Armenian Parties Call for Peace, Dialogue in Lebanon

BEIRUT–The Lebanon branches of the three traditional Armenian political parties on Friday called on the clashing pro-government and opposition forces in the country to put an end to bloodshed that began last week and engage in dialogue.
The Lebanon branches of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation, the Armenian Democratic League (Ramkavar Azatakan Party) and Social Democratic Hunchakian Party met in Beirut on Friday to discuss the recent outbreak of civil unrest in Lebanon.
“The absence of political dialogue and the ensuing security breaches demand that all political forces in Lebanon exercise understanding and undertake measures for serious and productive dialogue to restore national unity,” said the announcement.
“The three political parties believe the people of Lebanon will overcome this difficult situation and will return Lebanon to its past glory,” added the announcement by the political parties.
Lebanon based Aztag Daily Editor Shahan Kandaharian said in a phone interview with Asbarez.
“The recent events remind of the civil war in Lebanon,” Kandaharian said. “The clashes, which are mainly between pro-government and opposition forces have resulted in Hezbolla taking complete control over the western districts of Beirut.”
He explained that the situation is tense in the northern and mountainous parts of Lebanon where the opposition has also taken control. Clashes have occured at the Syrian border, while the highway to Damascus was blocked. Hezbolla has blocked the roads to the airport and all flights in and out of Lebanon have been delayed. The Armenian air carrier, Armavia, has also stopped its flights to Beirut.
So far, the Armenian-populated districts of Beirut have remained unharmed, Kandaharian explained. The roads to the Becca region are blocked but the Armenian village of Anjar is still safe since no clashes have occurred there.
“The Armenian community [in Lebaon] has found itself in a new situation since many were planning to travel to Armenia,” Kandaharian noted. “Because of this, it was impossible to celebrate the Shushi liberation anniversary.”
Before the violence erupted in Lebanon, the ARF youth organizations and committees managed to hold several events dedicated to the 20th anniversary of the Karabakh Self Determination Movement. But some of the cultural events have been postponed until peace returns, he explained.
Fierce fighting erupted in northern Lebanon on Monday, further exacerbating tensions after days of deadly sectarian battles that have driven the nation to the brink of full-blown civil war.
At least one man was killed in clashes between supporters of the government and opposition in the port city of Tripoli, a security official told AFP.
By late afternoon the fighting had died down as the army moved in and appealed to militants to stop fighting and go home.

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