SANT’ANNA, Italy (Tert)—Armenian Ambassador to Italy, Sargis Ghazaryan, took part in a ceremony commemorating the victims of the Sant’Anna di Stazzema Massacre and the Armenian Genocide in Italy, the Armenian Foreign Ministry’s press service reported on Friday.
The ceremony began with an address by Italian President Serjioi Matarella and a welcoming speech by Sant’Anna di Stazzema Mayor Maurizio Verona, who said that the event was dedicated also to the 20th century’s first crime against mankind, the Armenian Genocide.
In a speech delivered at the ceremony, Ambassador Ghazaryan emphasized the importance of the prevention of crimes against humanity and, to that effect, the preservation of mankind’s memory.
He briefed participants of the ceremony on the Republic of Armenia’s anti-genocide policies and the resolutions it has initiated and promoted at the United Nations’ General Assembly to prevent the repetition of the crime. Ghazaryan said that Armenia’s initiatives received support from different countries, including Italy, noting that the two countries form a united front in the fight against the crime of genocide.
Ghazaryan added that Armenia and Italy cooperate within the framework of the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) to further peacekeeping efforts in the Middle East.
Ghazaryan said he believes that adequate and timely international efforts to recognize and condemn the Armenian Genocide would have prevented the 20th century from becoming a century of genocides.
Noting that the mayor Moers, Germany was attending the event, Ghazaryan said he regrets that no Turkish mayor took part in the Genocide centennial commemoration ceremonies that took place in Yerevan on April 24. Instead of relying on passive memory, he called for an active campaign to raise awareness of past atrocities and to fight denial.
The commemoration event was also attended by high-ranking Italian politicians, public and military figures, clergymen and over 100 mayors, and was widely covered by Italian media.
Italy commemorates the Sant’Anna di Stazzema Massacre every year on August 12 to pay tribute to the 560 civilians killed by Nazi forces in the small town in 1944. The international community has recognized the crime as an atrocity against mankind. The ceremony, held under the patronage of Italy’s president, annually brings together high-ranking Italian as well as foreign officials, one of whom is selected as a lead speaker to give an official address.
Last year’s key speaker was President of the European Parliament Martin Schultz. By the decision of the town’s municipal authorities, the recent event was dedicated also the centenary of the Armenian Genocide.