President of the Universal Syriac Union Party Ibrahim Mrad stresses the importance of co-existence among all ethnic groups in the Middle East

BEIRUT—The first conference of the Lebanese-Kurdish Dialogue was held in Beirut, under the entitle “Towards Co-existence and Equal Citizenship.”

At the invitation of the Lebanese Center for Research and Consultation, Universal Syriac Union Party (USUP), Nowruz Social Cultural Association, Musawah Association and JÎN Women Association, more than 70 delegates attended the conference of the Lebanese-Kurdish Dialogue.

The delegates were from different regions of Lebanon, and from all national, religious and ethnic identities and orientations.

The conference included dialogue sessions on the history of Kurdish-Arab relations and the Kurdish presence in Lebanon, colonial policies and regional interventions, as well as the impact of the mentality and tools of the national state on those relations. Solidarity and unity of destiny in the face of challenges were also touched on.

The conferees statement stressed the importance of holding such conferences in the current situation, amid the conflicts that aim at division in the region.

The conference aimed at producing a constructive dialogue between the various ethnic groups of Lebanon.

The conference pledged to devote a culture of acceptance and recognition of all national, cultural and ethnic identities. It also focused on the importance of dialogue to resolve disputes, and rejected the expansionist Turkish policies in the region.

During the conference, USUP President Ibrahim Mrad delivered a speech on co-existence saying: “One of the most important challenges facing societies is how to deal with cultural, religious and ethnic difference,” indicating that the creating coexistence within one society or among many societies is very important, not only for political decision-makers, but also for all members of society.

“Coexistence lies in respecting the others and recognizing their rights and entity within the one common homeland,” he added.

Mrad stated that the regional and international interventions contribute to spreading chaos.

“During the Ottoman Empire rule, the Syriacs (Arameans-Assyrians-Chaldeans), Armenians, Pontic-Greeks and even Kurds and Arabs have experienced genocides, which are still continuing intensely and violently in Syria and Iraq,” said Mrad. “The Syrian regime also imposed one single nationality and identity, prevented pluralism, languages and cultures, suppressed freedoms and left hundreds of thousands of dead, wounded and displaced.”

He invited the attendees to view the coexistence and brotherhood among the Syriacs, Kurds and Arabs in North and East Syria, through the Democratic Autonomous Administration (DAA) and the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).

Mrad demanded establishing a federal system that preserves Lebanon’s pluralism, especially after the failure of the central system.