Rome, Jul 26, 2007 / 10:20 am (CNA).- The Iraqi ambassador to the Holy See, Albert Edward Ismail Yelda, said this week Christians in the that country â€œare the seeds of the land of Mesopotamia, and I donâ€™t think there is a force on this earth strong enough to eradicate them.â€
In an interview with the SIR news agency, Yelda spoke of the persecution of Christians in Iraq, â€œwhich the Holy See follows with particular concern.â€ He condemned â€œall of the atrocities committed against Christians in Iraq and other minorities by radical and extremist groups in collusion with and sustained by those who supported the former regime.â€
â€œIslam as a religion is quite distant from these actionsâ€ that â€œseek to create chaos in order to undermine the new governmentâ€™s efforts in the fight against terrorism, extremism and religious radicalism,â€ he stated.
Asked about the idea of creating a Christian enclave in Nineveh, the ambassador noted that â€œno plan exists for a separate zone for Christians. Most Christians in Iraq do not want it. They are spread out all over the country and have lived side by side with Shiites, Sunnis, Arabs, Kurds, Turkmen and other religious minorities. I hope they continue to peacefully coexist in the conservation and exercise of their own constitutional rights,â€ Yelda said.
â€œIn order to have a secure Iraq,â€ he continued, â€œwe must have a reliable security force that guarantees the protection of the borders, preventing terrorists from entering Iraq and killing innocent civilians.â€ In order to accomplish this, the country needs â€œmore help from the international community,â€ greater â€œintelligence operationsâ€ with neighboring countries,â€ as well as â€œcoordination with our government by the multinational forces in Iraq, including US troops, which should inform us of their political and military operations before carrying them out.â€
Referring to relations between Iraq and Iran, Yelda said the two countries should work together â€œin benefit of their peoples.â€ â€œNormal relations between the United States and Iran will have positive repercussions in the political, social and economic aspects of Iraq and the entire region,â€ he added.
A stable and peaceful Iraq will bring stability to the entire Middle East, Yelda emphasized, and will contribute to â€œpromoting the peace process, especially between Arab and Islamic states and the state of Israel,â€ he said.