Assyrian Confederation of Europe Rejects Brussels Conference
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Brussels (AINA) -- The Assyrian Confederation of Europe, an umbrella organization representing Assyrians in Europe, has issued a statement rejecting the recently concluded conference on the Future of Christians in Iraq, which was held in the European Parliament in Brussels and organized by EU parliamentarian Lars Adaktusson from the Swedish Christian Democratic Party.

Related: Assyrian Groups to Boycott EU Conference on Future of Nineveh Plains
Related: EU Conference on Nineveh Plains Favors Kurds, Marginalizes Assyrians

The final statement from the conference was posted on Lars Adaktusson's website.

Here is the statement of the The Assyrian Confederation of Europe:

The Assyrian Confederation of Europe rejects the approach of Mr. Lars Adaktusson, MEP for the Swedish Christian Democratic Party, regarding the conference he hosted on the premises of the European Parliament in Brussels between 28-30 June 2017 titled "A future for Christians in Iraq; towards a comprehensive solution for the Nineveh Plain".

The Assyrian Confederation of Europe confirms that it was neither notified of the existence of the conference nor invited to it. This amounts to a complete and seemingly intentional exclusion of the biggest Assyrian political body in Europe, representing four national federations, tens of local affiliates and tens of thousands of individual members. The Confederation received an offer to take on a role as one of the sponsors of the conference by paying between €5000-10,000 only when an inquiry was sent to Mr. Adaktusson's office after news of the event reached ACE a few days prior to it commencing, which is itself testament to the level of exclusion the Confederation has faced.

The Assyrian Confederation has also taken note of the intentional exclusion of Assyria TV from the conference. This amounts to the silencing of independent media in the heart of the European Union, an institution which prides itself on the promotion of western democratic values.

While the Confederation, certain media as well as other stakeholders have been kept at bay from the conference, several marginal groups with a clear preference for the Kurdish administration in northern Iraq (and its expansion into the Nineveh Plain) seem to have been involved in all levels of the planning process of the conference from day one.

The agenda driven approach of Mr Adaktusson contradicts his stated role as a neutral facilitator and has led to the boycott of the conference by most significant Iraqi actors, including the Assyrian Democratic Movement, the Abnaa Al-Nahrain political party, the Assyrian Patriotic Party, as well as the Chaldean Catholic Church and the Assyrian Church of the East.

Taken together, the actions of Mr. Adaktusson reveal a clear intention to drive the political discussion on the future of the Nineveh Plain in a direction that fits the openly stated aim of the KRG to annex the area. We are therefore forced to conclude that Mr. Adaktusson's credibility has been severely compromised and that he cannot be trusted with the role he has carved out for himself as a mediator.

The Assyrian Confederation of Europe hereby announces that we will begin to explore the possibility of convening an international conference with relevant actors from Iraq to give voice to the will and demands of the Assyrian people and the communities of the Nineveh Plain, and to make that voice heard among the political circles of the international community.

The Assyrian Confederation of Europe
Brussels, June 30, 2017

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