In a letter dated 19 July, the President of the French Republic, François Hollande, thanked Gregorios III, Patriarch of Antioch and All the East, of Alexandria and Jerusalem for his good wishes of 15 May last, the day after the French presidential election.

François Hollande expressed his determination to see “France continue to play an active role in promoting peace in the Middle East so crucial to the peoples of the region…I shall also work tirelessly to enable Syria to regain civil peace and for the dreadful current violence to end, and move, I trust, through orderly political transition to democracy supported by the international community.”

He added, “I am convinced that Eastern Christians have their role to play in the changes taking place in the Arab world and that only full and complete citizenship in a state of law will bring them the security and prosperity to which they aspire. In this context, France will ensure that the interests of Christian communities and all minorities are well preserved.”

The President of the French Republic was pleased with the “contribution of Melkite Greek Catholics to [French] national life” and expressed his best wishes for the European Melkite Convention to be held at Aubazine in Corrèze from 1 to 4 November next.

Rabweh, 10 August 2012