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Order of Malta calls for Russian aid in protecting Christians in Syria, says ambassador

The envoy also said he was tasked with developing already existing spheres of cooperation with Russia.

MOSCOW, February ·7. /TASS/. The Sovereign Military Order of Malta count on cooperation with the Russian Federation on protection of the Christian values in Syria, which constitutes an important aspect of the order’s activity, Aimone di Savoia-Aosta, the Order Ambassador to Russia, said during his meeting with the Federation Council Committee on Foreign Affairs head Konstantin Kosachev.

"As you said, we do a lot in Syria. Indeed we, let’s say, get involved there. There is a very important moment for the Order of Malta: protection of Christians. Just like you have organizations of this kind working there, so we have great interest in this as well," he said. "Indeed, I’ve been tasked with developing this direction and [our] relations on protection of religion," the Ambassador said, as he expressed hope for cooperation on culture, humanitarian aid and protection of Christian values.

The Ambassador also said he was tasked with developing already existing spheres of cooperation with Russia. He underscored the Order’s social activity in Russia and noted two social centers - in Moscow and St. Petersburg.

The other direction the order is interested in is culture. The diplomat recalled the archived documents bundle "Russia and the Order of Malta, 1697-1817," published last year.

Created in 11th century in Jerusalem, the Order of Malta gained significance after Pope Paschal II recognized this religious organization as a religious order. Initially, the order was tasked with providing aid to the sick and those in need.

Consisting of 13,500 knights, the Order’s main occupation is charity, primarily medical and humanitarian aid. The Sovereign Military Order of Malta is a sovereign entity in international law, and has diplomatic relations with more than 100 nations, including Russia, and acts as an observer in 80 international organizations.