Catholicosate of Cilicia
Antelias - Lebanon
25 September 2015. On Friday morning His Holiness Aram I met with Claude Hêche, the President of the Swiss Council of States. His Holiness was accompanied by Dr. Gottfried Locher, President, of the Federation of Swiss Protestant Churches Mr Hagop Pakradouni, member of the Lebanese Parliament, Mrs Teny Pirri-Simonian, President of ARMENOFAS Swiss-Armenian Foundation and Dr Hella Hoppe, Director of Church-State Relations, Federation of Swiss Protestant Churches.
After thanking the Federal Government, the Churches and the people of Switzerland for their solidarity with the Armenian people over the past 100 years, the Catholicos spoke of the situation in the Middle East, the present human tragedy in Syria and the importance of ensuring the Christian presence in the Middle East.
Mr Pakradouni described the current political issues facing Lebanon and Mrs Pirri-Simonian introduced the ARMENOFAS Foundation, which represents the continuation of the support and cooperation between the Swiss and Armenian people over the last 100 years.
His Holiness then said that he is grateful for the Swiss government’s support of the Armenian Cause and the National Council’s recognition, in 2003, of the Genocide. He told President Hêche that Armenians are still waiting for the Swiss Council of States to follow the lead of the National Council.
Mr Hêche assured His Holiness that Switzerland agrees in principle with the demands of Armenians for the restoration of their rights. However, he indicated that the matter is very sensitive. Speaking of Syria, he said that Switzerland is very concerned about the situation in general and the influx of the large number of refugees from the Middle East to Europe. Finally, he said that he hoped that the Lebanese would soon be able to elect a president. The visit ended in a warm atmosphere with the exchange of gifts.