YEREVAN—Environmental protection groups in Armenia staged a protest outside the Madenataran Tuesday, as Charles, the Price of Wales, who is on his first visit to Armenia toured the repository of ancient manuscripts.
Holding banners that read, “Environmentalist Charles, join the environmentalists of Armenia,” and “British mining industry is killing us, stop it!” protesters waited for the Prince Charles in hopes of delivering a protest letter to the visiting dignitary.
Prince Charles arrived in Armenia on Tuesday for a three-day private visit. He is in Armenia to promote the work of “Yerevan, My Love,” a charity, for which he helped raise awareness and funds along with Armenia’s former prime minister, Armen Sarkisian, who accompanied him on this trip.
The protesters outside the Madenataran had gathered to urge Prince Charles to ask the British Lydian International to halt plans of to mine gold at the Amuslar deposit in southeastern Armenia.
Sarkisian, the former prime minister, joined the Lydian International board of directors in March. A statement from the protesters, which was handed to the British Ambassador to Armenia Jonathan Aves, made mention of Sarkisian’s involvement in Lydian. The ambassador pledged to bring the letter to the prince’s attention.
Earlier in the day, the “Save Teghut” Civil Initiative addressed an open letter to Prince Charles, pointing out that the British investments in Amulsar’s gold mining contradict the prince’s ideology and asked him, as an advocate of environmental protection, to refrain from any activities related to the mining, reported ArmeniaNow.
“At the same time, we are asking to interfere, within your range of influence, in this dangerous British investment project and prevent it, shifting British investments to Armenia’s green economy instead,” stated the letter.
While agreeing that there are “legitimate concerns” regarding mining at Amulsar, Aves stressed that he is “impressed” by Lydian’s approach to environmental issues. “We expect that they will do their best to meet all the regulations and rules that are required to establish their operations,” he told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am). The diplomat added that the Armenian government is “working hard” to ensure that the British company complies with those rules.
Environmental activist Anna Shahnazaryan told ArmeniaNow that the main purpose of the protest was to raise awareness and inform the Prince of Wales and they believe that he would have a say in the issue.
“Neither in the British press nor on higher levels issues with Armenia are voiced, and the mere fact that we have succeeded to present the environmental issues connected with the project is an achievement by itself,” said Shahnazaryan.
British Embassy officials said that while at Madenataran, the Prince became acquainted with the ancient manuscripts and heard a presentation about “Yerevan, My Love,” by Armen Sarkisian.
On Wednesday, Prince Charles met with President Serzh Sarkisian.
“Our people have a special attitude toward you, and this is connected with your wide charitable work. A vivid reminder of this is your active participation in the ‘Yerevan, My Love’ project,” the president told the prince.
The Prince of Wales thanked Serzh Sarkisian for the warm welcome and stressed the importance of the “Yerevan, My Love” program, as well as the project of construction of an international school in Dilijan.
The prince said he highly appreciated the great attention Armenia pays to the programs targeted at the development of education and expressed willingness to expand his program of support to young entrepreneurs in Armenia.
The Parliament of Armenia should immediately pass legislation requiring foreign dignitaries to make The Genocide Memorial their FIRST itinerary when they land in Armenia. If they decide against that legislative act then they will be considered personna non grata in Armenia and a visa will be denied to visit Armenia.
We just don’t need Genocide deniars in our homeland even if they can with a bundle of cash let alone coming to steal our gold.
You make a good and logical point. The Armenian government is a sell out and they do not care if the UK government has not recognized the genocide. This is why Armenians will never get anywhere in this world. If a foreign diplomat visited Israel and their government denied the Holocaust that country and its representatives will never be allowed in Israel again.
While I have nothing against prince Charles, for those of you that think the UK is the “good guy”, may I remind people, it was the policies of the UK that destroyed our nation, and which we are suffering from 100 years on with their Turkophile attitude and genocide denial and support of Turkey’s occupation of our western lands? While we are at it, throw in the fact that they also support the occupation in Cyprus and armed the Turks to drive out the Greeks from their ancestral lands in Asia Minor. Brits are also probably the number one supporters of Turkey’s tourism… surprise surprise.
Shant Melkonian I love the Madenataran and one never knows… Even a well establshed moron might learn something!
I hope this ‘royal’ pain in the a** gets properly ‘schooled’ by the Armenians during his short visit and also gets herded to the Dzidzernagapert Armenian Genocide Grand Memorial and Museum, so he can adequately advise the British MP’s when he gets back into recognition, as did their Scot ‘subjects’ a day earlier… Or perhaps he can advise against it when next time his noticeably senile mommy the Queen awards the likes of Turkey’s President Gul with the prestigious Royal Institute of International Affairs CHATHAM HOUSE PRIZE (2010) praising him for his efforts of reconciliation with its neighbors, his promotion of Human Rights in Turkey, his policies of tolerance and his protection of its minorities heritage and culture. How far can the Brits be from truth and reality.
God Save the Queen!
look at Armen Sarkissian’s face. He looks so constipated and can’t wait to leave the Madenataran an go count his beans at the HSBC bank. How can an ambassador of Armenia accumulate so much wealth.
He can’t wait to go the gold mine with Charlie and strike the “deal”
UK is not France and as history shows they have been against Armenians by siding with Turks and Azeries. But this could be an opportunity for a new better beginning for UK and Armenia. And why not to educate him so he can convey new learning to his sons.
Anyone visiting our nation must be made to honor the victims with a visit to dzidzernakapert. If they don,t want to oblige they must not come at all.
While I usually subscribe to comments which are at least ascerbic (if not a little sarcastic, as well) here I wonder what is the point? The man came to Armenia, after all. However cowardly, duplicitous, and downright evil has been the behavior of the entirety of Western nations from Genocide times (or even before) until and including now, his coming presents Armenians with a golden (or no) chance to make the most of this opportunity to show that Armenia is a country that is worthy of world recognition and welcomes it. Environmental problems should be addressed on a domestic level (and perhaps protested, if you will) by the Diaspora in the country involved (in this case, the UK). Sarkisian’s approach is both wise and correct here, and it is he who, in the conduct of the visit, should touch on environmental problems, as well as stress the point that mining (and other) trade would be enhanced if access was made easiser. Perhaps also, Charles’ visit could lead to one or more follow-on visits by trade representatives from the West. The point is, why not keep this business-like? This surely would be wiser than to insult the one who has chosen to come all this way to visit your country.
It was King George the 5th that refused to help the Armenians claiming that the English ships are not able to climb the mountains of Armenia.
This is too funny. You people do realize the Royal Family has no say or influence in British politics right? Why don’t you take your complaints to David Cameron instead? Prince Charles is not at fault and this visit should be applauded as a new step. The West will realize in time that Turkey is really “the sick man of Europe”.