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Cypriot Armenians: New committee to discuss Melkonian future

Azad-Hye, Dubai, 29 January 2006: The Representative of the Cypriot
Armenians in the House of Representatives of the Republic of Cyprus
Dr. Vahakn Atamyan paid an official visit to the Armenian General
Benevolent Union's (AGBU) headquarters in New York and met with
President Berge Setrakian. 

A key subject of their discussion was the fate of the Melkonian
Educational Institute. Since the AGBU decided to close the historic
Melkonian school in Nicosia, Cyprus, the worldwide Melkonian Alumni
(graduates union) have mobilized a campaign to keep the school open.
Their efforts have been joined by the Patriarch of Armenians in
Istanbul, Mesrob Moutafyan, who has initiated court cases against the
AGBU in Los Angeles and Nicosia.

According to Dr. Atamyan, contrary to circulated rumors, the Central
Board of AGBU has not yet considered any action regarding the
Melkonian property. Setrakian has confirmed to the Cypriot
representative that AGBU has not approached any potential buyers or
developers. 

In an effort to mediate and help resolve the deadlock in the
Melkonian school dispute, Dr. Atamyan, soon after his return from the
above trip, announced the formation of a new committee which will
include representatives of the Cypriot Government, AGBU, Melkonian
Alumni and local Armenian Cypriot community. The task of this
committee would be "to suggest specific programs which would best
benefit the Armenian community of Cyprus and continue honoring the
legacy of the Melkonian Brothers". 

In the official press announcement distributed to Cyprus media Dr.
Atamyan stated that although Mr. Setrakian (and the Central Board of
AGBU) is firm on his decision to close the Melkonian Institute,
nevertheless he agreed with the formation of this committee that will
discuss "the future of Melkonian Institute" and further AGBU programs
in Cyprus. 

It is not clear how Mr. Setrakian is willing to discuss the future of
the Melkonian school, while his organization is firm on the closure
decision. Also it is not clear whether the Melkonian Alumni will
agree to be part of a committee which would most probably not satisfy
the minimum demands of the Melkonian graduates. 

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