Armenia calls for protection of ethnic, religious groups in Middle East

Armenia is deeply concerned about the developments in the Middle East, Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian said during an international conference in Paris dedicated to preventing violence against ethnic and religious minorities in the Middle East.

“Actions should be combined and comprehensive assistance needs to be provided to protect ethnic and religious groups that have been persecuted by the terrorist forces in Syria and Iraq.

The measures should include providing humanitarian aid to migrants and affected communities targeted by the terrorists. International assistance shouldn’t be divided into primary and secondary areas and it should be rendered to all the aggrieved people,” Nalbandian emphasized, according to his Ministry of Foreign Affairs press office.

The top Armenian diplomat also noted that it was not accidental that the terrorist groups had launched the war against the cultural heritage of the peoples of the region.

“Demolition of numerous Islamic shrines, ancient Palmyra and Nimrud cultural monuments, blasting of the Holy Martyrs’ Church in Deir ez-Zor where the relics of the Armenian Genocide victims were preserved and other acts of vandalism are crimes against civilization,” Nalbandian stressed in his speech, adding that ethnic Armenians in the Middle East have also suffered because of wars and persecutions. In particular, he mentioned that in the past several years Armenia has received about 15,000 ethnic Armenians fleeing hostilities in Syria.

The Armenian foreign minister called for an immediate devising of mechanisms to deprive the terrorists of their means, financial sources and for obstructing the inflow of foreign gunmen.

Remarkably, on Tuesday, the Armenian border village of Ranchpar was shaken by what turned out to be a bomb attack in nearby Turkey that reportedly killed at least 14 Turkish police officers. Turkish officials are certain to accuse Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) militants of being behind the bombing.

Observers say that the blast in Turkey that jolted the Armenian border community reminded many Armenians in what close proximity they live from their regional neighbors and that the developments in the greater region may have more direct impact on their lives than they think.