On October 29, 2019, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II and their Beatitudes: Syriac Catholic Patriarch of Antioch Mor Ignatius Youssef III Younan, Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch and All the East John X, and Greek-Melkite Catholic Patriarch of Antioch and all the East, Alexandria, and Jerusalem Joseph Absi participated in a press conference held at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Budapest.
His Excellency Mr. Peter Szijarto, Foreign Minister of Hungary, opened the conference with a speech in which he spoke about the responsibility that Hungary took to support the Christian communities in the Middle East to remain in their homeland. He also spoke about the foreign interventions in Syria which affected the internal affairs of the country and gave false hope to the rebels who destroyed the country. He mentioned as well the terrorist organizations who are being fought in Syria, hoping that the international community will join forces in fighting terrorism so that it does not spread into the entire world. His Excellency also spoke about the program that Hungary Helps is providing in support of Christians and thus showing that actions are needed to help the Christians in their own countries overcome the difficulties in order to remain there.
His Excellency State Secretary for Aid of the Persecuted Christians Mr. Tristan Azbej, moderated the press conference and spoke about the compassion of the Hungarian Government and people in support of their persecuted brethren in the Middle East. He described the different programs of Hungary Helps in the Middle East and Africa; these programs are in solidarity with the local churches and aim at promoting the humanitarian assistance to all persecuted parties.
His Holiness thanked their Excellencies Minister Szijarto and State Secretary Azbej for their passionate help and their efforts to help the Christians remain in their countries in the Middle East. He mentioned that countries are mostly interested in the resources of Syria and do not genuinely care about the suffering people. He also expressed his disappointment at the massive fake information promoted in the western media which describe the suffering of Christians from their own perspective and according to their own agenda. His Holiness spoke about the different projects, especially Antioch Syrian University, which the Patriarchate is doing to encourage the youth to stay in their country, and to fulfill the mission of the church to be the light in the midst of the turmoil and darkness.