Pope backs Iraqi call for its sovereignty to be respected

Jan 25, 2020 – swissinfo.ch

Pope Francis meets Iraqi President Barham Salih at the Vatican, January 25, 2020. Domenico Stinellis/Pool via REUTERS

By Philip Pullella

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) – Pope Francis met Iraq’s president on Saturday and the two agreed that the country’s sovereignty must be respected, following attacks on Iraqi territory this month by the United States and Iran.

President Barham Salih held private talks for about 30 minutes with the pope and then met the Vatican’s two top diplomats, Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin and Archbishop Paul Gallagher, its foreign minister.

The talks “focused on the challenges the country currently faces and on the importance of promoting stability and the reconstruction process, encouraging the path of dialogue and the search for suitable solutions in favour of citizens and with respect for national sovereignty,” a Vatican statement said.

On Jan. 8, Iranian forces fired missiles at two military bases in Iraq housing U.S. troops in retaliation for Washington’s killing of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani in a drone strike a Baghdad airport on Jan. 3.

The Iraqi parliament has passed a resolution ordering the 5,000 U.S. troops stationed in Iraq to leave the country.

Soon after the Iranian attack, Francis urged the United States and Iran to avoid escalation and pursue “dialogue and self-restraint” to avert a wider conflict in the Middle East.
The pope discussed the Middle East with U.S. Vice President Mike Pence on Friday.

The recent tensions in Iraq could make it impossible for Francis to visit the country, which he has said he would like to do this year.

The Vatican said the pope and Salih also discussed “the importance of preserving the historical presence of Christians in the country”.

The Christian presence in Iraq and some other countries in the Middle East has been depleted by wars and conflicts.

Iraq’s several hundred thousand Christians suffered particular hardships when Islamic State controlled large parts of the country, but have recovered freedoms since the jihadists were pushed out.

(Editing by Helen Popper)


4 replies

  1. Yes, the Christian presence has been depleted by wars and conflict. And also because Christians found it much easier than Muslims to find foreign (Western) visas and asylum.

  2. Quote: Christian presence has been depleted by wars and conflict.

    But not by wars and conflict also by prophet Muhammad orders ( hadith ):

    Sahih Muslim 4366—“ I will expel the Jews and Christian from the Arabian Peninsula and will not leave any but Muslim”

    • Difficult to remain polite with Somi: Hadith had nothing to do with recent wars in the Middle East. Ask Washington (or Arlington?) and Jerusalem (or Tel Aviv?) Christians are not being expelled by Muslims (in Iraq for instance) but they do receive favorable reply to their asylum request. Do not forget: I was there…

      • Our huge enemy is Saitan or evil— If evil control our heart or our mind , evil teach us to hate others. So do not let Saitan to influence you, Rafiq—keep loving me and others who has different faith with you!
        I am sorry make you unhappy😔

        Love for all, hatred for none ❤️
        Put in pratice in your life. Rafiq

Leave a Reply