Lebanese foreign minister welcomed at the WCC
Lebanese government Minister of Foreign Affairs and Emigrants Gebran Bassil was welcomed to the World Council of Churches (WCC) offices on 3 March in Geneva, Switzerland. Bassil met with the WCC general secretary Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit and WCC staff members. The situation of Christians in the Middle East remained the focus of discussions.
In the meeting, Bassil shared concern over violence and conflicts causing a rapid decrease in the number of Christians in the region. “Violence is not an option for us. We are messengers of peace. We do not ask for arms but for peace and reconciliation processes,” said Bassil. “Depriving the Middle East of its indigenous Christian population is a threat to world Christianity,” he added.
The WCC general secretary introduced the WCC and explained how it accompanies peace and reconciliation initiatives in the Middle East and beyond. “Our role is to give Christian witness to the world. We believe peace can only be achieved together with the other,” Tveit said.
“The situation for Christians is related to how the whole region is suffering from war, terrorism and lack of good governance. Their possibility to live safely depends on the efforts for making peace and justice for all – or else the lack of commitment from the big parties allows conflicts to continue,” Tveit added.
Tveit also shared the WCC’s on-going work in the region within the frame work of a “pilgrimage of justice and peace” – a call from the WCC 10th Assembly in Busan.
The foreign minister reaffirmed the willingness of the Lebanese government to contribute to the work of the WCC for peace initiatives in the region.