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Frattini warns of Mideast anti-Christian feeling

Italy 'backs Synod's action to safeguard Christian presence'

19 October, 13:30
Frattini warns of Mideast anti-Christian feeling (ANSA) - Rome, October 19 - Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini on Tuesday warned of a wave of anti-Christian feeling in some Middle Eastern countries and urged Italy's European Union partners to get behind its proposed United Nations resolution safeguarding religious minorities.

Citing a recent US report that said 75 of 100 recent religiously motivated killings had been of Christians, Frattini said Italy's foreign policy saw the promotion of religious freedom as a "fundamental point".

"Anti-Christian feeling is a growing and ever-more concrete risk," he said in Rome city hall, at a conference on the sidelines of a Vatican Synod (meeting) of Middle East bishops.

He stressed that Christian communities in Iraq, Lebanon and several other Arab countries were suffering and "persecuted".

"All countries must remain vigilant on this issue to prevent intolerance," Frattini said.

"Italy agrees with the Synod's action to safeguard the Christian presence in the Holy Land," he added.

The Italian diplomatic chief voiced regret that "not all" EU countries appeared to be supporting the proposed UN resolution on protecting religious minorities which Italy plans to present to the General Assembly before the end of the year.

"I say that with a little sadness," the minister said, voicing the hope that the whole of the EU would rally to the 30 or so countries worldwide who have so far voiced support.

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