31.10.2011 09:33

Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian participated in the
36th session of UNESCO General Conference. Addressing the attendees,
Minister Nalbandian said:

Madame President, Armenia is a country rich with cultural monuments
dating back to the 4th millennium BC. There are some 33,000 historical
and cultural monuments in Armenia under state protection, which are
included in the State Register of National Heritage.

For centuries, the Armenian people has created numerous and diverse
cultural monuments most of which, due to known historical events
are now situated outside the Republic of Armenia. Our neighbors have
displayed different approaches towards the preservation of Armenian
historical heritage.

There is a good cooperation with Iran that takes proper care of
the Armenian monuments situated on its territory. The proof of
the aforementioned is the inclusion of St Thaddeus, St Stepanos
monasteries and the Chapel of Dzordzor in the World Heritage List,
presented by Iran.

In Yerevan, an 18th century mosque has been restored, through the
joint efforts of the Armenian and Iranian specialists.

A promising cooperation has started also in this context with our
neighbor - Georgia.

Unfortunately, this positive experience is not reciprocated by our
other neighbors. As a result of the policy of destruction of the
Armenian historical heritage, thousands of cultural monuments that
were of universal value, have been lost forever.

In an era when the protection and promotion of human rights are
considered to be the underpinning principles, damaging or destroying
cultural or religious memory intentionally, consistently, repeatedly,
must be strongly condemned in order to prevent any future possible
repetition of the past mistakes.

Last year "Armenian cross-stones art" was included in the
representative list of the Intangible cultural heritage of UNESCO.

This year we were glad to exhibit the marvelous art of these Armenian
khachkars at the exhibition that was held at the UNESCO Headquarters.

Unfortunately, thousands of these cross-stones in the medieval cemetery
of Nakhijevan were completely destroyed within a few years time under
the instructions and the watchful eye of Azerbaijan's leadership,
turning this area into military ground. Such destruction of delicately
carved cross-stones, created by the Armenian masters during the Middle
Ages is a manifestation of the blind hatred towards other peoples'

The resolution of the 16th General Assembly of International Council
of Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) states with regards to this vandalism
that regretfully "this heritage that once enjoyed its worthy place
among the treasures of the world heritage can no longer be transmitted
today to future generations".

Madame President, 5ooth anniversary of the Armenian bookprinting will
be marked next year. This anniversary coincides with the proclamation
of Yerevan by UNESCO as the World Book Capital 2012. On these occasions
a number of special events will be organized and we look forward to
the active participation of UNESCO member states in these events.