Rome: EU foreign ministers must respond clearly and forcefully at an upcoming meeting to attacks against and discrimination of Christians throughout the world, Italy`s foreign minister said on Sunday.
Speaking after a New Year`s Eve suicide attack on a church in Egypt which killed 21 people and left scores injured, Frattini said it "tragically confirms that religious intolerance, above all against Christians, has taken on an intensity and dimension that is very serious and alarming and absolutely unacceptable".
"The moment for a powerful and clear political response by all governments that cherish human rights of which religious freedom is a basic part has come," he said in a statement.
Frattini said the " European Union must be at the frontline in this battle."
"This is what Italy is asking of the EU," he added. EU foreign ministers will next meet on January 31.
Pope Benedict XVI earlier Sunday condemned the suicide attack on a church in Alexandria as a "cowardly gesture of death".
Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has blamed the attack on "foreign hands".