Ikväll inleddes konferensen om framtiden för kristna och andra förföljda grupper i norra Irak och på Nineveslätten. Läs gärna mitt välkomstanförande till konferensdeltagarna.
As host of the upcoming conference, as a representative of the Friendship group for Chaldeans/Syriacs/Assyrians, I would like to welcome you all to the European Parliament in Brussels.
Some of you have travelled a long way, others arrive from shorter routes – but here we are, together, with a common commitment.
We are here to make the case for the victims of persecution and genocide.
We are here to take part in an important dialogue, about the necessity for unity, responsibility and political action.
Our objective is crystal clear.
We want to contribute to reconstruction, repatriation and connected to that; a brighter future for the indigenous peoples of Northern Iraq and Nineveh Plains.
Tonight I´m proud to say, that this conference bring together participants from a broad scope of highly relevant actors and stakeholders, when it comes to the subject.
Let me mention the eminent Church leaders; His Holiness of the Syrian Orthodox Church – His Beatitude and His Eminence of the Syrian Catholic Church – and moreover, prominent members of the Chaldean Church the Assyrian Church of the East.
About 40 appreciated friends from Iraq are present.
We have representation for NGOs, regional defence forces and not at least; the political parties – together the politicians represent a majority of the population of Nineveh.
We are also honoured with the participation of representatives of the Iraqi Central Government – as well as the Kurdish Regional Government.
Let me also say that representatives from the United States Congress and State Department are with us – as well as the External Action Service, at the EU Commission.
All in all; together you make up a gathering of outstanding participants, with different perspectives and experiences – which gives our conference the precondition necessary to be successful.
To assist the vulnerable people of Middle East is the right thing to do.
As citizens of Europe, we have a responsibility to act and stretch out a helping hand – at the same time, such help is also in our interest.
Fighting ISIS and radical Islam, confronting evil acts and genocide, is a matter of global security.
But it is also a moral obligation and a political duty.
Not only for Middle East governments – but for the European Union, all its member states and the entire world.
Let me conclude by expressing my gratitude and appreciation to the sponsors of this conference – your generosity is highly appreciated and of great importance.
I would also like to thank my dear colleagues, the MEPs who are co-sponsors.
Your support and backing, as members of the four major party groups, is indispensable – I look forward to your participation as speakers and moderators during the conference.
Finally, thank you all for being here, thank you for your commitment, and again; welcome to the European Parliament and our conference.