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Talk won't protect Christians, Paris says

Jan. 6, 2011 at 10:45 AM
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PARIS, Jan. 6 (UPI) -- The time for making statements of concern regarding the Christian community in the Middle East is over, the French foreign minister said.

The Christian community in the Middle East is on edge following a series of attacks in Egypt, Iraq and Nigeria.

The global community has expressed concern over the rise in the number attacks. Egyptian police were ordered to protect Coptic Christians in Egypt as the minority community prepares for Christmas celebrations Friday.

Michele Alliot-Marie, the French minister for foreign and European affairs, told French newspaper 20 Minutes that expressing concern wasn't enough.

"The time for making statements and expressing concern is over," she was quoted as saying. "This is why I'm going to take a number of initiatives with my European colleagues to ensure the protection of Eastern Christians."

She said Paris opened its doors to Iraqi Christians injured in an October attack on a Christian church in Baghdad but added she felt they were letting "their attacker win" by not returning home.

"Nevertheless, if some people consider themselves unsafe, it's reasonable for them to be given asylum," she said.

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