Aram I: Christians Have Responsibility to Take Part in Syria’s Political Life
GENEVA, Switzerland (A.W.)—On March 4, His Holiness Aram I, Armenian Catholicos of the Holy See of Cilicia, met with United Nations special envoy for the Syria crisis Staffan de Mistura in Geneva, and stressed the importance for all of Syria’s communities—including the country’s Christian community—to take part in the Syrian peace process.
According to a press statement released by the Holy See, the two discussed the normalization process of the Syrian conflict at length, with a particular focus on the role that Christian communities can play. Aram I stressed that as equal citizens of Syria, Christians have the responsibility to take part in the country’s political life.
The Catholicos also made a number of suggestions regarding the peace process, including the importance of community representation at the new round of U.N.-sponsored peace talks set to begin on March 14 in Geneva. At the conclusion of the meeting, the participants agreed to continue ongoing consultations with the Catholicos regarding the peace process.
In a meeting with de Mistura in October 2015, Catholicos Aram I had called for a political resolution to the Syrian crisis, stressing that military intervention would not help to achieve a full and reasonable solution to the crisis.
In a November 2014 interview with the Armenian Weekly, Archbishop Shahan Sarkisian, the prelate of Aleppo, spoke at length about the importance of preserving the Syrian-Armenian community and the role it could play in the larger Middle Eastern—and in today’s geopolitical—reality.
“In the Muslim-Christian dialogue, we [the Armenian community] have a very important role to play. Muslims trust us. Christians trust us. If relations are to be forged…for instance, if we want to create a Muslim-Christian dialogue initiative, everyone will attend. If someone else were to organize it, no one would attend. That’s because they trust us. We don’t take sides. We’re not driven by self-interest. We’re a bridge. But the danger with being a bridge is that everyone will step on you,” the prelate said in the interview.
During his tour of Armenian communities across the Eastern United States in December 2015, Dr. Nerses Sarkissian, a member of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF) Central Committee of Syria and of the Syrian Armenian Committee for Urgent Relief and Rehabilitation, told the Armenian Weekly that the Armenian community of Syria is prepared to take part in any political process that may come about in the country.
“We are hopeful that this war, like all other wars, will find its end. Today, the Armenian community is even prepared to take part in any political process that may come about in Syria, which looks for a lasting peace. Whether that is a new constitution, a new system of government, or whatever that may look like—we Armenians will take part in the process,” Sarkissian told the Weekly.
Source: Armenian Weekly Mid-West