Statement of UN Special Coordinator Derek Plumbly after meeting Christian Patriarchs of the East

27 Aug 2014

Statement of UN Special Coordinator Derek Plumbly after meeting Christian Patriarchs of the East

Bkerke, Lebanon

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

I would like to thank Patriarch El-Rai for inviting
me and my colleagues to Bkerke to meet with him and the other Christian
Patriarchs of the East. The Patriarchs shared with us their concerns about recent
developments, particularly relating to Christian communities in Iraq and in the

I myself and I believe my colleagues too were moved
by what we heard and all of us emphasized in our different ways the importance
of the Christian presence in the Middle East. The Secretary-General of the
United Nations has repeatedly condemned the persecution of Christians and other
minorities by ISIL in Iraq. Security Council members have spoken very clearly
on the subject on 5 and 7 August and last week they unanimously adopted resolution
2170 which targets ISIL and other groups responsible for such atrocities. Security
Council members have also called on the international community to do all it
can to alleviate the suffering of the populations affected and the United
Nations is now undertaking a massive relief operation in Iraq in addition to
the assistance it is providing elsewhere in the region. The Patriarchs had
other suggestions as well. This is not just a humanitarian issue and I know that
I and my colleagues will all be reporting very carefully what they had to say.

I would also like to take this opportunity to
underline, and it is relevant to this, just how important to all of us the
coexistence and unity Lebanon presently enjoys is, and its importance for the
rest of the region, especially at this time. It will not surprise you to know
in this context that we also briefly discussed the issue of the presidency and
the presidential elections. We were here with His Beatitude some time ago and
agreed that a prolonged vacuum in the presidency would be a matter of grave
concern. That was two months ago since we met here. The urgency of this issue
should I think be really obvious to everybody.

Thank you very much.

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