Thursday, March 1st, 2012

The demolished Armenian stone-crosses in Djulfa

Armenia's decision on December 15, 2005 to announce the savage
desecration of Armenian monuments by Azeri Armed Forces in Djulfa
raised "serious questions" with US officials in Armenia at the time,
according to a confidential cable made public by Wikilieaks.


U.S. Charge d'Affaires in Armenia at the time, Anthony Godfrey,
rushed to complain to the State Department and questioned the Armenian
Foreign Ministry's decision to reveal the desecration at a time when
prospects for a breakthrough on Karabakh peace were high following
a visit by the OSCE Minsk Group Co-chairmen to the region.

They also questioned then foreign minister Vartan Oskanian's decision
to release the information about the Azeri attacks on Djulfa monuments
on the sidelines of a press conference that was to sum up the
"positive" visit by the Co-chairmen.

Calling the foreign ministry's information "third hand," Godfrey
sounded the alarm that the revelation could anger Baku.

"The first announcement [about the Djulfa incident] on December 15 came
in the form of an early afternoon press release from Armenia's Embassy
in Tehran. The MFA distributed the release to journalists later the
same day on the margins of Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian's press
conference summing up the December 14-15 visit of the OSCE Minsk
Group Co-Chairs," explains the cable.

"On a day filled with upbeat news about prospects for a resolution
to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, the MFA's decision to circulate
third-hand reports in an official, strongly-worded press release is
likely to anger nationalist elements in Armenia and spur a response
from counterparts in Baku," commented Godfrey in the confidential

It took the US a full three months before responding to the destruction
of historic monuments in Djulfa.

In March, 2006, Asbarez reported
ruction-of-historic-julfa-cemetery/] that then Deputy Assistant
Secretary of State Matthew Bryza responded to reporters' questions
by describing the destruction as a "tragedy," and noting that-"it's
awful what happened in Julfa. But the United States cannot take steps
to stop it as it is happening on foreign soil. We continually raise
this issue at meetings with Azeri officials. We are hopeful that
the guilty will justly be punished. We are hopeful that in no other
state of the region such things will happen again-as there are great
historic monumen's in the Caucasus and-frankly speaking-in all three
states they are endangered."

It seems, seven years later, Godfrey's concerns have not dissipated,
because the US has yet to take decisive action on the desecration
of Armenian monuments in Djulfa, Nakhichevan at the hands of the
Azeri Army.

Learn more about the destruction of the 1,300-year-old historic
Armenian cemetery in Djulfa, watch the independent film "The New
Tears of Araxes." []

View a timeline of the U.S. and
international response to the destruction of