VATICAN CITY, 12 APR 2011 - The Special Council for the Middle East of the Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops met for the third time on 30 and 31 March.

The agenda included an update on the current situation of the various churches of Council members, and the preparation of a study with a view to forming a working draft on the proposals of the Special Assembly of the Middle East of the Synod of Bishops, held in October 2010.

A press release issued today affirmed that "the general situation in the Middle East and North Africa provided the context for the exchange of opinions and information. The precarious situation caused by to socio-political movements directly involves the Churches which share in the joys and worries of citizens, in many cases forced to emigrate due to violence, lack of work, restriction of religious freedom and limited democracy. However, the need for free and constructive dialogue with other religions and with the legitimate representatives of civil authorities remains imperative".

The next meeting will take place on 17-18 May 2011.

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