Lebanon Armenian Community Outraged at Pakradouni Appointment

BEIRUT (Aztag Daily)–The formation of the new Lebanese government to be headed by prime minister Rafik al-Hariri was announced last Thursday–and includes 30 ministers–two to represent the Armenian community. Sebouh Hovnanian from the previous cabinet was appointed Minister of Youth and Sports–and new member Karim Pakradouni was appointed Minister for Administrative Reforms; Pakradouni is a member of the Phalange Party.

The previous government of Lebanon had failed to appoint two Armenian ministers to its cabinet–though it was legally obliged to in accordance with the Taef Agreement. On various political levels–the ARF consistently demanded that the knowingly committed wrong be corrected and justice served to the Armenian community with the appointment of two Armenian representatives to government. With this new appointment–however–it remains questionable as to who Karim Pakradouni will represent–the Phalange party–or the Armenian community?

In its failure to properly consult the leadership of the Armenian community in Lebanon–emerging realities and challenges–as well as priorities of the Armenian community have been pushed aside.

His Holiness Aram I stated that though the actions of the president and prime minister of Lebanon are appreciated in that two ministerial posts have–in fact–been filled by Armenia’s–he nevertheless expressed deep concern about the appointment of Karim Pakradouni and whether the move serves to "represent the Armenian community."

His Holiness called on state authorities "to make a clear distinction between nominal and full representation–between nominal belonging to a community and active participation in community life."

"We need the kind of representative who truly and fully represents the community–otherwise"–he said–"a gap will be created between the state–which is based on community representation–and communities.

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