As the humanitarian and military crisis continues in Iraq, European Catholic bishops have issued an appeal to governments to permit more refugees from the country to live in the region - against the backdrop of growing refusals.
"We ask the EU to increase the number of visas for Iraqi refugees in the next two years", they declared at the closing session of a COMECE plenary in Brussels on the theme of 'external action from the EU: challenges and prospects'.
COMCE is the official Catholic organisation working with the European institutions.
In their discussions the Catholic bishops examined the Iraqi situation alongside European cooperation with Africa and the issue of the status of Kosovo, which aspires to independence from Belgrade.
In anticipation of the European Union summit in Lisbon in December 2007, and the possible establishment of a high representative for foreign affairs, the bishops are recommending the establishment of a new unit to be placed "within the future Service for external Relations, which consider, where necessary, the religious dimension of international issues."