On October 9th, Minister-President of Belgium’s Wallonia-Brussels Federation Rudy Demotte, in Armenia for the 31st Session of the Ministerial Conference of the International Organization of La Francophonie, visited the Syrian-Armenian Relief Coordination Center NGO at the AGBU Vahe Karapetian Center in Yerevan. The purpose of the visit was to understand issues and challenges faced by refuges in Armenia and the strategies to overcome them. As the Minister stated, both countries face very similar challenges when it comes to refugees and these require immediate solutions.

Today, there are over 16,000 Syrian-Armenians in Armenia, of whom 9,000 are beneficiaries of this Center, which has been providing various types of assistance over the years including apartment rental fees, medical and tuition assistance through generous allocations from AGBU and other organizations.

Present at the meeting was RA Diaspora Ministry’s Chief of Staff Firdus Zakaryan, who gave a detailed presentation on the current situation with refugees in the country. The Belgian politician asked several Syrian-Armenians, who were present at the Center during his visit, to tell their stories, difficulties and challenges. “I think in about three years everything will get back to normal. Those who had moved to Armenia three years ago have now fully integrated into life in Armenia. We try to help them solve every issue, of course with the help of AGBU and the RA Government”, said Nora Piliposyan, representative of the Syrian-Armenian Relief Coordination Center NGO. “Certainly, Armenia cannot solve this problem alone. It’s very important to start a dialogue with Europe and Russia, maybe also involve major organizations, like the International Organization of Francophonie, in coming up with solution to the issues of refugees”, said Rudy Demotte. However, the long-term solution of refugee issues lies in politics. Once the war is over, the issue will find a final solution, the politician said.




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