will be held on July 24-26 and include foreign ministers, religious leaders, and civil society representatives to discuss concrete ways to combat religious persecution in different parts of the world. A Ministerial is a high-level international gathering of senior-rank government officials and experts.
“It’s truly historic. It’s the first time the State Department has led such a discussion. We’ll have over 80 delegations from countries around the world, many, many religious organizations, NGOs,” Secretary Pompeo told Lauren Ashburn of EWTN News Nightly on Thursday.
During the three-day event, survivors of religious persecution will share their stories, senior U.S. government officials will provide an overview of religious freedom policy goals, and foreign delegations will announce new initiatives to promote freedom of religion.
The State Department announced earlier this week that U.S. Vice President Mike Pence will address attendees on the importance of international religious freedom on July 26.
Ahead of the ministerial, some have criticized Secretary Pompeo’s prior announcement that the event will be a meeting of “like-minded” countries.
“When I said like-minded, I meant those countries that are prepared to begin their walk towards the religious freedom that we have enshrined in our Constitution and that our nation so values and cherishes,” Pompeo told Ashburn.
“I’m sure there’ll be countries here that we have deep disagreements with,” said Pompeo.