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Aram I Writes Letter to Bush Regarding Baron Der

His Holiness Aram I Catholicos of The Great House of Cilicia wrote a letter
to US President George W. Bush urging him to call upon the State of Israel to
abide by relevant international laws that have been ignored.

Following is the text of the letter that His Holiness Aram I Catholicos of
The Great House of Cilicia sent to President George W. Bush of the United States
of America.

His Holiness Aram I also sent a similar letter to UN Secretary-General Kofi
A. Annan. Last week His Holiness made a strongly worded statement regarding to
the seizure of Baron Der property of the Armenian patriarchate of Jerusalem by
the Israeli army.


His Excellency
George W. BUSH
President of the United States of America
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

Mr. President,

It is with great sadness and concern that I address you in your capacity as
the President of the United States of America, seeking your personal
intervention with regard to the seizure of Baron Der by the Israeli army.

This military aggression violates international law and the special
legislation regulating the relationship of the Christian communities and
authorities guaranteed by established covenants and orders and codified in
international treaties (Paris, 1856 and Berlin, 1858) and the League of Nations,
known as the Status Quo of the Holy Places.

Baron Der, which belongs to the Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem, has been
a place of reverence and worship for the Armenian Church since 1641.

In addition, Baron Der is an archeological site and contains a holy shrine
and a monastery. It has great spiritual and historical significance for
Armenians worldwide, and they are rightly and deeply outraged at this violation.

The Armenian Patriarchate has made numerous pleas to the State of Israel
since the beginning of May; unfortunately, these pleas have gone unanswered,
forcing the Patriarchate to appeal to the Israeli High Court of Justice and to
the international community.

We are greatly disappointed that the intervention of the United Nations
Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief, A. Amor, calling upon
Israel to abide by relevant international laws, have been completely ignored.

I, therefore, strongly appeal to you to use your good offices and call upon
the State of Israel to withdraw its armed forces from Armenian Church property
immediately, as requested by the Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem.

As Catholicos of Cilicia, I cannot state strongly enough my condemnation of
all Israeli violations of fundamental rights in the Holy Land, which have
obliged so many Christians to leave the area. These continuing Christian
communities in the Holy Land, especially Jerusalem, the birthplace of the
Christian Church, are profoundly significant and important for world
Christianity. It is the responsibility of the international community,
includ-ing the USA, to put an end to this occupation for the sake of all the
children of Abraham.

May God guide you in all your endeavours for justice, peace and

Aram I
Catholicos Of Cilicia

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