Thousands Converge at Dzidzernagabert

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–Thousands of Armenian citizens flocked to the Tzitzernakabert monument in Armenia April 24th to pay homage to the victims of the 1915 Genocide.

President Robert Kocharian–Prime Minister Armen Darbinian–National Assembly Speaker Khosrov Harutiunian–Constitutional Court Chairman Gagik Harutiunian and other governmental officials and guests laid wreaths at the eternal flame. Foreign ambassadors also attended the mourning march.

Head of the St. Echmiadzin Holy See Press Bureau–Archbishop Nerses Pozapalian–conducted mourning liturgy–which was attended by the Head of the Ararat diocese–Archbishop Garegin Nersissian–and other clergymen.

"We have no right to forget the past," Kocharian told journalist after the ceremony. "It is necessary to fix Armenia’s relation to the 1915 Armenian Genocide in the Constitution."

Kocharian added that the final decision should be taken by the people or the National Assembly. He also said that the state policy aimed at international recognition of the genocide will not be harmful to Armenian-Turkish relations–but–instead–will promote development.

Armenian Foreign Minister Vardan Oskanian called for an increased awareness of the Armenian Genocide at a special commemoration event in Yerevan last week–saying it was time for Armenia’s to raise their voices and make Turkey–and the world–take notice.

"The unwillingness to prevent and condemn a crime or evil generates a new evil," Oskanian said. "Impunity–as history shows–brings about a new crime. "Therefore–we ought to raise our voice together with the world community against the crime of genocide."

Saying April 24 was the most dismal date in the modern history of Armenia–Oskanian stressed that genocide as a crime is aimed against mankind and is a tragedy for all nations of the world–something beyond human understanding and conscience.

"The events that took place in April 1915 can’t be erased from the collective memory of our people–neither can history be changed as some are trying to do," Oskanian continued. "It is due to our vigilant and struggling memory that we are able to keep the world on the alert–calling for general denouncement of genocide and thereby preventing this evil."

Aram Khachaturian’s second symphony was performed by the Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of Loris Tjeknavorian during the event sponsored by the Philharmonic Orchestra of Armenia and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The concert was attended by President Robert Kocharian–Prime Minister Armen Darbinian and Constitutional Court Chairman Gagik Haroutiunian–as well as foreign ambassadors and diplomats–other officials.

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