March 19, 2003
"Even though Armenia has its own humanitarian needs, we will do our best for the community in Iraq should they need it," said Yura Babakhanian, Head of Arab Countries and Israel Division at Armenia's Foreign Ministry.
Babakhanian who was Charge d'Affaires at the Amrenian Embassy in Baghdad, from 2000 to 2002, remembers a community of 15,000 or so, mostly well-to-do Armenians. "They are very active in the community, involved with social, athletic, charitable and cultural activities," he said.
Although not in leadership positions as the Sunni or Shia Moslems, Armenians enjoy the respect of the Iraqis and "are seen as hardworking and honest people," said Babakhanian.
With the possibility of war looming over Iraq for over a year now, 65 Iraqi Armenian families have already been granted visas to Armenia during 2002. "If, as a consequence of war, Iraqi Armenians would like to come to Armenia, our government is prepared to receive them as refugees and provide them with all possible assistance," said Babakhanian, who believes that other international organizations, such as UNHCR and the Red Cross will also offer assistance.
Just as Armenians rode out the Desert Storm campaign and the Gulf War 10 years ago, Babakhanian believes that this time, too, Armenians will stay and protect their homes and assets.
FROM ANTELIAS LEBANON WE HAVE THE FOLLOWING:
His Holiness Aram I seeks to guarantee assistance for Iraq's Armenians
Antelias, Lebanon - Closely following the latest developments in Iraq and the effects of the probable war—especially on Iraq's Christian communities, His Holiness Catholicos Aram I undertook the following steps:
- Established permanent consultations with the General Secretary of the World Council of Churches (WCC), discussing the organization's anti-war stance as well as humanitarian assistance the WCC will provide to the people of Iraq in the event of the likely war. The WCC has undertaken vast international efforts on the two issues. In case of war, the center to provide humanitarian assistance will be in Amman, Jordan under the sponsorship of the WCC, with the assistance of the Middle East Council of
Churches and humanitarian organizations. Humanitarian assistance will be offered, without discrimination, to both Muslims and Christians.
- His Holiness Aram I is in permanent contact with the General Secretary of Middle East Council of Churches discussing a possible meeting of Middle East church leaders and the issuing of a joint declaration, as well as participation in providing humanitarian aid.
- Despite communication problems, His Holiness managed to contact the Prelacy in Baghdad to inquire about difficulties of local Armenians. Aram I is doing his utmost to ensure that those Armenians in need would benefit from the available humanitarian assistance.
- His Holiness Aram I spoke with the Patriarchal Vicar in Jordan Archbishop Vahan Topalian, and was informed about the well being of the Armenian community. His Holiness asked the Archbishop to pay special attention to the humanitarian assistance provided in Amman by the World Council of Churches, ensuring that the Armenian refugees from Iraq benefit.
UPDATE: Azad-Hye continued to cover Iraqi Armenian subjects extensively. Below is the list of subjects covered in 2006 and 2007 (until June)