BEIRUT–Closely following the latest developmen’s in Iraq and the effects of the probable war–especially on Iraq’s Christian communities–His Holiness Catholicos Aram I undertook the following steps:
– Established permanent dialogue with the General Secretary of the World Council of Churches (WCC)–discussing the organization’s anti-war communications as well as humanitarian assistance the WCC will provide to the people of Iraq in the event of the likely war. The WCC has undertaken vast international efforts on the two issues. In case of war–the center to provide humanitarian assistance will be in Amman–Jordan under the sponsorship of the WCC–with the assistance of the Middle East Council of Churches and interfaith organizations. Humanitarian assistance will be offered–without discrimination–to both Muslims and Christians.
– Established dialogue with the General Secretary of Middle East Council of Churches to discuss a possible meeting of Middle East church leaders and the issuing of a joint declaration–as well as participation in providing humanitarian aid.
– Despite communication problems–His Holiness managed to contact the Prelacy in Baghdad to inquire about difficulties of local Armenia’s. Aram I promised to do his utmost to ensure that those Armenia’s in need would benefit from the available humanitarian assistance.
– His Holiness spoke with the Patriarchal Vicar in Jordan Archbishop Vahan Topalian–and was generally informed about the situation in the country and specifically about the well being of the Armenian community. His Holiness asked the Archbishop to pay special attention to the humanitarian assistance provided in Amman–ensuring that the Armenian refugees from Iraq benefit.
– His Holiness contacted the Catholicosal Vicar Diocese of Kuwait and The United Arab Emirates Archbishop Gorun Babian. Having recently held a meeting of delegates headed by Archbishop Babian–the Diocese has made it priority to consistently follow developmen’s. The offices of the Diocese will continually remain open and operations will proceed normally.
– His Holiness also spoke with the Prelate of the Diocese of Tehran Bishop Sebouh Sarkissian. Based on fears that huge waives of refugees will flee to Iran in case of war in Iraq–Aram I urged the Bishop to focus particularly on Armenian refugees. He informed Bishop Sarkissian of his ongoing dialogue with Diocesan bodies and intent to take all necessary steps.