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Deputy Foreign Minister I. Amanatidis to Participate in the Madrid Conference on ethnic and religious violence in the Middle East

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

The Deputy Foreign Minister will participate today, Wednesday, 24 May 2017, in the Ministerial “Conference on the victims of ethnic and religious violence in the Middle East,” organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Spain, which will be attended by the Foreign Ministers of Jordan and Iraq, the Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, as well as representatives of the Middle Eastern communities.

Subsequently, Mr. Amanatidis will travel to Malaga, in order to participate in the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Youth Conference, which will take place on 25-26 May 2017, on the subject of “Working with Youth for Youth: Strengthening security and co-operation online.”

During his speech at the “Conference on the victims of ethnic and religious violence in the Middle East”, the Deputy Foreign Minister stated that “The Greek Government is closely monitoring the extreme conditions that the religious and ethnic communities face in the Middle East, and has a legitimate interest, particularly as regards the Christian communities and the Greek Orthodox Patriarchates there, such as that of Antioch.”

Mr. Amanatidis maintained that “Greek diplomacy has, as its primary goal, the restoration of conditions in the zones of conflict so that refugees of every religion and ethnicity may return to their homes safely, with dignity, and with prospects for prosperity,” adding that “the Hellenic Ministry of Foreign Affairs is making concerted efforts on an international level to illustrate the size and breadth of the persecution and humanitarian crisis.

Mr. Amanatidis called attention to the fact that Greece, at the initiative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Minister Kotzias, organized in Athens, in October 2015, the first International Conference on religious and cultural pluralism and peaceful coexistence in the Middle East, attended by prominent religious leaders and officials from Middle Eastern and European countries, and 70 speakers from 45 groups and international organizations. The message of the Conference was the peaceful coexistence of the region’s various faiths.

The Deputy Foreign Minister emphasized that, during the Conference of October 2015, and subsequent to a proposal on the part of Greece, the “Centre for Religious Pluralism” was established in Athens and, from that point forward, has contributed to the productive dialogue between the communities in the region and to the recording of crimes based on religion and culture, with the goal of preventing them. Mr. Amanatidis concluded: “Greece remains active in this crucial issue” and is due to host the second International Conference on the same subject in November 2017, in Athens.

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