NICOSIA–ARF Bureau member and chairman of the Armenian Parliament’s committee on national security and defense Vahan Hovhannisian arrived in Cyprus January 24 to take part in festivities organized there for the 110th anniversary of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation.
While in Cyprus–Hovhannisian held meetings with the defense committee of the Cypriot Parliament and with the Lellos Dimitriadis–mayor of Nicosia.
In his meetings with defense committee vice-chairman Lefderis Garras–the common struggles of the Armenian and Cypriot peoples were mentioned. Garras recalled the fact that the Cypriot Parliament was one of the first in the world to pass a resolution recognizing the Armenian Genocide. The vice-chairman’said he hoped this first meeting between the two committees of the Armenian and Cypriot parliamen’s will give rise to further cooperation and dialogue between the two bodies.
Hovhannisian thanked the Cypriot Parliament for its recognition of the Armenian Genocide–and condemned Turkey for committing genocide against the Pontus Greeks and the Cypriot Greeks who were forced to flee their historic land during the Turkish invasion of the island. "This is the same Turkey that has committed crimes against both our nations,’ said Hovhannisian.
He also thanked Cypriot parliamentarians who supported Armenia’s admission into the Council of Europe. His visit to the Cypriot Parliament happened to coincide with the flag-raising ceremony taking place in Strasbourg that same day in honor of Armenia’s admission to the CE.
Both sides expressed hope that the newly-created Armenia-Cyprus Parliamentary Group–and the upcoming official visit of a parliamentary delegation from Cyprus to Armenia will expand cooperation.
Later that same day–Hovhannisian visited the "Melkonian" School where he met with principal Ani Lachinian and longtime educator Garabed Dakesian.
Hovhannisian also met with Ananya Mahdesian of the ARF Cyprus–followed by visits to the local Armenian Youth Federation center–the Armenian Relief Society’s offices–and the ‘Oshagan’ chapter of Hamazkayin.
On Friday–January 26–official meetings took place between Hovhannisian and high-level political figures in the Cypriot government–and representatives of various political parties.