Chaldean Patriarch Sako meets with Iraqi Minister of Defense to discuss necessity of defending rights of Christians

BAGHDAD — On Sunday, Chaldean Patriarch Mar Louis Raphael Sako paid a visit to Iraqi Defense Minister Thabet Muhammad Saeed al-Abbasi in his office at the Ministry of Defense in Baghdad.

Throughout the meeting, Patriarch Sako congratulated al-Abbasi on his appointment as Minister of Defense, wishing him luck and success in the role, and gave him a painting as a token of appreciation and love on this occasion.

During the meeting, Patriarch Sako and Minister al-Abbasi discussed the current status of the Chaldean–Syriac–Assyrian people in Nineveh Plains and Baghdad. The Patriarch emphasized the necessity of the central government in defending the rights of Christians and other minority communities in the country and preventing abuses against them, especially those committed with the aim of demographic change.

The Patriarch referred to the need to establish mutual respect and national partnership between all Iraqis, emphasizing that Christians are not commodities for politicians to use for their own benefit. He also hinted about dangerous attitudes and abuses committed towards Christians that would damage coexistence and national and social unity.

In the context of their talk, Patriarch Sako mentioned that Christian peoples are loyal to their homeland and the government should take greater action in protecting them. Christians are worried about their future in Iraq, he said, adding that if the situation stays like it currently is, emigration will likely increase.

Minister of Defense al-Abbasi confirmed that he stands in solidarity with Iraq’s Christians and sees the necessity of protecting them from any abuses or decisions that undermine the stability in their towns and villages.