Spokesperson of Coptic Solidarity, Mr Magdi Khalil
Washington - Arab Today
Mr Magdi Khalil, spokesperson of Coptic Solidarity and Co-Secretary General of the Middle East Christian Committee MECHRIC said "the idea of a Presidential envoy to the Middle east minorities is not one that came from Mr Toufic Baaklini or from his group, and the initiative that went to Congress has nothing to do with the newly formed group IDC." Khalil was responding to Baaklini's interview with Radio Lubnan Hur and Markazia agency in Lebanon on 5th of September 2014 where the IDC spokesperson claimed he and his group were the authors of the idea and bill establishing a new Presidential envoy to address the Christian and other minorities in the Middle East. Khalil said "the idea was first advanced by Dr Walid Phares years ago, and the first time in the US Senate in 2000 at a meeting sponsored by Senator Sam Brownback. In 2010 we decided to re-launch the initiative and immediately after the bombings of the Church of the Two Saints in Alexandria in January 2011, we took it to the Tom Lantos committee in Congress and Congressman Frank Wolfe adopted the idea during a hearing on the massacres in Egypt. The bill was blocked at the US Senate. And for two years Coptic Solidarity, the members of MECHRIC and their NGO and foundation allies left no effort to pressure the Senate until the Congress has fully agreed."
Khalil added that Coptic Solidarity and MECHRIC used all channels and developed all programs to convince the US Congress and the European Parliament to move forward in the defense of Middle East minorities. "We were behind hearing sessions in Congress and the European Parliament, we organized six international conferences in Washington and Brussels and more than 20 demonstrations in front of the White House in the last three years, in addition to press conferences and meetings on both sides of the Atlantic. We have participated in the popular mobilization against ISIS and were among the first NGOs to take to the streets against the Jihadists. And we continue to work with our Iraqi, Syrian, Iranian, Turkish, Armenian and Coptic partners to issue a UN Security Council resolution to create the mechanisms to protect these native populations on their ancestral lands."
Khalil said the coalition of NGOs behind this tremendous work for years includes Assyrians, Chaldeans, Syriacs, Maronites, Copts and Arab Christians as well. "We gratify those who have worked hard and condemn those who are in the business of stealing the work of these courageous NGOs"