TIRANA – A crowded room at the panel on the theme "The role of religion and politics" in building peace, at the International Meeting of the Community of Sant'Egidio, in which floor was taken by the Italian Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni, Ignatius Aphrem II, Syrian Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch, Cardinal John Onaiyekan, Archbishop of Abuja and Abraham Skorka, rector of the rabbinic seminary "Marshall Meyer" in Argentina, chaired by the journalist of the Corriere della Sera Antonio Ferrari.
Gentiloni strongly addressed the topical issues of the international panorama, expressing judgments and indicating ways forward.
Integration: "Without the contribution of immigration, our economy today would have serious problems. We must manage migration flows".
European Union: "In the past few weeks we feared that the precious and indispensable construction of Europe, which took over 50 years of work and made our continent grow and ensured peace, could be called into question by the reaction of some Member Countries at the arrival of a few thousand refugees. Fortunately we were able to react and reverse the course of the discussion."
Military intervention and cultural approach: "Someone thought in the past that military force could solve all the problems existing in the areas of crisis. Even today some people believe that the only solution is a direct intervention, but I think that the force alone is useless. Phenomena such as Isis, that only for 2015 will boast a budget of $ 1 billion and control important economic assets, must be addressed with a cultural approach, otherwise it will be very difficult if not impossible the return of minorities in the towns and villages from which they were expelled, frrst of all the Christian communities."
Syria: "For the first time I see some glimmer towards a way out of the difficult situation in Syria. When there was division between pro and anti-Assad we have immediately clarified that for Italy the solution could only be a political initiative. The initiative of Sant'Egidio for a humanitarian truce in Aleppo, the work of Staffan de Mistura, have gone in this direction. The agreement between Iran and US nuclear is ushering in a new climate that is leading to some early, albeit difficult, steps forward."
Syria: "Their role is crucial in conflict resolution: it makes realistic the title of your conference: “Peace is always possible”. Europe must mobilize to defend Christian minorities in countries where they are at risk: their presence in many countries of the Middle East has always been a precious factor of moderation and pluralism."
Religions: In addition to the Europeanisation of the right of asylum, which we have already discussed in recent days, we must implement a package of initiatives that would also include humanitarian corridors and regular entries, with the system of sponsorship", as asked the day before by the Community of Sant'Egidio supported by the leaders of the great religions present at the meeting in Tirana.