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NCC delegation meets with Mid East Christians
who suffer in the region's endless conflicts

New York, October 19, 2006 A National Council of Churches delegation headed by NCC President Michael Livingston has returned from a journey to Beirut where they brought a message of support to the Middle East Council of Churches (MECC) and met with Lebanese President Emile Lahoud, a Maronite Christian.

The NCC delegation will report on their experiences to the NCC General Assembly's annual meeting November 5-9 in Orlando, Fla.

The NCC visit to Lebanon followed correspondence between Dr. Antonios Kireopoulos, associate general secretary of the NCC for International Affairs and Peace, and MECC General Secretary Mr. Guirgis Saleh. The purpose of their discussions was to identify ways U.S. church leaders can express solidarity and offer support to their fellow Christians in the Middle East.

Just prior to the delegat5ion's departure on October 9, Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP), of which the NCC is a part, is supporting the International Crisis Group's global advocacy initiative designed to generate new political momentum for a comprehensive Middle East peace agreement. 

Prior to the delegations' visits, an International Crisis Group that includes
Jimmy Carter, Lee Hamilton, Zbigniew Brzezinski, George Soros and Thomas Pickering, published a statement by global leaders calling for action, "Towards a Comprehensive Settlement of the Arab-Israeli Conflict." The stratement appeared October 4 in a full page ad in The New York Times.

The statement was signed by 135 respected global leaders former presidents, prime ministers, foreign and defense ministers, congressional leaders and heads of international organizations.  U.S. signers included

The International Crisis Group also issued a new report, "The Arab-Israeli Conflict: To Reach a Lasting Peace".  It says in part, "...the Lebanon war must serve as a wake-up call: so long as the political roots of the Arab-Israeli conflict are not addressed, it will remain a bottomless source and pretext for repression, radicalization and bloodletting, both in the region and beyond. Now is the time for an international push to launch a new peace initiative."

CMEP is encouraging members of churches to study the document and statement from the International Crisis Group as a basis for discussion.

Formed in 1984, Churches for Middle East Peace is a Washington-based program of the Alliance of Baptists, American Friends Service Committee, Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese of America, Armenian Orthodox Church, Catholic Conference of Major Superiors of Men's Institutes, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), and Church of the Brethren

Also, Church World Service, Episcopal Church, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Franciscan Friars OFM (English Speaking Conference, JPIC Council), Friends Committee on National Legislation, Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, Maryknoll Missioners, Mennonite Central Committee.

Also, the National Council of Churches USA, Presbyterian Church (USA), Reformed Church in America, Unitarian Universalist Association, United Church of Christ, and the United Methodist Church (GBCS & GBGM).


Contact NCC News: Rev. Daniel Webster, 212-870-2252, NCCnews@ncccusa.org

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