2018-03-02 00:00:00

Russia seriously concerned about Christians' persecution in Middle East - Russian deputy FM

Moscow, March 1, Interfax - Russia is seriously concerned about Christians' situation in the Middle East, especially in Syria and Iraq, Russia's Special Presidential Representative for the Middle East and Africa and Deputy Foreign Minister, Mikhail Bogdanov, said on Thursday.

"The tragic situation in which Middle Eastern Christians have ended up causes serious concern in Russia," Bogdanov said at a conference hosted by the Imperial Palestinian Orthodox Society.

"The most complicated situation is seen in Syria and Iraq, where terrorists killed and ousted tens of thousands of Christians from their native land in the years of war," Bogdanov said.

"The situation of Christian communities in Egypt, where the Coptic Orthodox Church is being persecuted by Islamic fundamentalists, has dramatically worsened," Bogdanov said.

Despite the fact that a substantial part of the Iraqi territory where Christians have historically lived has been liberated from terrorists, "the situation is still unstable" in that country, he said.

At the same time, successful actions undertaken by the Syrian governmental forces and backed by Russia promoted efforts to create conditions for the return of local Christians.

"Thanks to successful actions carried out by the Syrian governmental forces and supported by the Russian Aerospace Forces, and after the de-escalation areas were set up in Syria at Russia's initiative, conditions were created for the return of Christian residents to their places of permanent residence and inter-social ties were established," the Russian deputy foreign minister said.

"We are continuing efforts to protect the interests of Christian residents in Middle Eastern regions at various international venues, including the UN Human Rights Council, the OSCE, and as part of other multilateral human rights mechanisms," Bogdanov said.