Cyprus Defence Minister Charalambos Petrides at the Armenian Genocide memorial in Yerevan, on April 24, 2021

Cyprus Armenians praise Biden on ‘Genocide’

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The Armenians of Cyprus joined worldwide diaspora communities in praising US President Joe Biden for his declaration in recognising the massacres of 1.5 mln Armenians in 1915 as an act of Genocide.

Vartkes Mahdessian, Armenian Representative in the Cypriot parliament, sent a warm letter of gratitude on behalf of the community to US Ambassador Judith Gail Garber, saying President Biden’s act shows the US is a supporter of human rights.

“It was a justification in memory of those who perished during the Genocide,” said Mahdessian, whose parliamentary seat is enshrined in the Republic’s constitution.

In the letter, sent on Monday, he “expressed his sincere appreciation and deepest gratitude to the President of the US, Mr Joe Biden, for recognising the mass killings of Armenians by the Ottoman Turks during World War I, as Genocide.”

“We, the descendants of the survivors of the massacres, will continue to struggle until justice is served. Perhaps, the UK and Israel will, at last, come about to recognising this despicable crime as an act of Genocide.”

Mahdessian is also concerned about the reprisals by fanatics and extreme nationalists resorting to violence against Armenians who live in Turkey today.

“I hope it doesn’t turn into more hatred and violence against our people.”

On Saturday, moments before the Biden declaration, the Representative led a small delegation of party leaders and the Commissioner for Human Rights and Minorities, Photis Photiou, in laying wreaths at the Genocide memorial in Nicosia.

President Nicos Anastasiades issued a brief statement of support.

“On Remembrance Day of the Armenian Genocide, we stand with reverence and pain before their sacrifice.

“We hold hands tightly with our Armenian brothers, who live here together, in our homeland.

“We continue the effort for the Genocide to be recognised by the global community,” Anastasiades said.

In 1982, the Republic of Cyprus became the second state to recognise the Genocide officially.

Petrides in Yerevan

In Armenia, where commemorations to mark the 106th anniversary of the Genocide took place, Cyprus was among the few governments invited to attend, represented by Defence Minister Charalambos Petrides.

Six years earlier, during the large-scale centenary of the tragic events, Anastasiades led a high-level delegation.

Petrides said his visit to Armenia was concluded with an in-depth discussion and consultations for enhancing bilateral defence and military cooperation with Armenia.

He met with the President of Armenia Armen Sarkissian to discuss “deeply rooted bilateral relations, close national ties and future defence and security cooperation.”

They referred to the repercussions of the war with Azerbaijan in Artsakh, supported by Turkey.

With Foreign Minister Ara Aivazian, Petrides had “a good discussion on Armenia-Cyprus political dialogue…a bright expression of friendship and solidarity between the two peoples.”

Petrides also met with outgoing Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, saying he was “very honoured to be present at this year’s remembrance events in Yerevan.

“It is our duty and obligation to honour the memory of the victims of the Armenian Genocide by Turkey, and we have renewed our faith in the fight for universal recognition of the crime,” Petrides told Pashinyan.

The defence minister was accompanied by his counterpart Vagharshak Harutyunyan and received by Ararat Mirzoyan, President of Armenia’s National Assembly.

He attended the classical concert dedicated to the 106th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, held at the Karen Demirchyan Cultural Complex and visited military installations in Yerevan.