A statement from churches around the world, urging an end to the armed conflict in Syria, has been presented to Lakhdar Brahimi, the United Nations-Arab League joint representative for Syria.
The presentation, ahead of the Geneva 2 talks scheduled to take place on 22 January 2014, was made by the World Council of Churches' (WCC) General Secretary, the Rev Dr Olav Fykse Tveit in Geneva on Monady 20 January.
The meeting with Brahimi and Tveit was a follow up to a WCC sponsored meeting on Syria last week attended by Brahimi. At the WCC meeting, Brahimi agreed to deliver the statement to the parties involved in the Geneva 2 talks, as a contribution from the churches.
The WCC statement on Syria stresses the need for “immediate cessation of all armed confrontation and hostility within Syria”, ensuring that “all vulnerable communities in Syria and refugees in neighbouring countries receive appropriate humanitarian assistance” and that “a comprehensive and inclusive process toward establishing a just peace and rebuilding Syria” should be developed.
Dr Tveit, in his conversation with Brahimi, mentioned the “immense support the statement has received from the WCC member churches, as well as other Christian and ecumenical organisations around the world, including the World Evangelical Alliance”.
Despite the challenges Geneva 2 talks are facing, Tveit said that he still “sees hope for peace and cessation of conflict” concerning which “the churches will continue with their efforts in every way possible to make a concrete contribution towards a process for peace and justice in Syria.”
In his conversation with the WCC General Secretary and the WCC programme executive for the special focus on the Middle East, Michel Nseir, Brahimi assured them of a continued process of cooperation between the churches and the UN in efforts towards peace in Syria.
The announcement came before the latest wrangling over Iranian participation in the crucial talks.
* Statement to Geneva 2 talks from the WCC Ecumenical Consultation on Syria: http://www.oikoumene.org/en/resources/documents/wcc-programmes/public-wi...
* More about Syria on Ekklesia: http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/syria