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Iraqi President Supports Assyrian Autonomous Region

President Jalal Talabani said he did not oppose the formation of a Province specifically for Christians in Iraq, warning at the same time not encouraging them to migrate to European countries, according to the Channel France 24, this Wednesday.

Talabani said in an interview with French television channel during his visit to Paris to participate in the Conference of the Socialist International that "there are areas where Christians are the majority in Iraq, and we do not oppose the formation of a province, especially in one of these areas, because local governance is one of the goals of the Iraqi parliament and constitution, which stipulate that Iraq is a federal democratic state."

"We believe that attention should be focused on healing the wounded Christians and to provide humanitarian aid and not to encourage them to leave Iraq for European countries because that is not in their interest nor in the interest of Iraq, and we do not want to displace a dear part of the Iraqi population, especially since the Christians are the indigenous people of Iraq, who lived in Iraq since the advent of Christianity, played a role in civilization and culture of Iraq."

He continued that "the protection of Christians is a sacred duty for the Iraqi government and political forces," adding that "representatives of the Shia Muqtada al-Sadr declared their readiness to form armed teams to help the Christians and protect them."

The head of the Kurdistan region, Massoud Barzani, had said earlier, that its territory is open to receive Christians and provide them with protection following the attacks they have suffered in different parts of Baghdad.

The beginning of this month, houses inhabited by Christians in a number of Baghdad neighborhoods were targeted with explosives and rockets, killing and injuring dozens and causing severe damage in those houses.

These targeted attacks on Christian homes came days after the attack on the Church of Our Lady of Deliverance in Baghdad by gunmen after taking dozens of hostages, but the security forces stormed the Church and managed to free some of them and killed several insurgents. According to security sources, the final outcome of the attack amounted to 58 dead, including five attackers and seven elements of the security services and 75 wounded, including 15 members of the army and the police and the rest civilians and hostages. Al Qaeda has claimed responsibility for breaking into the church, and threatened the Christians in Iraq targeting them again.


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