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Italian FM urges Iraq protection for Christians

Italian FM urges Iraq protection for Christians

ICC Note

The statement by the Italian Foreign Minister calling for the protection of Christians in Iraq is a welcome development. Italy and other members of the international community must continue to pressure the Iraqi government for the protection of Christian minorities in that country.

11/20/2008 Iraq (AFP)-Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini urged the Iraqi government to protect minorities, namely Christians who have suffered a wave of killings, during a surprise visit to Baghdad on Thursday.

"I thank Hoshyar Zebari for his remarks on the protection of minorities in Iraq , which is very important for Italy ," Frattini said at a joint news conference with the Iraqi foreign minister.

Zebari said earlier that the Iraqi government is "striving to protect our Christian brothers in Mosul and other regions in Iraq ."

More than 2,000 Christian families fled Mosul in October after a wave of killings in Iraq 's third largest city, which US and Iraqi commanders consider the last urban bastion of Al-Qaeda in Iraq .

Since the US-led invasion of 2003, more than 200 Iraqi Christians have been killed across Iraq and a string of churches attacked, with the violence intensifying in recent months, particularly in the north.

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