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Brussels Conference Addresses State of Iraq’s Christians Post-ISIS Phase | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Iraqi Christian families that have fled the violence in northern Iraq. (AFP)

Baghdad – A number of Christian Iraqi figures and forces will attend a European Union-sponsored conference in Belgium to address the situation of Christians in the northern Nineveh field after the elimination of the ISIS terrorists from the area.

The two-day conference, scheduled for June 28 in Brussels, is opposed by Chaldean Catholic Patriarch Louis Raphael I Sako and the Assyrian Democratic Movement (Zowaa) headed by Yonadam Kanna.

MP Joseph Sliwa told Asharq Al-Awsat that the conference will address the general situation of Christians in Iraq, but will “give priority to Christians in the Nineveh field area.”

The majority of Iraqi Christian factions will attend the conference that will also see the participation of members of the EU and US Congress.

The conference will tackle whether the Nineveh area will be autonomous or part of Iraq’s districts after the elimination of ISIS, explained Sliwa.

In either case, it remains to be seen whether it will adhere to Baghdad or the Kurdistan Region, he continued.

The Christian majority advocates autonomous rule linked to the central government in Baghdad, revealed the MP.

On Sako’s opposition to the conference, Sliwa said that this stance will not affect the Brussels talks “because Iraqi Christians have other patriarchal authorities they can turn to, such as Assyrians and Syriacs”.

The conference will also address the “confiscation of Christian properties throughout Iraq and the unjust laws that were ratified against them,” added the MP.

Christian residents of Nineveh were driven out of their land when ISIS terrorists seized control of the area in 2014.

“The establishment of a secure Christian area in the Nineveh field will help these members of society remain in Iraq,” explained Sliwa.