YEREVAN—A state commission tasked with coordinating the commemoration activities for the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide held its inaugural meeting on Monday, presided over by President Serzh Sarkisian.
With His Holiness Karekin II, the Catholicos of All Armenians, His Holiness Aram I, Catholicos of the Great House of Ciclicia and Nagorno-Karabakh Republic President Bako Sahakian at his side, the president opened the inaugural meeting, which is the fruition of an April 23 decree, announced that Martin Yesayan, Inspector General of the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation and Vicky Marashlian, chairwoman of the Armenian Relief Society Central Executive were also included in the commission.
In remarks addressed to the meeting, Sarkisian welcomed all participants and outlined the priorities of the committee.
“Under no circumstance will we tolerate the denial of the Armenian Genocide and disrespect toward the memory of our innocent martyrs,” said Sarkisian adding that the Genocide remained an “open issue” for Armenians.
“It is an open issue because it is impossible to comprehend or accept that a state can plan and implement policy of extermination of its own citizens; it is an open issue because after 96 years the consequences of the crime perpetrated against the Armenian nation have not been eliminated yet; it is an open issue because today there are still insolent adherents of the perpetrators of the Genocide, who spare no effort to distort that black page of the Armenian history, it is an open issue because these insolents view the tragedy of Mets Eghern simply as a occurrence which in the international politics creates some discomfiture for them and they do not realize the necessity to recoup with repentance,” explained Sarksiain.
After the welcoming remarks, the two religious leaders led the meeting with opening prayers, which was followed by a presentation on the practical elements of the commission’s work by Haik Demoyan, the director of the Armenian Genocide Museum and Institute, who also serves as the commission’s executive secretary.
Demoyan explained that advisory groups will be formed to tackle the various aspects of the commemoration process.
Armenia’s Diaspora Minister, Hranoush Hakopyan explained that 100th anniversary activities will take place in every Armenian community around the world and would be coordinate by Armenia’s diplomatic representations.
Foreign Minister Eduard Nalbandian briefed the commission on activities being carried out on the diplomatic front.
The events dedicated to the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide are of top priority for Armenia, and it is necessary to hail the Armenian President’s foreign policy, which focuses on the Armenian Genocide recognition, Aram I said during the meeting.
“Now we can firmly state that our Homeland is the protector of all Armenians worldwide. There have always been discrepancies between the Fatherland and Diaspora, but they cannot affect the common stance on all-Armenian matters,” he said.
Aram I added that the Armenian people should think in terms of pan-Armenian categories and values, what is dictated by the present time.
“The 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide is not a regular date. We should consider thoroughly our actions and words. We have no right to hold on the same course, we need to change our behavior. Armenia needs to act as a state, while the Diaspora should set its tasks more clearly and all the Armenians should unite. Our people’s demand on the Armenian Genocide recognition should be presented to the world. We need to unite and speak only about our demands,” concluded Aram I.