Tuesday, January 31, 2017

MIDDLE EAST - Controversial debate on Christians in the Middle East

The condition and the future destiny of the Middle Eastern Christian communities continue to be the focus of different approaches and also geo-political controversy implemented by political leaders of international importance. 

The latest manifestations of this trend concern France and Russia. 

In an extensive interview recently published by the Lebanese daily L'Orient-Le Jour, former French economy minister Emmanuel Macron, an "independent" candidate in the next presidential election of France, rejected the argument that the permanence in power of Syrian President Bashar Assad would represent a "guarantee" for the survival of Christian communities in Syria.

Macron described this argument as a "diplomatic and moral mistake", calling Assad "a bloodthirsty dictator". "I" he added "do not support the idea to put Assad's removal as a precondition, but neither am I complacent toward Assad". 

Macron claimed, among the roles of France, to "ensure that the Eastern Christians interests are defended", but added that "this is in no way linked to Assad". 

Macron's words are a direct response to some statements by Francois Fillon, who emerged victorious from the primary elections to choose the presidential candidate for the center-right in France, who last November, in a debate ahead of the final phase of the primary elections, had presented the permanence in power of Assad as a necessary factor in ensuring the survival of Christian communities in Syria, arguing that if in place of the present Syrian regime "Sunnis come to power, for Christians this means there is a suitcase or coffin".

On Wednesday, January 25 the Foreign minister of Russia Sergey Lavrov expressed his opinion even regarding the geopolitical significance, taking its cue from the plight of Christians in the Middle East. 

Speaking at the 25th edition of the International Christmas Education, being held in Kremlin, Putin’s close collaborator made reference to the alarm and concern caused in the Middle East also from "cruel suffering" and the "deliberate destruction" inflicted on the Christian communities in the region. 

"Unfortunately - added Lavrov - the European Union avoids the discussion on the problems of Christians in the Middle East, putting itself under the infamous mask of 'political correctness'."