Noyan Tapan News Agency, Armenia
Oct 17 2005

Autry announced this week his commitment to build a monument in the
near future dedicated to the memory of the victims of the Armenian
Genocide. The announcement was made on October 10, in Fresno City Hall,
during the meeting with His Holiness Aram I, Catholicos of the Great
House of Cilicia. In addition to the Pontiff, present were a large
group of representatives of the Fresno Armenian American community.

According to the Information Department of the Catholicosate of
Cilicia, in City Hall, His Holiness conducted an opening prayer during
a city council session. During the council session, Mayor Alan Autry
offered His Holiness the symbolic key to the city. Upon receiving the
key, His Holiness commented that "my hope is that this key will also
unlock the hearts of all the various cultures so that we may share
and work together to build stronger and closer communities living
together in peaceful coexistence." The Pontiff said that the United
States is the leading example of the possibility of this reality.

The Catholicos had a very busy schedule in Fresno that included
visits with the students, administration and parents of the Armenian
Community School of Fresno on October 11 where the Pontiff stressed
the critical role that Armenian schools play in preserving our culture
and identity as well as imparting our traditions and values.

His Holiness attended a reception and gave a speech at Fresno Pacific
University that also received media attention by local TV stations and
the Fresno Bee. The speech focused on the diversity of cultures that
coexist in the United States as a model. His Holiness also brought
forth the example of intolerance and how that manifested itself in the
Armenian Genocide perpetrated by the Ottoman Turkish government. Since
the U.S. has always stood for tolerance, human rights and justice,
he emphasized, "The U.S. Congress must recognize the Armenian Genocide
and thereby demand justice for this crime against humanity."

In his speech His Holiness discussed state of Christianity in the
Middle East using the Armenian experience and the Armenian Genocide as
an example of what can happen when the idea of peaceful coexistence
with different cultures and religions is shattered. He also outlined
the dynamic role the church plays in Middle Eastern societies including
politics where it pursues matters of justice, peace and human rights
as well as imparting human and family values.

Plans for erecting a Genocide Monument in Fresno is yet another
step in the road toward justice and proper recognition of the 1915
genocide committed against the Armenian people by the Ottoman Turkish
government. It comes on the heels of several other recent positive
developments on this issue including the passage by the U.S.

Congress' House International Relations Committee of two resolutions
recognizing the genocide as well as the recent resolution passed by
the European Parliament calling for Turkey to recognize the genocide
prior to being considered for admission into the union.