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In a letter addressed to Koichino Matsuura, Director-General of UNESCO in Paris, the Armenian Patriarch of Jerusalem, Archbishop Torkom Manoogian, expressed deep concern and outrage about recent reports of the on-going desecration and destruction, by Azeri soldiers, of khachkars in a medieval Armenian cemetery in the Autonomous Region of Nakhichevan. These stone crosses, noted His Beatitude, are historically and religiously significant tombstones and unique artistic expressions of millennial Armenian Christian sculpture.

The Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem considers this vandalism and violence as cultural genocide and has appealed to UNESCO to put a stop to these malicious attempts to eradicate the evidence of the Armenian Christian cultural legacy from the region, which is under Azerbaijani sovereignty.

The letter also urged the UNESCO Director-General to bring these crimes to the attention of the international community, so that such unconscionable acts of ethnic cleansing are not allowed to be perpetuated. It also expressed the hope that the organization would exert its influence over the government of Azerbaijan to honor its commitment of preserving and safeguarding religious and cultural monuments within its territory.

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