22 January 2006

President Abbas: "We and the Armenians suffered of historical difficulties"

Azad-Hye, Dubai, 21 January 2006: Palestine News Agency (WAFA) reported on
12th January 2006 that Mahmoud Abbas, President of the Palestinian
Authority, received in the Presidential Headquarters in the city of Ramallah
(West Bank) a delegation of Armenian clergymen, headed by Archbishop Torkom
Manougian, Armenian Patriarch of Jerusalem.

President Abbas expressed to Archbishop Manougian his warm greeting on the
occasion of the Christmas. Discussing current political affairs he asserted
that the Palestinians of East Jerusalem should participate in the
parliamentary elections on January 25th.

On 15th January 2006 Archbishop Manougian was one of a group of heads of
Churches in the Holy Land who met President Abbas and exchanged
congratulations of Christmas and Eid al-Adha (Muslim Feast of Sacrifice).

President Abbas told his guests that the Christian-Islamic coexistence is
deeply rooted in the history of Palestine, stemming from the historical
accord that the Second Caliph Omar bin al-Khattab made when his armies took
hold of Jerusalem (the agreement is also known as the Covenant of Omar). As
a result Christians enjoyed extended rights in the Holy Land.

On behalf of the heads of Churches, the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of
Jerusalem, Theofilos III, thanked President Abbas for his continuous
support, noting that this was reflected by his personal attendance of
Christmas Midnight Masses in the Church of Nativity in Bethlehem.

Palestine News Agency reported on 18th January that President Mahmoud Abbas
participated in Bethlehem in the festivities of the Armenian Church on the
occasion of Christmas.

In a statement made during his presence in the Armenian Monastery in
Bethlehem President Abbas said that he has the honour to participate in the
Armenian festivities. “We and the Armenians suffered of historical
difficulties. We hope that these difficulties would vanish, but we are sure
they will not fade away from our memory,” he added.

From his side Patriarch Torkom Manougian stressed that the Armenians are
integral part of the Palestinian people, hoping that the establishment of
the Palestinian State could be achieved soon. 

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