Representatives of Yasser Arafat–president of the Palestinian Authority–met with His Holiness Aram I–Catholicos of the Holy See of Cilicia–Monday. Omar Ashake–Governmental Relations Secretary of the Palestinian Liberation Organization–and Adnan Saad Eddy–Secretary of Foreign Affairs–discussed with the pontiff Palestinian internal issues and the challenges facing the peace process–especially in Jerusalem. The representatives asked the Catholicos to support Palestine in this crucial stage in its history.
Aram I assured the Palestinian representative of the solidarity of the Armenian people–recognizing the struggle of the Palestinian people as a just cause. The Catholicos outlined His and the Cilician Catholicosate’s involvement in the peace process in the Middle East and abroad. He condemned the military agreement between Israel and Turkey–viewing it as a threat to the safety of the entire region.
Regarding the difficulties Palestinians face in Jerusalem–Aram I stated that the World Council on Churches and the Middle Eastern churches–the decisions of which the Cilician Catholicosate embraces–has maintained that a united Jerusalem should respect the rights of all three major religions–including the rights of its Armenian residents.
Arafat’s representatives expressed appreciation for support from the Armenian people and in turn offered support to the Armenian cause in the case of Nagorno-Karabakh and with regards to the Armenian Genocide. They hoped that the Armenian and Palestinian people establish more practical relations in the near future.
Right Reverend Sebouh Sarkissian was also present at the meeting.