Patriarch Ignatius Aphrem II Meets the German Minister of Foreign Affairs – Frank-Walter Steinmeier

On November 25, 2014, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II met the German Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr. Frank-Walter Steinmeier in the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Berlin. His Holiness headed a delegation which included their Eminences: Mor Philoxenus Mattias Nayis, Patriarchal Vicar in Germany, Mor Gregorius Malke Urek, Patriarchal Vicar in Adiyaman, Mor Julius Hanna Aydin, Patriarchal Vicar for Foreign Affairs in Germany, Mor Dionysius Jean Kawak, Patriarchal Assistant and Mor Nicodemus Daoud Sharaf, Archbishop of Mosul and Environs, as well as Mor Odisho Oraham, Assyrian Archbishop of Europe. The delegation also included aMr. Johnny Messo, President of the World Council of Arameans, Mr. Daniyel Demir, President of the Council of Arameans in Germany, and Dr. Sharbil Gharib, President of the High Diocesan Council in Germany.

During the meeting, His Holiness thanked the German Minister for Foreign Affairs and the German government for all the efforts that they have done to help Christians in the Middle East. His Holiness also discussed the current situation, especially the living conditions of the displaced people in Northern Iraq who were forced to leave their homes in Mosul and from the villages of the Nineveh Plain. He also presented some suggestions to help Christians remain in their homeland. His Holiness demanded to provide a safe and immediate return for the displaced and assistance in getting back their properties that were taken away from them. He, likewise, offered long term suggestions that reflected the Church’s vision and to secure conditions for the Christian presence in the Middle East.

Moreover, His Holiness presented the case of the abducted archbishops of Aleppo Mor Gregorius Youhanna Ibrahim and Boulos Yaziji. He asked for the intervention of the German minister of Foreign Affairs and the German government to work on their immediate release.

In turn, the German Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr. Frank-Walter Steinmeier expressed the concern of the German government with the intensification of the crisis in the Middle East and its effects on Christians in particular. He also expressed his sympathy with the suffering people in general and Christians in particular. He pointed out that the German government will provide all necessary help and assistance for Christians to remain in their homeland.

His Holiness then met the director of the Human Rights department in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. They discussed the practical steps to be allocated for humanitarian help and aid to the displaced and needy.