YEREVAN (Armenpress) — During the debates of the Parliamentary Assembly of Council of Europe (PACE) Winter Session the members of the Armenian delegation actively took part, making use of every occasion for referring to the problems concerning Armenia on the European agenda, despite the fact that issues regarding Armenia had not been included in the works of this session.
On January 26, the head of the Armenian delegation to the PACE, vice president of the PACE and the National Assembly of Armenia Hermine Naghdalyan took part in a debate on Syria and its impace on surrounding countries.
She spoke about the destruction of the Armenian settlements, churches, cultural centers as well as the great number of the Syrian Armenian refugees. She noted that she considere
d the situation unfolding in and around Syria as grave concern for Armenia, as it is in the immediate neighborhood of the Middle East.
On numerous occasions Armenia has condemned the crimes committed by the Islamic State and other terrorist groups, which threaten the people of the region and beyond.
She noted that Armenia welcomed the ceasefire regime and expressed hope that it will lead to a lasting peace.
“The violence in the Middle East has not bypassed Armenians, one of the traditional communities of Syria, Iraq and other countries of the region. Many of them lost their lives in terrorist attacks and hostilities. The Armenian settlements, churches, schools and cultural institutions were destroyed,” Naghdalyan documented, at the same adding that the grateful Armenian people will never forget that 100 years ago Armenian refugees found shelter in many Arab countries after the Armenian Genocide in Turkey.
“Today thousands of Armenians, together with other people of the Middle East, again are forced to abandon the places of residence. From Syria alone more than 20 thousand Armenians found refuge in Armenia, making our country the third largest recipient of Syrian refugees in Europe on per capita basis” Naghdalyan noted.
She told the body that Armenia has undertaken considerable efforts in assisting and integration of the refugees. We have been offering accelerated asylum procedures, facilitated provision of residence permits and naturalization for the refugees. The state supports them in setting up businesses, provides durable housing, free medical assistance and scholarships. “We believe that the issue of Syrian refugees as well as the general issue of refugees and their protection should be more adequately addressed by international community,” she concluded.