Kocharian Arrives in Cyprus

YEREVAN (Armenpress)–President Robert Kocharian arrived Cyprus for a four-day state visit to strengthen inter-governmental ties between the two countries, outline priorities for economic cooperation and exchange views on a variety of issues. While in Cyprus, Kocharian will meet with president Tasos Papadopulos. The two presidents will also take part in the enlarged bilateral talks and hold a joint news conference. Kocharian is also scheduled to meet with the chairman of the Cyprus parliament Demetris Khristofias, Archbishop of Cyprus Khrisostomos II and the mayor of Nicosia. The Armenian president will also visit the St. Mary’s Church of Nicosia and place a wreath at a monument commemorating the Armenian genocide. He will also meet with representatives of the Armenian community. Kocharian also will meet with students of the Narek college and visit the town of Larnaka to attend a groundbreaking ceremony for a new Genocide memorial monument. Armenia and Cyprus established diplomatic relations in March, 1992. The first Armenia’s arrived in Cyprus in the 4th and 5th centuries and in the 10th century, one of the rulers of the island was Armenian Though Armenia’s have lived in Cyprus for centuries, the present community on the island is comprised of relatives of Genocide survivors. Currently, some 2700 Armenia’s live in Cyprus, mainly in Nicosia, Larnaca and Limassol. With the 1974 Turkish invasion and subsequent partitioning of the island, the Armenian community lost significant properties, such as the Makaravank and Kantsvor monasteries, a primary school and a church in Nicosia, and several other important sites and assets. The invasion also forced many Armenia’s to emigrate to Great Britain, Australia and Canada. Armenia’s in Cyprus are mainly craftsmen–running small and medium-sized businesses–traders and government officials. The community is governed by the leaders of the Armenian Prelacy and the National Council. The Armenian language has always played a pivotal role in the preservation of the Armenian national identity. For this reason, organized Armenian communities in Cyprus always had their own Armenian-language newspapers. Currently three newspapers are published by the community and all major Armenian Diaspora organizations have their branches in Cyprus.

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