NEW YORK–His Holiness Aram I–Catholicos of the Holy See of Cilicia met with United Nations Secretary General Kofi Anan Thursday–on the second day of his first pontifical visit to the Eastern US and Canada parishes.
Accompanying Aram I on his meeting with Anan were Eastern US and Canada Prelate Archbishop Mesrob Ashjian–Western Prelate Bishop Moushegh Mardirossian–Catholicos Scepter Bearer Deacon Khoren Doghramdjian–the Lebanese Ambassador to the UN Samir Mubarak and the chairman of the Catholicos welcoming committee and benefactor Carl Soghoyan.
Anan’s entourage included UN Special Missions Coordinator Benon Sevan and three political advisors.
During the meeting the Catholicos discussed issues concerning Lebanon–Nagorno-Karabakh and other international concerns.
He stressed the importance of implementing UN Security Council Resolution 425 regarding Southern Lebanon and discussed the imperative of accelerating the Middle East Peace process.
Regarding the Karabakh conflict–the Catholicos stressed the importance of a political resolution to the Karabakh conflict–keeping in mind the aspirations of the Armenian people and their right to self- determination. Aram I also urged a more active role by the UN in the peace process and the on going peace talks.
The Catholicos also discussed the strengthening of relations between the World Council of Churches–which he chairs–and the UN to tackle socio-economic issues concerning public health–society and other facets–stressing the role of the church in combating obstacles.
In response–Anan told the Catholicos that during last month’s UN General Assembly–he had the opportunity to address the Lebanon issue with various representatives and within several circles. He deemed these talks as successful and expressed hope for the future of Lebanon and especially the Middle East Peace talks.
In discussing a political resolution to the Karabakh conflict– Anan outlined certain provisions on that matter–and expressed his willingness to assist in the peace process.
Anan also commended the Catholicos for advocating stronger UN- WCC relations and praised the pontiff’s efforts in encouraging greater role for the church in tackling socio-economic problems.
Prior to the meeting with Anan–Sevan led the Catholicos to a meeting at the Armenian Mission at the UN–where issues of importance to Armenia and Karabakh were discussed. The Catholicos also met with Armenian staffers at the UN and had the opportunity to acquaint himself with their work.
On Thursday evening–Lebanese Consul General to New York Antoine Shadid hosted a reception honoring the Catholicos–during which the pontiff praised the role of the Catholicosate and the Armenian people in the development and improvement of Lebanon.
On Friday morning–the Catholicos and his entourage met with New York mayor Rudolph Giuliani–where the important role of the Armenian-American community in New York was emphasized.
At the conclusion of the meeting–the Catholicos and Giuliani exchanged momentos and gifts.