The State Commission on Coordination of the Events for the Commemoration of the 100th Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide has held its 6th session at the Government Reception House. The session was presided over by RA President Serzh Sargsyan, chairman of the commission.

Apart from the commission members, the broadened session was attended by representatives of regional committees, experts, and specialists. At the beginning of the session, the president informed the participants that pursuant to the resolution of the commission’s 5th session, during this symbolic week following Armenian Independence Day and preceding the Holy Chrism blessing ceremony, the Office of the Chief Event Coordinator is holding discussions on the status of events and upcoming works, as well as events for the accounting period and exhibitions.

Before going on to the discussion of the agenda items, the session participants kept a minute silence in tribute to the memory of commission member Nerses Bedros XIX, Armenian Catholic Catholicos-Patriarch of Cilicia, who made an exceptional contribution to the preservation of Armenian national identity in the diaspora. Armenia’s president informed the participants that in honor of the heavenly path covered by Patriarch Nerses Bedros XIX and taking into account his large-scale patriotic activities, he has issued a decree posthumously awarding him the Order of St Mesrop Mashtots. The president handed over the order to new commission member Krikor Bedros XX, the newly-elected Catholic Catholicos-Patriarch of Cilicia.

Serzh Sargsyan also congratulated Krikor Bedros XX on his election as Armenian Catholic Catholicos-Patriarch.

Among the agenda items, the commission discussed the status of the Centennial events and the subsequent works, touched upon the situation in the Armenian communities of the Syrian Arab Republic and the Republic of Iraq, listened to the report on the forum Against the Crime of Genocide, and also discussed some organizational issues.

Summing up the extensive discussions on the first item, President Serzh Sargsyan noted that there is a need to create a permanent platform to coordinate the upcoming work and to maintain regular contacts. The president mentioned that it could be a useful and effective process. The commission discussed and unanimously adopted a resolution on carrying out a preliminary work towards establishing the Pan-Armenian Council. An organizational committee was created which was instructed to initiate an all-inclusive consultation process.

With regard to the second agenda item, the situation in the Armenian communities of the Syrian Arab Republic and the Republic of Iraq, the president noted that he is deeply concerned especially about the ongoing clashes in Syria and the gradual deterioration of the humanitarian situation. Serzh Sargsyan mentioned that Armenian authorities pay undivided attention to the issues of Armenians living in our region, particularly to those of Syrian-Armenians, which is first of all testified by the presence of the only foreign mission, the Consulate General of Armenia, operating in Aleppo for a few years now and by the continuous activities of the RA embassy in Damascus.

According to the president, the successors of Armenian genocide survivors share the fate of the peoples who once lent them a helping hand. They continue to suffer great human and material losses. Armenia’s president stressed that Armenia has opened its doors to everybody and has already accepted about 16.000 compatriots from Syria. Without exception all the Armenian public institutions are involved in the works aimed at dealing with Syrian-Armenians’ problems and facilitating the process of their integration into our society.

RA Diaspora Minister Hranush Hakobyan, Deputy Foreign Minister Shavarsh Kocharyan, Beria Diocese Primate Father Shahan Archbishop Sarkissian, Damascus Diocese Primate Father Armash Archbishop Nalbandian, and Iraq Diocese Primate Father Avag Archbishop Asaturyan made reports on the situation in Syria’s and Iraq’s Armenian communities.

Serzh Sargsyan noted that everybody wished they did more. We must make concerted efforts to deal with the matters of our compatriots comprehensively. The president expressed his deepest gratitude to all those countries, international and community organizations, and individuals who gave a helping hand to and continue to help Armenians in these activities.

The commission adopted the Declaration on the Plight of the Armenian Communities in the Syrian Arab Republic and the Republic of Iraq, as an important manifestation of the Armenian people’s united support for Syrian-Armenians.

With regard to the third agenda item, reports were made on the results of the forum Against the Crime of Genocide which was held in Yerevan from 22 to 23 April.

According to the president, the first forum served its purpose. It has become a key means to deliver political impulses to audience, and to strengthen the role of the Republic of Armenia in the international struggle against the crime of genocide. Serzh Sargsyan stated that the forum was representative both in terms of the presence of political players and of a broad circle of genocide scholars. The president acknowledged that the forum and the other simultaneous forums have given meaningful stimulus to the commemorative events and have outlined steps for struggle in the future.

Satisfying the participants of the global forum held in Yerevan from 22 to 23 April 2015, which called upon the Republic of Armenia to continue national and international efforts to foster and combine international actions in the fight against the crime of genocide, the commission has decided to request the government of the Republic of Armenia to make the global forum a continuous and regular event.

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