Catholicosate of Cilicia
Antelias - Lebanon
This view was the core of the intervention of His Holiness Aram I at the first session of the international conference on Jerusalem organized by Azhar in Cairo on Wednesday, January 17, 2018.
After affirming that "the future status of Jerusalem must be an inseparable and integral part of the peace process," His Holiness reminded that "the Israeli occupation of the city and its policy to change the status of Jerusalem has caused demographic changes, significantly reducing the Christian and Muslim presence in Jerusalem and placing the peace process in jeopardy."
According to Catholicos Aram I "exclusivist claims and unilateral decisions do not lead to reasonable and feasible solutions and mutually acceptable agreements, they rather deepen the scope of the conflict." His Holiness proposed that "to facilitate the peace process, the question of Jerusalem be depoliticized and Jerusalem be declared "the capital" of the three monotheistic religions."
His Holiness also reminded that since 638 the Armenian Church has been present in Jerusalem and the actual Patriarch is the 97th patriarch, and called three monotheistic religions to work together "for the realization of a vision for Jerusalem that ensures the rights and obligations of the three religions, deepens their peaceful and harmonious co-existence and collaboration, and provides free access to pilgrims and visitors as a unified and open city. Jerusalem should become a model city, binding the people and radiating God’s justice and mercy in the world."
Concluding his remarks, Aram I said: "peace is a God given reality. It cannot be imposed. It cannot be determined by geopolitical interests. Real comprehensive and lasting peace is established only by justice, mutual acceptance and respect."
The international conference was attended by the presidents of Egypt and Palestine and high ranking religious, political and state dignitaries.