• Switzerland's news in English
 

Global church group seeks Syria summit

Published: 20 Sep 2013 12:17 GMT+02:00

"We plan to have parallel consultations when the Geneva II meeting happens, so we can mobilize both Church leaders and other religious leaders for a commitment to a peace process in Syria," WCC head Olav Fyske Tveit told reporters on Thursday.
   
Asked whether he aimed to get Muslim clerics from inside Syria on board, he replied: "We'll see what's possible. But of course we'll invite them, and other major Muslim partners, who come from the opposition of course, but also from neighbouring countries."
   
The so-called Geneva II negotiations are meant to be based on talks in the Swiss city in June 2012, where world powers called for a Syrian transition government.
   
But the warring sides failed to agree on whether President Bashar al-Assad could play a role, and amid spiralling fighting the plan stalled.
   
In a renewed effort to hold Geneva II, UN-Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi is to meet US Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on September 28th.
   
Moves for a parallel faith summit followed talks among Church leaders, including from Syria, at a closed-door WCC meeting Wednesday attended by Brahimi.
   
Christians and Muslims have lived peacefully together in Syria for centuries, but fears are mounting for Christians as ultra-Islamists gain clout among the rebels fighting Assad.
   
The Christian community generally has been well-treated in the four decades since the Assad family — of the Alawite minority, a branch of Shia Islam — came to power.
   
That has fuelled claims by some Assad opponents that Christians support him as a group, making them targets, while he paints himself as a shield against militant Islam.
   
Syria's conflict erupted after a crackdown on anti-regime protests in March 2011.
   
It morphed into a sectarian war — Sunni Muslims dominate the rebel camp — which has claimed over 100,000 lives, driven two million refugees from the country, and displaced millions more within Syria.
   
"All communities in Syria have a certain fear, not only the Christians, a fear for the future," said Michel Nseir, head of the WCC's Middle East programme.

"Christians, as everybody else, are victims of this war."
   
The WCC groups 345 denominations — except Roman Catholics — representing a global congregation of 560 million.

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Geneva issues cloud positive HSBC results
Photo: AFP

Geneva issues cloud positive HSBC results

Scandal-hit global bank HSBC on Tuesday posted rising quarterly profits, but added regulators have requested more information about its controversial Geneva-based private bank. READ  

Swiss rank 13th among best places for mums
Photo: Save the Children

Swiss rank 13th among best places for mums

Despite its wealth, Switzerland ranks behind Scandinavian and other European countries among the world's best places to be a mother, according to an annual scorecard from Save the Children International. READ  

More rain renews flood and landslide risks
Photo: Commune de St. Gingolphe /Facebook

More rain renews flood and landslide risks

UPDATED: Many parts of western Switzerland remained on alert as weather forecasters called for additional rain on Tuesday, heightening the risk of more flooding and transportation disruptions. READ  

UBS's healthy Q1 profit exceeds forecasts
Photo: UBS

UBS's healthy Q1 profit exceeds forecasts

UBS, Switzerland’s largest bank, on Tuesday reported higher than expected profits for the first quarter of 2015 of almost two billion francs, virtually twice as high as the same period a year earlier. READ  

Weather delays Pacific leg of solar plane's flight
Pilot André Borschberg: 'inner voyage'. Photo: Solar Impulse

Weather delays Pacific leg of solar plane's flight

The Swiss pilot who will attempt a record flight over the Pacific in a solar-powered plane played down the risks on Monday, describing the mission as a journey of self-discovery. READ  

Frenchman dies in cliff fall while taking photos
Photo: Graubünden cantonal police

Frenchman dies in cliff fall while taking photos

Police on Monday said they have launched an investigation into the death of a 25-year-old Frenchman who fell from a cliff while snapping nature photos in the canton of Graubünden. READ  

Federer gains confidence before French Open
Photo: Ozan Kose/AFP

Federer gains confidence before French Open

Roger Federer said winning an 85th career title at the Istanbul Open tennis tournament had given him a boost in confidence on clay ahead of the French Open later this month. READ  

Torrential rain swells Swiss rivers and lakes
Photo: Monthey municipal police

Torrential rain swells Swiss rivers and lakes

Parts of Western Switzerland continued on Sunday to clear up debris from flash floods triggered by heavy rain over the weekend that swelled rivers and lakes well beyond their normal banks, disrupting transport and prompting the evacuation of residents in two communities. READ  

Swiss train passengers evacuated after landslide
SBB Intercity train. Photo: SBB

Swiss train passengers evacuated after landslide

Five hundred passengers from an Swiss Federal Railways (SBB) train were evacuated on Sunday afternoon after a landslide in the canton of Fribourg cut rail traffic between Bern and Lausanne. READ  

'Imperious' Federer wins 85th title in Istanbul
Photo: AFP

'Imperious' Federer wins 85th title in Istanbul

Switzerland's Roger Federer on Sunday won the Istanbul Open with a superb display of clay court tennis to defeat Pablo Cuevas of Uruguay in straight sets. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Travel
Switzerland's trains again ranked best for performance in Europe
National
Ten percent of Swiss farmers fail to meet government regulations
National
Municipality of Zermatt bans taking selfies with Saint Bernard dogs
Business & Money
Salt (formerly Orange) aims to shake up Switzerland's mobile market
National
Switzerland tops 2015 world 'happiness index' developed by UN
National
French president Hollande basks in good vibes from first Swiss visit
National
New book: Swiss architect Le Corbusier was 'out-and-out fascist'
Features
Tasty street food catches on in biggest Swiss cities
Sport
Invasion of frogs forces early end to Zurich football game
National
New ranking downgrades the 'power' of Switzerland's passport
Features
Swiss hotel management schools serve up 'world best' recipe
National
Segways win approval for operation on Swiss bicycle lanes
National
Joan Baez and Sting in lineup for this summer's Paléo music festival
National
Second CERN club skier dies from avalanche in Valais Alps
Sport
Lausanne and IOC celebrate a century of Olympism
National
Bern waters down criteria for beer that can be labelled ‘Swiss’
National
Internet giant Google named most attractive employer in Switzerland
National
VIDEO: Swiss television satire clip ridicules Americans on ski slopes
National
Immigration remains top election issue for Swiss voters: opinion poll
National
Environmental bureau ranks Zurich first among Europe's 'sootfree cities'
National
Zurich crane-climbing stunt by teenager flags 'roofer' concerns
Education
THE ranks EPFL among seven 'fastest rising young universities'
Features
Mobility takes off as young urban Swiss catch the car-sharing bug
Business & Money
Ethical Coffee Company aims to beat Nespresso in home market
National
Use of temporary staffing continues to rise in Switzerland
Features
Six steps for expats to get along better with the Swiss
National
Swiss foreign affairs minister touted as candidate for top UN job
National
One of Switzerland's most celebrated artists dies in Lucerne at 106
Business & Money
Swiss luxury brand Tag Heuer announces plans for smartwatch
National
Valais lights up 13 mountain peaks for 200th anniversary
Business & Money
Switzerland to avoid recession this year: Credit Suisse forecast
Business & Money
Europe's tallest hotel pitched for Swiss mountain village
National
Exlusive interview: surviving Swiss cousin remembers Anne Frank
National
New Credit Suisse chief executive 'offers hope for Africans'
Business & Money
American expat to make way for African as Credit Suisse CEO
Features
Top tips to help you find an apartment in Switzerland
National
Rising Swiss gender pay gap above European Union average
National
Political deal reached to enact Swiss holiday home restrictions
National
Optimism drives this year's Geneva International Motor show
National
Robust Swiss economy beats forecasts for 2014: government
Sport
Federer scores upset win against Djokovic for seventh Dubai title
National
Swiss train in collision near Zurich ignored stop signal: SBB
Technology
Switzerland best in world for per capita European patent filings
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

4,777
jobs available
?>