Armenian National Committee of Australia
259 Penshurst Street
Willoughby, NSW 2068
Contact: Mr. Varant Meguerditchian
Tel: 612 9419 8264
Fax: 612 9411 8898
Email: [email protected]

31st March 2006

Press Release - Australian Government Deplores Destruction of Historical
Monuments in Nakhichevan

In the face of growing pressure from the Armenian National Committee
of Australia and the Australian-Armenian Community at large, the
Australian Government has joined the European Parliament and the
U.S. State Department in condemning the destruction of the medieval
Armenian cemetery in Djulfa, Nakhichevan.

In response to an ANC Australia letter which brought these horrors
to light, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade stated, that
"the Australian Government deplores the destruction of historical
and artistic monuments and sites, [noting] the distress caused to
the Armenian people."

"We welcome the Australian Government's stance on this sensitive
issue and encourage the Hon. Mr. Alexander Downer, Minister of
Foreign Affairs to further pressure his Azeri counterpart so that the
Azerbaijani Government will put an end to the destruction and begin
immediate restoration of this site, to the extent possible, under the
appropriate supervision of Armemian experts and other internationally
recognised authorities," said ANCA President Dr. Tro Kortian.

The ANC Australia's efforts in raising awareness of the desecration
of the 7th century Armenian Cemetery in Djulfa by Azeri Forces,
coincides with the Armenian Government's own efforts. Recently,
Armenian Foreign Minister Mr.

Vartan Oskanian brought this issue to the attention of UNESCO and asked
that a team of expert be sent to asses the situation in Nakhichevan.