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 Thursday, May 16 2024 10:33
Marianna Mkrtchyan

CSI president writes letter of solidarity to Archbishop Bagrat  Galstanyan

CSI president writes letter of solidarity to Archbishop Bagrat  Galstanyan

ArmInfo.President of the Christian Solidarity International (CSI), Dr. John Eibner, wrote a  letter of solidarity to Archbishop Bagrat Galstanyan, the informal leader of the Tavush for Motherland movement.

CSI's international president, Dr. John Eibner, has written a letter  of support to Archbishop Bagrat Galstanyan, the leader of Armenia's  "Tavush for the Homeland" protest movement, as tens of thousands of  Armenians have gathered to demonstrate against their government's  concessions to Azerbaijan.

Archbishop Galstanyan serves as primate of the diocese of Tavush, a  region where the Armenian government recently announced its decision  to unilaterally cede strategic territory to Azerbaijan - in order, it  said, to prevent an Azerbaijani invasion.

A new protest movement

The government's decision led to weeks of protests and civil  disobedience by Armenians in Tavush. The protestors feared losing  their villages or having Azerbaijani troops - who regularly fire on  Armenian villages along the border - stationed so close to their  homes.

On Friday, May 3, Archbishop Galstanyan set out on a march from  Tavush to Yerevan with a group of 100 supporters, a march they called  "Tavush for the Homeland." On Thursday, May 9, they arrived in  Yerevan's Republic Square and were greeted by 30,000 supporters.  Daily protests against the Armenian government have continued in the  capital since then.

In his letter, Eibner praised Archbishop Galstanyan's "courageous  efforts" and argued that Azerbaijan's attacks on Armenia are "a  continuation of the Armenian Genocide process." "The voice of the  multitude you lead must be heard by the faction in power in Yerevan,"  he said.

Threat of war

According to Armenia's Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, Armenia had  offered to withdraw from the disputed territory in Tavush in exchange  for Azerbaijani troops withdrawing from the 214 square kilometers of  Armenian territory it has occupied since May 2021. When Azerbaijan  refused, Pashinyan decided to withdraw from the territory anyway,  saying, "We must not allow a war to start."

The land concessions follow Azerbaijan's conquest last year of  Nagorno Karabakh, which led to the forced displacement of over  100,000 Armenian Christians from their homeland. In the months before  the conquest, Pashinyan had formally recognized Nagorno Karabakh (or  Artsakh) as part of Azerbaijan, although it had never in history been  ruled by an independent Azerbaijani state.

Eibner's letter to Archbishop Galstanyan follows:

 

Your Eminence, Dear Archbishop Galstanyan,

May the Almighty bless your courageous efforts to amplify the voice  of the politically marginalized. You do so at a critical moment in  Armenian history. The Armenian nation faces today an existential  crisis. The Azeri-Turkic state has already succeeded in ethnically  cleansing Armenian Christians from Nagorno Karabakh and in occupying  territory inside the Republic of Armenia. It has done so with  impunity.

The Aliyev dictatorship now demands more territorial concessions,  with no end in sight. It is a continuation of the Armenian Genocide  process. The voice of the multitude you lead must be heard by the  faction in power in Yerevan.

National unity is now urgently needed. We have therefore read with  dismay the CivilNet report in which Prime Minister Pashinyan accuses  the Tavush protesters whom you lead of seeking to "incite war" and  the "de facto dissolution of Armenian sovereignty and statehood,"  while acting under the influence of "drug lords, criminals and  foreign special services." No state can survive at the expense of the  nation upon which it is built.

Over the centuries, the Armenian Apostolic Church has stood in  solidarity with its suffering people throughout many trials and  tribulations and continues to do so today. Please be assured that  many Christians of different traditions throughout the world stand in  solidarity with you in your non-violent efforts to ensure that the  views and sentiments of those most threatened by the continuing  Genocide process are heard by those in power.

Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with the First Christian  Nation at this time of crisis.

Yours sincerely,

John Eibner

International President

Christian Solidarity International  

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