UNESCO Head Opposes Ottoman Anniversary ANC Mobilizes Community

YEREVAN (Armenpress)–According to reports received from Paris–Armenpress reported Tuesday that Federico Mayor–UNESCO Secretary General–stressed that he stands against the celebration of the 700th anniversary of the Ottoman Empire but he did not exclude the possibility of cultural events in this connection by UNESCO.

According to the France Press–Mayor made the statement at a press conference held in Paris Monday. The issue was scheduled to be further discussed at the UNESCO General Assembly Tuesday.

The Armenian community in Paris voiced its indignation over the possible celebration of the anniversary by the UNESCO. The Armenian Revolutionary Federation Central Committee of France announced its intention to conduct a rally at the UNESCO headquarters in Paris. Secretary General noted that UNESCO should never celebrate anniversaries of empires. And he said this particular one will only be celebrated in Turkey–while UNESCO may participate in some cultural events.

According to France Press–this issue was discussed during the meeting between the French President Jacques Chirac and Levon Ter-Petrosyan last week. Chirac stressed that he did not appreciate the participation of UNESCO in the celebration and considered this event blasphemy against innocent victims of the 1915 Armenian Genocide.

In this connection–the Armenian National Committee International reported that Diasporan Armenia’s–alongside homeland Armenia’s–are actively pursuing the issue through regional and local Armenian National Committee offices.

The ANC of Australia–Greece and South America–as well as the ANC offices in Moscow and Washington have addressed the issue with their respective foreign relations structures. Several meetings with high level officials in these countries have not only made the Armenian position abundantly clear–but ANC representatives have also been able to learn about official positions on the issue.

In addition–ANC activists in Canada–the US–France–Cyprus–Sweden–Iran–Germany and Austria have addressed their concern and protests through letter writing campaigns to Mayor–UNESCO representatives in each country or other relevant officials. Many have also met with these individuals to strongly deliver the Armenian community’s message.

Particularly in Canada–thousands of ANCC-sponsored postcards were directed to the UNESCO headquarters in Paris. Also–ANC of France has addressed the issue with Chirac and the Socialist Party of France–and have called on all political representatives to joint in the protest of the Turkish propsal of the Ottoman anniversary within UNESCO structures.

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