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Cablegate: Vatican Holds Firm On Adding Christian Reference

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS VATICAN 004517

SIPDIS


SENSITIVE

DEPT. FOR EUR/WE (LEVIN); EUR/OHI (BRAUM); NEA/IAI; EUR/RPM
(TROUTMAN)

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PHUM SOCI KIRF IS NL PHUM SOCI KIRF IS NL VT OSCE VTPREL OSCE
SUBJECT: VATICAN HOLDS FIRM ON ADDING CHRISTIAN REFERENCE
TO OSCE PERSONAL REP'S TITLE

REFS: A) State 249144; B) Vatican 4441; C) MartinBrooks
11/26 telcons

-------
SUMMARY
-------

1. (SBU) Holy See Deputy Foreign Minister Pietro Parolin
told the Ambassador November 26 that the Vatican intended
to continue pressing to add a reference to Christianity in
the title of the proposed OSCE Special Representative on
Tolerance and Combating Racism, Xenophobia, and
Discrimination. Ambassador delivered ref (a) points,
emphasizing that including anti-Christian discrimination in
the representative's mandate would ensure sufficient
attention to the problem. Parolin and OSCE Director
Balestrero, however, affirmed the Vatican's support for a
title with "a Particular Focus on Discriminationagainst
Christians," rejecting even the possiQility of a title
"Including Discrimination ag!inst Christians." Although
Parolin said the Vatican "would always consider all
proposals," the Holy See feels that this is an issue on
which it has to remain firm. End Summary.

------------
Holy See:essary
----------------

2. (SBU) Holy See DepQnsignor Pietro
Parol November 26 to reite2ination to press for al @o adamant during the
meet would not accept anything
to a "Particular Focus nst
Christians" in the Parolin and
Balester`d in ref (b), stressingy the serious nature of anti-Semitic
and anti-Islamic problems in the OSCE region, only that
there needed to be a focus on anti-Christian issues as
well.

-------------------------------
Ambassador Presses USG Position
-------------------------------

3. (SBU) The Ambassador emphasized the points in ref (a),
noting that adding Christianity to the representative's
title could open the floodgates to group after group
wanting similar inclusion. This could water down or render
ineffective the entire endeavor, he said. The Ambassador
pointed out that even if other groups did not jump on
board, adding Christianity to the representative's title
would imply that there are only three religions in the
region deserving of OSCE attention, to say nothing of other
non-religious groups. Including a reference to anti-
Christian discrimination in the representative's mandate,
the Ambassador concluded, would ensure that the problem
receives appropriate attention.

-------------------
Vatican Unrelenting
-------------------

4. (SBU) Parolin and Balestero remained firm on their
points, with Balestrero becoming animated when speaking
about the issue of balance and fairness. There are some
smaller groups that could complain about not being included
in the representative's title, Balestrero said. "But we're
talking about Europe," where Christians make up a great
percentage of the population. "If you're going to leave
out a group that is facing discrimination, how can it be
Christians," he asked. Balestrero noted that the Holy See
remained in the background on many OSCE issues, realizing
that on defense matters, for example, other delegations had
more expertise r greater equities than the Vatican. But
he insisted that the Holy See had to assert itself on a
religious and human rights issue such as this. Otherwise,
he implied, what was the point of its OSCE membership?

-------------------------
Searching for Flexibility


-------------------------

5. (SBU) While making clear that he was not negotiating
the proposal's wording, the Ambassador probed the Holy
See's flexibility on the issue, asking if, for example, the
Vatican would accept a title "Including Discrimination
against Christians." Balestrero flatly rejected the idea.
Parolin, while initially backing up his colleague's view,
added that the Holy See "would, of course, consider all
proposals."

-------
Comment
-------

6. (SBU) The Holy See appeared unaware on the 26th of the
possibility of EU movement in its direction as discussed
with OSCE Vienna (ref c). We expect that the Vatican would
become further emboldened if it saw support for its
position growing within the EU. The fact that the normally
reticent Vatican is pressing this issue so vigorously
reflects the depth of its concern about what it perceives
to be growing anti-Christian discrimination in Europe, as
reflected in recent events including the rejection by the
EU parliament of the Italian candidate for the EU
Commission (ref b).

Nicholson


NOTE: SVC FOR GARBLED TEXT IN PARA 2.
NNNN

UNCLAS VATICAN 004517

SIPDIS


SENSITIVE

DEPT. FOR EUR/WE (LEVIN); EUR/OHI (BRAUM); NEA/IAI; EUR/RPM
(TROUTMAN)

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PHUM SOCI KIRF IS NL PHUM SOCI KIRF IS NL VT OSCE VTPREL OSCE
SUBJECT: VATICAN HOLDS FIRM ON ADDING CHRISTIAN REFERENCE
TO OSCE PERSONAL REP'S TITLE

REFS: A) State 249144; B) Vatican 4441; C) MartinBrooks
11/26 telcons

-------
SUMMARY
-------

1. (SBU) Holy See Deputy Foreign Minister Pietro Parolin
told the Ambassador November 26 that the Vatican intended
to continue pressing to add a reference to Christianity in
the title of the proposed OSCE Special Representative on
Tolerance and Combating Racism, Xenophobia, and
Discrimination. Ambassador delivered ref (a) points,
emphasizing that including anti-Christian discrimination in
the representative's mandate would ensure sufficient
attention to the problem. Parolin and OSCE Director
Balestrero, however, affirmed the Vatican's support for a
title with "a Particular Focus on Discriminationagainst
Christians," rejecting even the possiQility of a title
"Including Discrimination ag!inst Christians." Although
Parolin said the Vatican "would always consider all
proposals," the Holy See feels that this is an issue on
which it has to remain firm. End Summary.

------------
Holy See:essary
----------------

2. (SBU) Holy See DepQnsignor Pietro
Parol November 26 to reite2ination to press for al @o adamant during the
meet would not accept anything
to a "Particular Focus nst
Christians" in the Parolin and
Balester`d in ref (b), stressingy the serious nature of anti-Semitic
and anti-Islamic problems in the OSCE region, only that
there needed to be a focus on anti-Christian issues as
well.

-------------------------------
Ambassador Presses USG Position
-------------------------------

3. (SBU) The Ambassador emphasized the points in ref (a),
noting that adding Christianity to the representative's
title could open the floodgates to group after group
wanting similar inclusion. This could water down or render
ineffective the entire endeavor, he said. The Ambassador
pointed out that even if other groups did not jump on
board, adding Christianity to the representative's title
would imply that there are only three religions in the
region deserving of OSCE attention, to say nothing of other
non-religious groups. Including a reference to anti-
Christian discrimination in the representative's mandate,
the Ambassador concluded, would ensure that the problem
receives appropriate attention.

-------------------
Vatican Unrelenting
-------------------

4. (SBU) Parolin and Balestero remained firm on their
points, with Balestrero becoming animated when speaking
about the issue of balance and fairness. There are some
smaller groups that could complain about not being included
in the representative's title, Balestrero said. "But we're
talking about Europe," where Christians make up a great
percentage of the population. "If you're going to leave
out a group that is facing discrimination, how can it be
Christians," he asked. Balestrero noted that the Holy See
remained in the background on many OSCE issues, realizing
that on defense matters, for example, other delegations had
more expertise r greater equities than the Vatican. But
he insisted that the Holy See had to assert itself on a
religious and human rights issue such as this. Otherwise,
he implied, what was the point of its OSCE membership?

-------------------------
Searching for Flexibility


-------------------------

5. (SBU) While making clear that he was not negotiating
the proposal's wording, the Ambassador probed the Holy
See's flexibility on the issue, asking if, for example, the
Vatican would accept a title "Including Discrimination
against Christians." Balestrero flatly rejected the idea.
Parolin, while initially backing up his colleague's view,
added that the Holy See "would, of course, consider all
proposals."

-------
Comment
-------

6. (SBU) The Holy See appeared unaware on the 26th of the
possibility of EU movement in its direction as discussed
with OSCE Vienna (ref c). We expect that the Vatican would
become further emboldened if it saw support for its
position growing within the EU. The fact that the normally
reticent Vatican is pressing this issue so vigorously
reflects the depth of its concern about what it perceives
to be growing anti-Christian discrimination in Europe, as
reflected in recent events including the rejection by the
EU parliament of the Italian candidate for the EU
Commission (ref b).

Nicholson


NOTE: SVC FOR GARBLED TEXT IN PARA 2.
NNNN

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