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WikiLeaks: 2008-07-31: 08BAGHDAD2398: Cardinal Delly Meeting with PM Very Positive

by WikiLeaks. 08BAGHDAD2398: July 31, 2008.

Posted: Sunday, September 08, 2013 at 04:24 PM UT


Viewing cable 08BAGHDAD2398, CARDINAL DELLY MEETING WITH PM VERY POSITIVE

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Reference ID Created Classification Origin
08BAGHDAD2398 2008-07-31 14:27 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Baghdad
VZCZCXRO1881
PP RUEHBC RUEHDE RUEHIHL RUEHKUK
DE RUEHGB #2398/01 2131427
ZNY CCCCC ZZH ZDK
P 311427Z JUL 08
FM AMEMBASSY BAGHDAD
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8608
INFO RUCNRAQ/IRAQ COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 BAGHDAD 002398 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/31/2018 
TAGS: KIRF PGOV PHUM PREL IZ
SUBJECT: CARDINAL DELLY MEETING WITH PM VERY POSITIVE 
 
REF: BAGHDAD 2175 
 
BAGHDAD 00002398  001.2 OF 002 
 
 
Classified By: Deputy PolCouns Ellen Germain for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d 
) 
 
1. (C)  SUMMARY:  In a meeting with Cardinal Delly on July 
30, Prime Minister Maliki said the GOI would offer protection 
for Iraqi Christians and would ensure that they live in a 
stable and secure environment.  According to a GOI press 
statement released after the meeting, the GOI will provide 
necessary services to Christians and will help rehabilitate 
churches.  Bishop Wardouni, Delly's assistant, affirmed press 
reports that the PM and Delly agreed to hold a 
multi-religious conference in Baghdad that will include 
different sects and nationalities.  According to Wardouni, 
Delly asked the PM for action on improving peace and 
stability for Christians, increasing job opportunities for 
Christians, and ensuring that Christians are not 
marginalized.  Wardouni and Minister of Human Rights Wijdan 
Salim, who spoke to Delly after the meeting, said that it 
went very well and that Delly was very happy with the PM's 
promises to help the Christian community.  END SUMMARY. 
 
2. (U)  On July 30, Prime Minister Maliki hosted the head of 
the Chaldean Catholic Patriarchate of Babylon, Cardinal 
Emmanuel Delly in a follow-up meeting to the PM's July 25 
meeting with the Pope.  A press statement released after the 
meeting highlighted the GOI's commitment to protecting Iraqi 
Christians, providing essential services, rehabilitating 
churches, and building a stable and secure environment that 
will allow Christians to return and stay in Iraq.  The PM 
also said he would push to hold a religious conference in 
Baghdad that would include religious leaders from around the 
world in order to strengthen a sense of community among 
Iraqis.  Iraqi media reports called this meeting and the PM's 
meeting with the Pope very positive. 
 
3. (C)  According to several sources among the Iraqi 
Christian community, the meeting was very positive.  Bishop 
Wardouni, Delly's assistant, told PolOff that Delly felt 
reassured by the PM's commitment to improving the situation 
of Christians in Iraq.  He thought that this meeting and the 
PM's meeting with the Pope could mark a real turning point 
for Iraqi Christians.  Minister of Human Rights Wijdan Salim, 
who spoke to Delly after the meeting, told PolOff that it 
went very well and that Delly was very happy with the PM. 
Yonadam Kanna, a member of the Council of Representatives and 
a Chaldean Christian, said the reports coming from the 
meeting were optimistic, and he was hopeful that there would 
be real action on improving the situation. 
 
4. (C)  During the meeting, Delly emphasized that action 
needed to be focused on four main points, according to 
Wardouni:  that action needed to be focused on 1) improving 
peace and stability for Christians; 2) increasing job 
opportunities for Christians; 3) ensuring that Christians are 
not marginalized; and 4) reminding Iraqis that Christians 
were the "original Iraqis." 
 
5. (C)  According to Wardouni, Delly brought up several 
issues of concern that needed to be addressed by the PM.  He 
asked the PM to talk to Western and regional governments and 
encourage them not to accept any more Christian refugees. 
Delly is concerned that too many Christians are leaving Iraq, 
and he wants them to stay in the hopes that the security 
situation will continue to improve, and Iraq wil be a safe 
and secure place for Christians. (Note:  Wardouni said the 
Pope raised this exact point with the PM on his earlier trip 
to the Vatican.  End Note.)  Delly told the PM that 
Christians are being fired from their jobs and are having 
trouble finding enough job opportunities.  Additionally, he 
claimed that the Ministry of Education (MoE) is refusing to 
hire Christian teachers, who graduated from Babil college in 
Christian studies, to teach Christianity in schools.  The MoE 
is hiring Christian teachers, but not to teach Christianity. 
Delly said the MoE has been following this practice for a 
year, and it has had an impact on the continuation of 
Christian studies.  Delly discussed the Iraqi law that says 
children under 18 are forced to convert to Islam if their 
parents convert.  (Note:  This issue has been raised by Delly 
previously in a letter to the PM.  End Note.)  Delly also 
lobbied for ensuring Christian representation in the upcoming 
provincial council elections, and asked for a 4-5% quota for 
Christians in each of the provinces.  He complained 
Christians are currently not represented in the provincial 
councils. 
 
6. (U)  COMMENT:  There seems to be progress in increasing 
GOI attention on improving the situation of Christians, 
judging from a recent string of positive meetings and 
statements from the GOI with and about Iraqi Christians. 
Leaders in the Christian community in Baghdad were very 
positive about the Delly-PM meeting and said this was a step 
 
BAGHDAD 00002398  002.3 OF 002 
 
 
in the right direction.  They are hopeful about the GOI's 
statement of action and view the upcoming religious 
conference as a positive message to Iraqi Christians.  END 
COMMENT. 
CROCKER


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