ANTELIAS, Lebanon—A recent statement by French Foreign Minister Alan Juppe calling for the establishment of a historical commission to study the Armenian Genocide was criticized by His Holiness Aram I, Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia.
“The recent statement of the French Foreign Minister in turkey, contradicts France’s recognition of the Armenian Genocide” the Catholicos said Monday when meeting with former Senator Adrien Gouteyron who was visiting Antelias on behalf of the French Prime Minister.
During a visit to Turkey last month, Juppe said that “France was ready to invite Armenian and Turkish delegations to study the sad events of 1915.” Juppe’s statement was in direct contradiction to French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who during a visit to Yerevan urged Turkey to reconcile its past and recognize the Genocide.
Aram I pointed the contradiction to the visiting French dignitary saying that both Sarkozy and the French Parliament had already recognized the Armenian Genocide.
Gouteyron was on a fact-finding mission to Lebanon and other Arab countries to become acquainted with the impact of the Arab uprisings on the Christian populations of in the region.
Gouteyron probed the Catholicos’ position on the movements in the Middle East and probed the pontiff’s opinion on regime change.
“Regime change is not an end in itself. It is the first step toward people’s participation. If democratization is defined on the basis of strict Islamic terms, Christians will face difficulties. While respecting the position of majority Muslims, we would like to participate in the political, social and economic life of our countries as full citizens. Any future dialogue should move in this direction,” explained the Catholicos.
“Churches in the Middle East and their Diaspora communities should cooperate and strengthen the region,” added the Catholicos.
Gouteyron concluded his visit by honoring the victims of the Genocide at the Antelias Memorial.