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Statement from the President Bishop of the Episcopal Church of Jerusalem and the Middle East

Posted on: March 21, 2003 12:45 PM
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Statement from the President Bishop of the Episcopal Church of Jerusalem and the Middle East and Bishop of Cyprus and the Gulf

Together with countless people around the World, we in the Middle East have been urging that war is not the solution to the situation in Iraq. Our hearts are deeply saddened, therefore, that war has broken out. The concern of people throughout this region now is for a swift resolution of this conflict with minimal damage and loss of life.

We shall continue to pray for all persons in any way caught up in this conflict. Among them, especially, we remember all the people of Iraq, the citizens of surrounding countries and those who live among them, and the service men and women and their families as they fulfil the duty laid upon them.

We are deeply concerned that this should not be seen as a conflict between Christians and Muslims. We live and work with one another in many areas of society and pledge ourselves to do all in our power to combat the forces which would seek to polarise our faiths.

We urge the world's leaders, and especially those of the United States of America and the United Kingdom, to commit themselves wholeheartedly to the building up of Iraq and the establishment of a just society. If this is to have any credibility, and a ring of justice, there must be a serious tackling of the tragic issue of Israel and Palestine. The establishment of two States, already agreed in principle, must be pursued immediately. This is a fundamental concern of people throughout the Middle East, no matter what their nationality.

The Most Revd Clive Handford