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Pence Firms Up Support for Persecuted Assyrians in Meeting With Iraqi Archbishop

Mike Pence met with the Chaldean Archbishop Bashar Matti Warda of Erbil on Monday ahead of his trip to Iraq next month. ( Mike Pence/Twitter)
US Vice President Mike Pence met with Chaldean Archbishop Bashar Matti Warda of Erbil on Monday before a visit to the Middle East next month.

The 'substantial discussion' focused on the needs of persecuted Christians and other religious minorities in Iraq as the prominent archbishop briefed the vice-president ahead of his trip.

Related: Timeline of ISIS in Iraq
Related: Attacks on Assyrians in Syria By ISIS and Other Muslim Groups

'I updated him on the situation facing our people and expressed our hope that peace would soon come to Nineveh,' Warda said of the meeting, according to the Catholic News Agency.

'On behalf of our people, I expressed our gratitude for his promise of swift assistance to our communities who suffered genocide at the hands of ISIS.'

Pence described the meeting as an 'important dialogue' about President Trump's 'commitment to directly assist persecuted Christians and religious minorities in Iraq'.

It comes after Pence promised Pence the US will bypass the United Nations and give aid directly to beleaguered Christian communities in Iraq.

In a snub to the UN's humanitarian programme the US State Department will no longer fund their 'ineffective' relief efforts, Pence said in a speech in October. It will now funnel support straight to faith-based organisations after claims from religious leaders in the Middle East that bilateral aid failed to reach people on the ground.

The decision comes after religious leaders in the region claimed they saw little UN funding.

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