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Vatican says UN needs to take Christians' needs into account in Syria
A Vatican representative has said that the United Nations (UN) needs to take the needs of Christians as well as other religious minorities into account when discussing ending the civil war in Syria.
The UN has asked different groups to come together to discuss finding a practical solution to the crisis in Syria.
The talks are scheduled to begin on Friday and are expected to last for six months.
Vatican Radio has reported that the UN claims the first priority is a ceasefire followed by humanitarian aid and halting the threat of terror groups in the region.
Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, the Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations in Geneva, said: "We hope the specific needs of the Christians, the Yazidis, and other communities that are not part of the Muslim majority be taken into serious consideration.
"If we hope for an authentic ceasefire and possible beginning of reconstruction of the social and material fabric of society in Syria, then the human rights of these communities have to be taken into account."
It is thought that more than 250,000 people have died as a result on the conflict so far and more than four million people have fled Syria.
In addition 6.5 million people are displaced inside the country.
The majority of victims have been Muslim but Christians are also targeted for persecution.
Archbishop Tomasi said: "We hope, if not directly and specifically represented in the negotiations which will start next Friday, at least indirectly and then later on when other participants will join in the dialogue, that Christians, in particular, be specifically represented."