Earlier this week, Vice President Mike Pence met with Chaldean Archbishop of Erbil Bashar Warda to discuss how the U.S. can assist recovering Iraqi Christians in the aftermath of ISIS and its attempted genocide.
Following the meeting, the vice president tweeted:
Important dialogue with Bashar Warda, the Archbishop of Erbil, about @POTUS' commitment to directly assist persecuted Christians & religious minorities in Iraq. I’m heading to the Middle East this month to discuss U.S. plans to accelerate funding those impacted in the region.
The Archbishop also discussed their meeting, during which the vice president was introduced to a man who sheltered and aided thousands of Christians forced to flea their homes in the Nineveh Plains and Mosul. In a statement to the media, Warda said it was an “important dialogue.”
"I updated him on the situation facing our people and expressed our hope that peace would soon come to Nineveh," he added. "On behalf of our people, I expressed our gratitude for his promise of swift assistance to our communities who suffered genocide at the hands of ISIS. I also mentioned to the vice president the importance of the aid and support we have received from the Knights of Columbus in the United States, and Aid to the Church in Need in Europe."
Iranian militias have swept into the former Christian villages now abandoned by ISIS, preventing the previous owners from returning. Warda says as many as 20,000 Christian families are in need of assistance to return to their homes.
"I am grateful to the Trump administration. Vice President Pence's remarks last month about helping the communities targeted for genocide was incredibly [heart-warming] for the Christians and Yazidis in Iraq," the archbishop said later. "It marks an important shift because it shows that the American government considers the situation of those who suffer this persecution at the hands of ISIS to be a priority."
He also noted the Iraqi government's air-travel ban on Iraqi Kurdistan has hampered international humanitarian aid efforts to Christians, as well. He said he has been reaching out Baghdad to seek the national government’s help.