France: We are Committed to Christians in Lebanon, Syria, Middle Eastإقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية
The French Foreign Ministry stressed on Monday the importance of the presence of the Christian communities in the East, refuting some Lebanese media reports that French President Nicolas Sarkozy supported the immigration of Christians in the East to Europe in light of the developments in the region.
It said in a statement: “France is committed to the Christian presence in Lebanon, Syria, and the Middle East.”
It reiterated Sarkozy’s statements in January in which he said that Christians have lived in the East for 2,000 years, and therefore it would be unacceptable for this humanitarian, cultural, and spiritual diversity to disappear.
It voiced its confidence in the “central role they play as they have demonstrated their commitment to freedom in the ongoing democratic process in the region.”
Ad Diyar daily had reported last week that Sarkozy had proposed to Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rahi during his visit to France that since the Christian population in Lebanon has dwindled to 1.3 million and 2.5 million in Syria, then why don’t they all immigrate to Europe?
He explained that Europe is capable of harboring them since it accommodated the two million Iraqi Christians who fled the war in their country.
The French president added that given the clash of civilizations in the Middle East, especially between Muslims and Christians, there is no room left for Christians in the East, reported the daily.
Al-Rahi reacted to the suggestion with incredulity, wondering how such a matter could be possible, to which Sarkozy responded by showing him statistics that three million Christians immigrated from Lebanon during the past 20 years.