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Catholicos Aram I Calls For Dialogue and National Unity

ANTELIAS, LEBANON, MARCH 25, NOYAN TAPAN: On the occasion of Palm
Sunday, His Holiness Aram I, Armenian Catholicos of Cilicia, gave
a special speech to the believers gathered in the St. Gregory the
Illuminator Cathedral in Antelias on Sunday, March 20. During his
speech he spoke about the current political situation of Lebanon and
focused on the role expected from the Armenian Community. According
to the Press Office of the Catholicosate of Cilicia, His Holiness
said that Lebanon is currently facing difficult times, pointing out
that after the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri,
popular protests and statements by politicians have left the people
worried and confused. “Lately, some people started to ask about
where the Armenian Community of Lebanon stands in this situation,”
His Holiness said, adding: “We are with Lebanon in the full and the
true understanding of the word. The Lebanese-Armenian Community is not
indifferent or neutral towards the events unfolding in Lebanon. It
has a clear view and a position that is based on its deep loyalty
and strong attachment to Lebanon and true love for it.” The Pontiff
assured that as a community comprising the vast Lebanese society,
the Armenians are with “Lebanon’s unity, integrity, sovereignty
and independence.” “We truly believe that Lebanon’s only road to
salvation is the unity of its people. Our community acted on and
defended this principle for thirty years.” The Catholicos added that
Armenians also support the harmonious cohabitation of the Christian
and Muslim communities. “Throughout Lebanon ‘s most difficult times
the Armenians of Lebanon tried to become a bridge between all sides
for the sake of preserving the cohabitation of the Lebanese society.
Now as well, this is the role of our community,” he said. His Holiness
emphasized that the Armenian community is with the preservation of
liberties and justice. Pointing out that Lebanon is a democratic
country and a country of freedom, Aram I highlighted the importance
of protecting these principles. He also said that the truth should be
revealed about the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri
and an investigation must be conducted by the United Nations. “We are
with the full and exact implementation of the Taef Accord. Let’s not
forget that the Arab World and the international community support
the accord, which was signed with the participation of representatives
from all the communities of Lebanon,” said His Holiness, emphasizing
the imperative of the quick and full implementation of the Taef
Accord. Aram I assured that the Armenians support the establishment
of good neighborly relations between Lebanon and Syria, based on
the principle of mutual recognition of each country’s independence,
integrity and sovereignty. His Holiness reminded that the Armenians
of Lebanon have with the national consensus concerning the Hezbollah;
and he praised the initiative of the Lebanese people to unite under
the Lebanese flag with the same expectations, principles and the same
vision for Lebanon’s future. Aram I also said that the time has come
for the issues raised by the people to be discusses around the table of
dialogue. “The Armenians of Lebanon are ready to actively participate
in all the initiatives that spring from the approaches and principles
we already stated. We are continuously consulting with the different
parties in order to bring the country out of its current stalemate,” He
said. He praised the patriotic approach of the leaders of the Armenian
Community and advised them to continue their full participation in
strengthening Lebanon’s internal unity, sovereignty and integrity.

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