YEREVAN, DECEMBER 21. ARMINFO. The Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) today called on U.S. Ambassador to Azerbaijan Reno Harnish to immediately and forcefully halt the ongoing demolition of medieval Armenian cemeteries and historic carved stone crosses (khatchkars) in the southern Nakhichevan region of Djulfa by the Azerbaijani armed forces. ANCA told ARMINFO.
The cemetery, home to more than 10,000 individual khatchkars, was subjected to sustained attacks throughout the 20th Century and again, starting in 2002, when Azerbaijani forces crushed hundreds of the crosses and shipped the rubble from the region by rail. The most recent attacks have been the worst yet.
In a letter sent today to Ambassador Harnish, and copied to the White House and Members of Congress, ANCA Chairman Ken Hachikian called on the U.S. envoy to:
1) Immediately travel to Djulfa to personally survey the damage and intervene against any continued demolition.
2) In the name of the U.S. government and on behalf of the conscience of the international community, demand that Azerbaijan respect the terms of its 1993 agreement to join the UNESCO World Heritage Convention, and immediately end this destruction.
3) Demand that, to the extent possible, these sites be restored, under the appropriate supervision of Armenian experts and other internationally recognized authorities on Armenian religious monuments.
4) Offer a full and public reporting on this systematic, state-sponsored eradication of these treasures of world cultural heritage.