Aline Bannayan

Jordan Times
June 29, 2012 Friday

June 29--AMMAN -- Jordan and Armenia on Thursday signed their first
bilateral agreement in the field of cultural cooperation, paving the
way for enhanced relations between the two countries.

The signing took place on the sidelines of Armenian Cultural Week in
Jordan, which was held from Monday through Thursday in Amman, Madaba,
Karak and Irbid.

Minister of Culture Salah Jarrar and his Armenian counterpart Hasmig
Boghosian signed the agreement, which covers cultural exchanges,
cultural days, visits by delegations of both countries, and cooperation
in the areas of museums, libraries, music and theatre.

Armenia, a small mountainous republic bordering Iran and Turkey,
gained independence from the Soviet Union in 1991.

Many Armenians have lived in the Middle East since their relocation
in 1915 in the final days of the Ottoman Empire.

The largest Armenian communities in the region are in Lebanon, Syria,
Iraq, Kuwait, Egypt, the Arab Gulf and Iran, with smaller numbers in
Jordan and Palestine.

In an exclusive interview with The Jordan Times, Armenia's Ambassador
to Syria and Non-resident Ambassador to Jordan Arshag Poladian said
Thursday's agreement was "the first step of joint work and exchange
of experience with hopefully many more between two friendly nations",
adding that an honorary consulate would open in Amman in September,
with Vatche Dakessian as consul.

"We are a nation with a rich history and culture. What we tried to
present during Armenian Cultural Week in Jordan was a representative
sample of Armenian culture," he noted.

Poladian said his country and the Kingdom would hopefully sign
agreements in other sectors, such as education, agriculture, nuclear
energy, investment and tourism.

The cultural week, organised by the Ministry of Culture, started
with an exhibition of work by the surrealist painter Armenouhi
Haroutounian as well as three performances by Armenia's state
Philharmonic Orchestra.

Accompanied by soprano Lilit Soghomonian and the "Paregamoutyoun"
dance troupe led by Hratch Badlian, the performances included
traditional Armenian musical instruments such as the duduk, dhol,
kamancha and kanon.

"Jordanians are open to learning about other nations' cultures and
finding common ground," Jarrar said at the opening of the four-day
event on Monday.

"Armenia has a rich history and its people struggled hard to keep
their heritage alive over thousands of years. They are an example
of a people who opened up their arms to embrace the cultures of the
world while keeping alive their own," he added.

The cultural week's activities also included a lecture by Poladian on
Arab-Armenian relations in history dating back to the 7th century and
the role of Armenians in the region going back to the Fatimid dynasty.