Statement by Lars Adaktusson on the conference ”A Future for Christians in Iraq”, held in Brussels on June 28-30, 2017.
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During my time as an MEP, one issue has been in the forefront of my work: the survival of the Chaldean/Syriac/Assyrian people and other indigenous groups in Iraq and Syria.
I am proud to having spearheaded resolutions that called for a safe haven (2015), recognized the ISIS genocide (2016) and called for autonomy, within the framework of the Iraqi constitution, for the Nineveh Plain (2016) and the right to return of its inhabitants.
On October 28th, all Chaldean/Syriac/Assyrian parties, including the Assyrian Democratic Movement, signed a letter supporting the above mentioned European Parliament resolution on autonomy for the Nineveh Plain. These parties also asked me to host an international conference on the future of Christians in Iraq, with the aim to highlight possible long term solutions for Northern Iraq and the Nineveh Plain.
I agreed to do so.
And I am very happy that the conference will take place. Around 60 participants are registered, a vast majority of them coming from the Chaldean/Syriac/Assyrian people.
For an office of one single MEP, this is indeed not a small endeavor. Receiving 60 participants from Iraq is quite a big apparatus. Therefore, I am incredibly happy and grateful that organizations and advocate groups have been ready to support this important event by becoming partners or sponsors.
All major Iraqi churches have been invited, and among them are Patriarch Afram Ignatius II and Archbishop Yohanna Petros Mouche of Mosul.
Nine Chaldean/Syriac/Assyrian parties, and all parties with parliamentary representation except for one, will send party presidents and senior representatives.
Senior representation from both the EU and the U.S. is confirmed.
Representatives from the Central Government of Iraq have been invited and reminded about the invitation. The KRG has also been invited and accepted the invitation.
World media is aware that the Chaldean/Syriac/Assyrian people , through their parties, will be in Brussels to make their legitimate demands to be heard.
Finally, I am very grateful for the constructive atmosphere in which the nine attending parties has been working prior to this conference. I am also overwhelmed by the support for my efforts to help Chaldeans/Syriacs/Assyrians secure their right to a future in Beth-Nahrin.
Having been many times to the region during the last three years, I do realize that this is the last call for this indigenous people to remain in their homeland. For me personally, the state to which a future Nineveh Plain will belong is a decision that must be in the hands of the original population of its villages and cities. I will support the will of the people and I encourage anyone who cares about the fate of this people to do the same.
Let me be clear: I have no other agenda than the one expressed by the representatives of the Chaldean/Syriac/Assyrian people. The purpose of this conference is the return of the people to the Nineveh Plain, and I call upon all Chaldeans/Syriacs/Assyrians to come together to ensure that their people can return home.