• Switzerland edition
 
Global church group seeks Syria summit
WCC head Olav Fykse Tveit. Photo: Church of Norway

Global church group seeks Syria summit

Published: 20 Sep 2013 12:17 GMT+02:00
Updated: 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
Swiss hail ‘success in failure’ of Scots no vote
No supporters celebrate in Scotland. Photo: Leon Neal/AFP

Swiss hail ‘success in failure’ of Scots no vote

Commentators in Swiss media have called the Scottish no vote “a success in failure” after 55 percent of Scots voted against independence in Thursday’s historic referendum. READ  

Study: landlords prefer Swiss over immigrants
Photo: Metro Centric

Study: landlords prefer Swiss over immigrants

People with Swiss surnames are more likely to find rental accommodation in Switzerland than those with foreign names, according to a new study. READ  

Man shoots son during hunting season day trip
The man was transported to hospital by air ambulance service Rega. Photo: Rega

Man shoots son during hunting season day trip

A man accidentally shot his 22-year-old son during the course of a hunt near Andermatt in the canton of Uri, police reported on Thursday. READ  

Switzerland set for Ebola vaccine clinical trials
WHO Assistant Director General Bruce Aylward holds a report on Ebola at a press conference in Geneva. Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP

Switzerland set for Ebola vaccine clinical trials

Clinical trials of two experimental vaccines against the deadly Ebola virus are due to begin soon in Switzerland, the country's Tropical and Public Health Institute said on Thursday. READ  

Anti-match-fixing treaty signed in Switzerland
Council of Europe chief Thorbjoern Jagland spoke against match-fixing in sport. Photo: Daniel Sannum Lauten/AFP

Anti-match-fixing treaty signed in Switzerland

Sports ministers from across Europe gathered in Switzerland on Thursday to sign a treaty aimed at rooting out the "scourge" of match-fixing and illegal betting in sports. READ  

Swiss creates Google Glass app for medics
The Google Glass app will allow paramedics direct contact with doctors in emergency situations. Photo: Rijans007/Wikimedia Commons

Swiss creates Google Glass app for medics

A doctor in Switzerland has created an app allowing paramedics to use Google Glass to improve the quality and speed of treatment for emergency patients. READ  

Rare Valais sheep feared stolen for meat sale
The Saas sheep has distinctive long, pendulous ears. Photo: ProSpecieRara

Rare Valais sheep feared stolen for meat sale

Police investigating the case of 103 sheep which disappeared from an alpine pasture near Saas-Almagell in the canton of Valais are treating it as theft. READ  

Swift exit for Swiss dream team in Tokyo
Bencic (left) was coached by Hingis' mother. Photo: Toru Yamanaka/AFP

Swift exit for Swiss dream team in Tokyo

Former world number one Martina Hingis and rising star Belinda Bencic ended their first time together as a dream doubles team for Switzerland in the Pan Pacific Open second round on Thursday. READ  

Streaming service Netflix arrives in Switzerland
Programmes can be watched on a range of devices. Photo: Netflix

Streaming service Netflix arrives in Switzerland

Popular US video streaming service Netflix launched in Switzerland on Thursday morning after opening for business in Germany, France and Austria earlier this week. READ  

Czech spoils Bencic's upward rise in Tokyo
Swiss teen Bencic's upward rise beaten back. Photo: Paul Crock/AFP/File

Czech spoils Bencic's upward rise in Tokyo

Seventh-seeded Lucie Safarova battled back to beat wild card Belinda Bencic 3-6, 6-4, 6-2 Wednesday and reach the Pan Pacific tennis tournament quarterfinals, spoiling the Swiss teenager's upward momentum this year. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
National
Swiss football club fires team masseuse over explicit sex video
National
Geneva police arrest easyJet passenger over hand luggage row
Business & Money
Latest forecasts for Swiss economic growth turn less bullish
Sport
Formula One legend Schumacher to continue treatment at Swiss home
National
Former federal planning official calls for nine Swiss cantons
Features
The Local gets the lowdown on mushroom picking in Switzerland
National
Virgin boss Richard Branson's son rescued from peak of Matterhorn
National
Swiss President Didier Burkhalter's commute turns Twitter sensation
Features
High-tech cameras give dizzy view of Eiger's north face (VIDEO)
Politics
Baden municipal council strips 'nude selfies mayor' of duties
Business & Money
Switzerland stays atop competitiveness table for sixth year
National
Federal parliament secretary agrees to step down over nude selfies
Sponsored Article
Car insurance made easy online with St Bernard
National
Swiss residents pick Swedes as ideal European soul mates: survey
National
Zurich officials call project to move prostitutes to 'sex boxes' a success
National
Swiss gays recognized as parents of child born to surrogate mother
Health
Increase in mountain bike accidents keeps Swiss hospitals busy
National
Swiss policeman belatedly honoured for saving Jews from Holocaust
National
'Suicide tourists' to Switzerland double in three years: study
National
Swiss Post SMS scheme gets stamp of approval after pilot project
Business & Money
American tax evasion crackdown hits Swiss private banks' bottom line
Politics
Woman accuses Swiss politician in nude selfies scandal of lying
National
Villagers in Graubünden valley reject hydro plant to protect vultures
Business & Money
Court rules against appellation for absinthe from Neuchâtel valley
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

2,112
jobs available