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Advisor to Iraqi PM Meets With Assyrians of Australia
Assyrian Universal Alliance
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On Sunday, November 14, 2010, the Assyrian community in Australia welcomed Mr. Georgis Bakoos, a special political adviser to the Hon. Nuri al-Maliki, the Prime Minister of Iraq. Mr. Bakoos was on official visit to Canberra, Melbourne and Sydney for talks and meetings with the Australian government. The Assyrian Universal Alliance - Australia Chapter welcomed Mr. Bakoos and per his request prepared a special program on Sunday, where he attended the morning mass conducted by His Beatitude Mar Meelis Zaia, the Metropolitan of the Assyrian Church of the East for Australia, New Zealand and Lebanon, at the St. Hurmizd Cathedral in Sydney. Following the mass, Mr. Bakoos participated in a breakfast with his Beatitude Mar Meelis Zaia which was attended by representatives of the Assyrian Universal Alliance and the Assyrian organisations in Sydney. On the same day, the Assyrian Universal Alliance - Australia Chapter organised an open public gathering at the Assyrian Social Center auditorium (formerly known as the Nineveh Club), inviting representatives of all local Assyrian organisations and political parties. Mr. Bakoos provided a brief synopsis of the political situation in Iraq, and addressed the continued attacks against our Christian Assyrian community. Prior to the public gathering, Mr. Bakoos met privately for an hour with Assyrian leaders in Sydney, H. E. Archbishop Mar Yako Daniel who was accompanied by Fr. Benyamin Shlimon and Fr. Joseph Joseph, Councilor Anwar Khoshaba, Deputy Mayor of Fairfield City and Dr. Majid, representative of Iraq's State of Law party in Australia. Mr. David Mikhail David, Vice President of the Assyrian Australian National Federation welcomed all guests and attendees followed by Mr. Hermiz Shahen, the Regional Secretary of the AUA Australia and New Zealand also welcomed the guests and congratulated the Iraqi delegation on the reappointment of Hon. Nuri al-Maliki to the position of Prime Minister of Iraq. He remarked about the everyday tragedies and injustices committed against the people of Iraq in general and the Christian Assyrian people in particular. He pointed out that the AUA strongly condemns the barbaric attack on the Our Lady of Salvation Syriac Catholic Church in Baghdad on October 31, 2010 which claimed the lives of numerous innocent Assyrian parishioners, priests, and Iraqi security forces. He added that our Assyrian people in Iraq are facing a war of genocide orchestrated by the extremist fundamentalist groups. This undertaking, disguised by the chaos caused by the war, has led to the dwindling of the number of Christians in Iraq to less than half their population prior to 2003. Christian refugees fleeing from oppression speak wistfully about the heinous crimes, killings, kidnappings, rape and threats of violence and suffering faced by their own people every day. At the conclusion of his speech, Mr. Shahen asked Mr. Bakoos to carry a message on behalf of the Assyrian political parties and institutions in Sydney to Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki. He handed Mr. Bakoos a formal letter in which the Assyrian leaders in Sydney request that Hon. al-Maliki intervene urgently on behalf of the Assyrians and address their future in Iraq. Then, Mr. Shahen introduced Mr. Georgis Bakoos and invited him to share his thoughts with the audience. Mr. Bakoos briefed the audience about the reason behind his visit to Australia and explained in detail the situation in Iraq. He praised the Iraqi government and its security forces for chasing murderers and criminals of al-Qaeda and others who terrorize and attack innocent citizens and their property in Iraq. He provided a brief report about the general political situation in Iraq and shared his thoughts on the recent sad incidents and attacks against our people in the country. At the end of his speech, Mr. Bakoos answered with open mind all the questions asked of him by the audience. Prior to Mr. Bakoos' arrival, the AUA - Australia Chapter had called a special meeting between all Assyrian organisations and political parties in Sydney to consolidate the position of the Assyrian community on the ongoing attacks carried out against Assyrians in Iraq. The outcome of the meetings resulted in unifying the stance of the majority of these organisations and institutions who had jointly drafted the formal letter addressed to Iraq's Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki.

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