Catholicosate of Cilicia
Antelias - Lebanon
On Tuesday 9 September 2014, the International Conference on the Crisis in the Middle East, which is taking place in Washington DC, began its deliberations. Five hundred persons participated, including high-ranking Clergy, U.S. Senators and Congressmen, Deputies, Representatives of Non-Governmental Organizations and the Press.
At the press conference preceding the main conference, His Holiness Aram I made the following statement:
“First we have not come to ask the backing of the United States of America. We have come to inform and present a full picture of the situation in our region.
Second, we have not come to organize opposition against any of the sides in the region. We have come to reflect together and to seek ways to overcome and eradicate terrorism from our societies. Terrorism has many faces and forms in different parts of the world. Terrorism is an insult to human dignity and an evil that religions and nations must actively counter.
Third, it is not true to say that only specific minorities are being persecuted in the Middle East. The current violence is directed against freedom of conscience and basic human rights, and is, by extension, a threat to all humanity. This is a compelling reason for the international community to respond.
Fourth, the current crisis is not due to Christian and Muslim relations. For many centuries the two religions have existed together and continue to co-exist together. Certain groups areexploiting religious teaching for their own cause.”
His Holiness Aram I concluded, “It is because of these concerns that we expect religious and political leaders to adopt a public position and work actively to overcome the current crisis.”