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Press Releases

Deputy Foreign Minister Ashot Hovakimian participated in Brussels in the Third International Ministerial Conference on Victims of Ethnic and Religious Violence in the Middle East


On May 14, Deputy Foreign Minister of Armenia Ashot Hovakimian participated in the International Ministerial Conference on "Victims of Ethnic and Religious Violence in the Middle East" organized by the Belgian Government under the co-chairmanship of Belgium and Lebanon.

Foreign ministers and deputy ministers of numerous countries, heads of international organizations, representatives of religious and ethnic communities, anti-terrorist, humanitarian and human rights agencies and centers participated in the conference. The Belgian Deputy Prime Minister, Foreign Minister Didier Reynders and Lebanese Minister of Foreign Affairs and Emigrants Gebran Bassil delivered opening remarks.

In his speech, Ashot Hovakimian touched upon the violence perpetrated by the Daesh (ISIS) and Al-Nusra terrorist organizations in Syria and Iraq against religious and ethnic groups and mass killings of their members, particularly Christians. The Deputy Foreign Minister emphasized that Armenia was among the first countries to condemn the massacres committed by the terrorist organizations against the civilian population, including Christians and representatives of other religious groups. The Deputy Foreign Minister also informed that a number of high-level international events have been organized on this topic by Armenia and partners within the framework of the United Nations and the OSCE.

In this context, Deputy Minister Hovakimian singled out the attempts of mass extermination of representatives of the Yezidi community of Iraq as a shocking example of the spread of the evil of terrorism. He mentioned that in January of this year, the Armenian parliament officially recognized and condemned the genocide of Yezidis by terrorist groups, thus emphasizing Armenia's unconditional commitment to continuing the cause of prevention of genocides and other crimes against humanity.

The Deputy Minister emphasized that although the Daesh (ISIS), Al-Nusra and other terrorist organizations have been overwhelmingly defeated recently, however the international community should redouble its efforts in order to completely eliminate this evil. Ashot Hovakimian also noted that the return of foreign terrorist fighters from the Middle East to our region currently pose a serious problem that can lead to aggravation of the situation in the conflict zones, since the returning terrorists bring in their extremist ideas and violent practices, thus promoting the radicalization of societies.

Ashot Hovakimian noted that the spread of violence in the Middle East has caused great damage to the Armenian communities of the region, many representatives of which were killed in terrorist acts, while the Armenian settlements, churches, schools and cultural institutions were damaged and destroyed. As a result, a century after the Genocide committed against Armenians by the Ottoman Turkey, the Armenians once again were forced to leave their homes.

In response to the speech by Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov, Ashot Hovakimian spoke of the xenophobia driven Daesh style crimes committed against Armenians, while qualifying the approaches on the Nagorno-Karabakh issue voiced by the Foreign Minister of Azerbaijan as being false and unfounded. He also pointed out that the policy of justification of hate crimes and glorification of criminals pursued by the Azerbaijani authorities at the highest state level, the state sponsorship of violence and terrorism and the state-level bellicose rhetoric should be strongly condemned.

On the sidelines of the conference, Deputy Minister Hovakimian had contacts and discussions with several Foreign Ministers and heads of international organizations. 

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