On December 23, the Inter-Agency Commission on Coordination of Syrian-Armenians’ Issues held its subsequent session at the RA Ministry of Diaspora. The session was chaired by RA Minister of Diaspora Hranush Hakobyan.

In his speech entitled “Past and Upcoming Programs for Support to Syrian-Armenians”, Head of the Social Assistance Office of the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin, Fr. Marcos Mangasaryan stated that the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin had provided over AMD 7.5 million in assistance to 150 Syrian-Armenian families in Armenia this year and had allocated $800,000 for the restoration of Armenian schools in Syria, social assistance and the solution to other issues.

The speaker added that the Social Assistance Office of the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin has donated $1,000,000 to Artsakh and has allocated AMD 80,000,000 to the families of soldiers who were killed during the Four-Day Artsakh War and those who now have disabilities.

The Minister expressed gratitude to the religious organizations, especially the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin for their support and assistance.

In his speech, Hovig Eordekian, Deputy Director of the AGBU Armenia touched upon the organization’s completed, ongoing and upcoming programs and activities, stating that AGBU Emergency Fund with its 1 million initial allocation now expanded with institutional and individual donations surpassing the threshold of $4 million. Talking about the reimbursement of tuition fees for Syrian-Armenian students, the speaker mentioned that the AGBU would be increasing reimbursement by 26 percent next year.

In response to a question from editor of Arevelq newspaper Sako Arian, Hovig Eordekian stated that the AGBU has allocated one-third of the $250,000,000 to the implementation of social and rehabilitation programs in Aleppo.

Chief of Staff of the RA Ministry of Diaspora Firdus Zakaryan presented the working plan of the Inter-Agency Commission on Coordination of Syrian-Armenians’ Issues for the year 2017.

RA Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Armen Papikyan presented the situation in Syria and stressed the fact that even though the Syrian government has officially declared the liberation of Aleppo, this is only the beginning. Not all countries have given a definite response. Over the past three days, the United Nations has adopted two resolutions on the state of human rights protection in Syria and research on the atrocities.

Narine Karinyan, guest expert of the secretariat coordinating the activities for support to and integration of Syrian-Armenians in Armenia, delivered a speech devoted to the 2017-20 Strategy on the Immigration and Integration of Syrian-Armenians in Armenia.

Summing up the session, Minister Hranush Hakobyan attached importance to the faithful and coordinated activities aimed at solving the Syrian-Armenians’ issues and expressed gratitude to all the organizations and institutions for their cooperation. She also wished everyone a Happy New Year and Armenian Christmas and added the following: “May the words of Gregory of Narek “Good Mind, Kind Words, Good Deeds” become the motto for the year 2017. I wish Armenians hear kind words and that all their wishes come true and everything ends with good deeds in the New Year.”