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On 26 February 2015, Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk met with Mr. Yonadam Kanna, a deputy of the Iraqi Parliament and leader of the Assyrian Democratic Movement. He is one of the five Christians – members of the Council of Representatives of Iraq, the lower chamber of the National Assembly.

Taking part in the meeting that was held at the Department for External Church Relations were Metropolitan Nifon of Philippopolis, representative of the Patriarch of Antioch and All the East to the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia; Mr. Ashur Eskrya and Mr. Fareed Yaqoob Elya, members of the Central Committee of the Assyrian Democratic Movement; hieromonk Stefan (Igumnov), DECR secretary for inter-Christian relations; and Mr. Ilya Kashitsyn, a DECR staff member.

Discussed at the meeting were crisis in Iraq and the situation of the religious and ethnic minorities of the country because of the Islamic State militants’ actions.

Deputy Kanna noted that the tragedy of Christians in the Valley of Nineveh demands that the world community intervenes immediately. Christians of Iraq want to live in their homeland and need real assistance and protection of their rights rather than any calls to leave the country and move to the more safe regions. He highly appreciated the part played by Russia in peace processes in the modern world and said that Christians in the Middle East are hopeful of Russia.

Metropolitan Hilarion recounted efforts made by the Russian Orthodox Church in defence of Christians in the Middle East, including humanitarian aid, and added with confidence that the aid will continue.